Norton: A post-Thanksgiving gratitude challenge to last through the holidays (column) |

Norton: A post-Thanksgiving gratitude challenge to last through the holidays (column)

Michael Norton
Valley Voices

This year there are exactly 32 days between Thanksgiving and Christmas. I know I just stated the obvious and probably upset those who are never quite ready for Christmas, regardless if we were 32 days away or three days away.

With our Thanksgiving leftovers almost finished, Black Friday behind us and now well on our way into the Christmas holiday zone, it’s time to gear up and step up our pace to meet the oncoming Christmas train head-on.

And as much as we shared our gratitude last week and vowed to spend more quality time with our friends and family, maybe all of those nice words and best of Thanksgiving intentions have been swept up in the madness of the December dash.

Now, I know we are all working crazy hours to try to finish the year. Some of us are even working two or more jobs to fulfill Christmas wish lists. So throwing anything else into the mix may be too much to ask, right? Maybe, but then again maybe not, as what I am suggesting is just one small gesture of gratitude each day as we go into December and into the new year. Who knows, it may be something that we can actually turn into a positive habit, as well.

The challenge I am putting forth is to express just as much love and gratitude that we felt during Thanksgiving and to carry those feelings and that philosophy into Christmas and beyond. What if every day we found something to be grateful for? What if we shared with someone else just how much we appreciate him or her during the holiday season?

We can thank the cashiers, we can share our appreciation with the valet parking attendants, we can give up our close parking spot for someone who may need it more than we do, and we can be grateful for the mail carriers and delivery drivers who make sure our gifts arrive on time and who deliver our packages to us.

Thanksgiving may have ended last week, but the spirit of Thanksgiving should be a positive habit we strive to live by. It is so easy to get angry or caught up in the holiday mayhem. But I have found that people who maintain the attitude of gratitude tend to have a much more pleasant holiday season and their stress levels are reduced dramatically.

The reason for the season is not about how many gifts we buy and give away or how many gifts we receive. The real reason for the season is found in the Christmas story. It is found in the Hanukkah story. The real reason for the season is summed up in love and gratitude.

Do you have it in you to extend your gratitude and appreciation bucket beyond Thanksgiving? Can we all try to walk with the halo effect of Thanksgiving as we enter into the season where we should naturally experience gratitude and appreciation, love and kindness and goodwill toward all men and women? Will you personally accept this gratitude challenge?

Either way, I would love to hear all about your own December dash between Thanksgiving and Christmas or Hanukkah at And when we can extend the spirit of gratitude and appreciation and make it a habit to live by, it really will be a better-than-good week.

Michael Norton is a former resident of Edwards, the past president of the Zig Ziglar Corp., strategic consultant and business and personal coach.

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