It’s hard to believe that it’s already December. The Thanksgiving turkey has been eaten and now it’s time to gear up for a month filled with holiday celebrations and the ringing in of a new year. December can be a hectic month, with tons of shopping and planning for the many parties and events on the calendar, but it’s also the perfect time to express appreciation for all that we have and the wonderful people in our lives.
The 17th annual Iroquois Springs camp reunion, enjoyed just days ago, was the perfect way to start the holiday season with appreciation and celebration of some of the most important people in our lives…camp friends, and the place that gives us the opportunity to flourish…Iroquois Springs. It was wonderful to see so many friends reconnect and celebrate the special connection that is created at camp. The smiles, hugs, and laughter of friendship were everywhere. No matter how many months we have been away from camp, appreciation for our camp friends and the dedicated staff that guide us, lives on all year long. It’s a forever bond created by living together, laughing together, sharing our fears and hopes, and genuinely caring about one another.
Being in the moment to appreciate camp friends and the entire camp experience, can be the start of a holiday season filled with appreciation for so many other people and experiences in our lives. Holiday gatherings provide endless opportunities to express feeling of gratitude. We come together with family, friends, teachers, coaches, and neighbors that are important influences in our lives and help make the year so much better. The giving of actual presents is always thoughtful, but it’s also wonderful to take a moment to give thanks to each of them. Who doesn’t want to hear how much they are loved, valued and appreciated? A simple gesture of acknowledging someone verbally or in writing has a lot of power.
Research shows that both giving and receiving appreciation can make a big impact in people’s lives. Feeling genuinely appreciated lifts people up, and brings them closer to you. Expressing appreciation improves mood, health, and overall happiness. So, this holiday season, take a moment to reflect on the people in your life that you are grateful for. Text a camp friend your appreciation for their friendship, write a thank you note to a parent who has given you the “gift of camp”, or tell a special teacher or coach how much they inspire and motivate you to be your best. It’s a holiday gift that will be invaluable all year long.