holiday gratitude

Mindful ways to promote gratitude, love, unity, and peace at the holiday dinner table.  

observe::  Before indulging in the holiday meal, look around.  Notice the details of the meal, the room, the people, the atmosphere.  People are ever-changing, even if it feels like people are always the same.  Look at the plates, the table setting, the feast, the family and friends.  Be aware of where you are, who you are with, and what you are about to eat.  Simple- yet often overlooked.
express gratitude:: Prayer is a common form of gratitude at the dinner table, however, often only one person makes the declaration of thanks. Insert your own gratitude and say it out loud.  Too often we keep positive thoughts to ourselves, and the holiday is a special time to let loved ones know how you feel.  It may be a grand testament to the love you feel for your family or a meaningful "thank you" to those who prepared such a generous meal.  Whatever suits your personality, make an effort to let people know you appreciate them in some way.  
enjoy the flavors:: Savor each bite.  Slow down, chew your food, and taste the individual flavors.  Someone made this meal and taking the extra time to honor that love and effort matters.  
listen:: Conversation is a natural element to festive meals.  Listen.  Hear the details of the conversation and let that guide your response. Often we get excited to share our own perspectives and gloss over our ability to listen.  Engaging with someone by really listening is an enormous compiment and a true skill.  
lend a hand:: Participate or delegate.  Many helping hands get the cooking, serving, and clean up done as a community.  Offer to help.  If you are doing too much already, recruit some helpers by asking kindly for more hands on deck.