Much Needed Holiday Gratitude (Guest Post)

Christmas is an enjoyable yet stressful time of year. ABC Family’s 25 Days of Christmas represents the good, and the lines at Kohl’s and Best Buy represent the bad. Black Friday has come and gone, and believe it or not, Christmas is a couple of days away.

This time of year is really a double-edged sword. Seasonal depression sets in, especially in Cleveland. Last year’s winter was brutal, like “Mariah Carey singing-without-a-backing-track” brutal. We didn’t see the sun or feel warmth for a good six months. It was Shawshank-esque but we survived!

Through the gift-giving, traveling and 24/7 Christmas music on The New 102.1 FM, one thing to keep in mind is gratitude. As a city, we have a LOT to be thankful for. We all can name the obvious ones: LeBron, The RNC in 2016, Johnny Football (hopefully that doesn’t turn into a lump of coal… oh wait). But don’t forget about the hidden gems of The Transplant Games of America coming in 2016 along with the city’s thriving restaurant and start-up scene.

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Here are three creative ways to express gratitude this Christmas and have some fun with it too:
  1. Donate To A Charity – A lot of people claim the title “Impossible to Shop For”. These people are almost as annoying as vegans. You know they won’t like the sweater you got them and you know the gift cards you’ve gotten them in the past either never got used or were re-gifted somewhere down the line. Solve this problem by donating to a loved one’s favorite charity and making sure they get the credit for it. This kills two birds with one stone: You deliver a present with real impact and get out of gift card purgatory. TIP: Research the loved one’s employer and see if they’ll match the charitable gift. Most large companies will match an employee’s contribution.
  2. Deliver An Impromptu Roast – Before the family eats or maybe even before you open the presents, pay tribute to a family member who you love like no other but pushes your buttons in a suffocating way. This act will probably catch people off-guard but will be remembered for years to come. Pick on the cousin known for falling asleep at every family function or pay a funny testimonial to the aunt who always takes blurry pictures and has kept mom jeans in business since the Reagan administration. If you need help with it, the guys at Laugh Staff know their stuff.
  3. Write 10 GOOD Christmas Cards – Christmas Cards are becoming more obsolete every year. In the text message and Facebook happy world, nobody puts the pen to paper any more. Buy a pack of 10 cards at Target, a book of stamps, turn off your phone and write to 10 friends or family that mean a lot to you. Congratulate them on an accomplishment in 2014 and share their excitement for something big coming in 2015 (i.e. baby, wedding, new house, parole). Writing also slows the heart rate so it’s good for you!

Josh Womack lives in Cleveland, OH and is the founder of Laughstaff, a speech-writing company that uses stand-up comedians as consultants to best men and matrons of honor around the world. Laughstaff has written over 140 speeches and will help you deliver a wedding toast that is heartfelt, hilarious and memorable. Follow them on twitter and check them out at www.laughstaff.com.

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