Each year I am faced with a dilemma. Do I tell Frank exactly what to get me for Christmas and surrender the fun element of surprise OR do I let him shop on his own and end up with the craziest crap you’ve ever seen, which I then have to pretend to love. This year I let him go rogue…not a good decision. I received a purple furry sweatshirt that I’m fairly certain was stolen from one of the cast of Yo Gabba Gabba; two scented-candles in pumpkin and mulled spice (I've smelled all the cinnamon and nutmeg I can stomach this season); earrings which cause me an allergic reaction; a pair of gloves two sizes too big…and so on. But because I am the queen of faking a giftgasm, I squealed and gasped and acted thrilled. Until…I didn’t. Then, I put it all in a neat pile and asked if he’d kept the receipts.
Here is where you can start to think that I’m an ungrateful bitch. But it gets worse. Later, at our family’s celebration, I opened a gorgeous monogrammed jacket…with the wrong initials. On the way home in the car, I lost it and went on the most un-Christmas like rant ever. It went something like…“Do you know how many hours I spend cooking and shopping and online researching and running my ass off to make sure everyone else’s holidays are frickin’ perfect? And, I get nothing from you people. At least, nothing good.”
Then, I remembered my commitment to the first principle of the Blisskrieg. Believe Bounty. I allowed myself another half hour of sulking…alright, it was more like a full hour…and then went about being the most grateful girl on the planet.
Of course, I could have just acknowledged how lucky I was to be alive, healthy, homed, and loved on Christmas, which I realize is more than enough to send me to my knees with "Hallelujah!" on my lips. But according to Robert Emmons in his book Gratitude Works!: A 21-Day Program for Creating Emotional Prosperity, the real key to gratitude is specificity. He states that being specific “helps us avoid gratitude fatigue. The more discrete the elements, the less we will cease to recognize them or take any one of them for granted.” You should make what you are thankful for as specific as possible. So instead of just thinking, “I’m grateful that I have food,” you should get detailed and think, “I am thankful that these beets are not only tasty, but have restorative properties that will repair my liver.”
Using this lesson, here are a few things I am thankful for today (in no certain order):
1) Angus the Cat's 4am purring which lulls me back to sleep from a nightmare when nothing else will.
2) The musky odor that Frank gives off after a hard day’s work—If you bottled it, the scent would be called “Proud Provider”
3) The satisfaction that comes with writing the last sentence of a chapter.
4) How Doc Grizzly and Rufus greet me with unbridled excitement and pure love even when I've only been gone five minutes.
5) The Village Inn’s $2.65 cheeseburger with all the fixins.
6) The primordial squawk of the heron that heralds the beginning of each day on the lake.
7) That first sip of hot coffee in the morning and cold bourbon in the evening.
In University of Southern California study, they found that instead of naming five different things you were thankful for, it was more rewarding to name five separate details about one thing.
We’ll try this on the gloves that were two sizes too big.
1) I am lucky enough to have all ten fingers and therefore fill out a pair of gloves.
2) They were proof that Frank does listen to me sometimes--I did say I needed black gloves.
3) We live in a society with the technology to invent handwear touchscreen compatible.
4) This week, it's been too warm for gloves anyway.
5) The store where he purchased them has a very liberal holiday return policy.
the bourbonistA, Promoting Debauchery and stamping out political-correctness one blog at a time.