"Count your blessings (instead of sheep) and you'll fall asleep counting your blessings." This is my favorite quote from Bing Crosby's White Christmas but how can you put that sentiment to practical use for your family at the end of the year?
Take a moment to reflect on the last few months and work as a family to create a Blessings Video together.
At the end of each December, my Facebook feed tends to be filled with people chomping at the bit to say a curt goodbye to the current year and welcome in a fresh start with the new one.
It's easy to get caught up in the negative end-of-year public sentiments when the world has had an especially rough string of months with devastating world events.
Maybe on a personal level, your family has experienced several losses of loved ones or serious health challenges and you're just as eager to wash away the old and welcome the new.
It really is so easy to focus on the negatives and completely forget the joy at the end of any rough year.
But rarely is there an entire year without a single bright moment. Some years it is just a little harder to spot the happy memories unless you are intentionally looking for them.
When it is tough to find anything nice to say about the last year, the words from my very favorite Bing Crosby song ring so true:
"When I'm worried and I can't sleep, I count my blessings instead of sheep. I go to sleep counting my blessings." - Bing Crosby
I love this quote so much, I purchased a framed, hand-lettered artistic rendition of it from Lindsay Letters to hang above our piano year-round:
The Best Way to Remember the Positive:
The number 1 reason most people capture a picture is because they want to remember the moment. If you didn't care, would you bother to take that snap?
When I'm struggling to recall anything nice about a rough time, I look at the photos on my phone or in my computer photo library from that time period.
I'm almost always surprised by what I find.
During one especially rough year when I was convinced there was nothing good to say, I challenged myself to find just TEN happy things from the entire year.
I looked at my photo library and discovered:
- hysterical pictures of my girls from school spirit days
- goofy candids from lazy family weekends
- big grins from everyone's birthdays
- festive holiday shots from simple celebrations throughout the year
It turned out that I had to actually narrow down the happy moments to just the biggest 10. Isn't that just the way?
Blessings seem to double, maybe even triple, once you start counting them.
How to Honor Your Blessings:
If all you do is recognize them and enjoy them for a moment as you recall the memory, that is enough. People who count their blessings are happier than those who do not.
In fact, studies have found that gratitude actually changes your brain for the better even if you don't share your thoughts with anyone else.
But my opinion? Gratitude, and the happiness that comes from it, is contagious.
In fact, one Harvard study found that happy posts on social media actually are contagious and make the people you are connected to happy, too.
So once you have your list of blessings, why not share them and spread the joy?
Once I saw all the photos connected to those simple everyday blessings, it took just a minute to turn them into a precious end-of-year video using Animoto:
I queued it up on the tv on New Year's Eve as a way for us to enjoy reminiscing but it was also super easy to share to my personal Facebook profile to let our long distance family and friends enjoy, too.
While the last couple weeks of each year have plenty of "See ya later" posts as people kick the old year out the door, I challenge you to take a look back at your own family photo memories and look for the good.
I think everyone over on Facebook would love to see positive, loving messages to help counterbalance the sadness.