less is more…and more does not always mean we are better off. As we move into November, Thanksgiving Day is around the corner followed by the holidays. Before we go crazy with overdoing everything, take some time to think about what the holidays mean to you. If you think it is about overcooking, overbaking, overeating, overdrinking, overshopping, overspending, and doing whatever you may do in excess just because it is the holiday season, then maybe think again.

Holidays (and everyday) are about gratitude. Did you ever stop for a minute and think about how your life would be if you did not have money to buy Thanksgiving dinner? According to Feeding America, 14% of American households experience food insecurity – the state of being without reliable access to a sufficient quantity of affordable, nutritious food. Many of you may have volunteered at a soup kitchen during Thanksgiving. It is these moments where you experience what it means to be thankful for all that you have.

Gratitude is not about taking things for granted. Everything can be wiped away in a flash. Only if/when we experience days without food do we know what it means to be hungry. Most of us have never experienced living through a war or a natural disaster. I bet if we did, we would have a different outlook on life.

Gratitude is about showing thanks to the people who are a part of your life and to those people who are not directly involved in your life, but still contribute to it in someway. Did you ever look at a plate of food and think about all the people who made it possible to get that plate to your table? Don’t take anyone for granted. We know the facts. No one is guaranteed another breath.

Gratitude starts at home. While in your home, look around at everything you have. Running water, a warm bed, clothes, and a refrigerator full of food. Know that you are fortunate – more fortunate than a lot of people who have way less than you. 80% percent of the world’s population lives on less than $10 a day. I am certain they don’t have homes full of everything we have.

Practice gratitude starting now. During the months of November and December, each morning as soon as you wake up or before you go to bed, write down three things you are thankful for. Hopefully you will see it is the little things that make it to your list. Less is more. Spending quality time with your child means more than the ten+ Christmas gifts he or she got last year. My life changed after I started writing in a daily gratitude journal and I hope yours will too. My wish is that you continue this practice each day for the rest of your life.