The holiday season is upon us, and depending on the lens with which you’re viewing this season, you may be excited and happy about that or overwhelmed and distraught. That’s why our team here at IHHP decided to focus on ‘gratitude’ as our theme for our December newsletter. Science and research continues to show that when you come from a place of gratitude, not only do you improve your own health and happiness, but you also positively affect relationships with those around you. In fact, during this season, we encourage you to focus on having two to three grateful thoughts a day. And while you do this, take notice of the change in your whole body from the physical sensation to the outlook you have in the moment. (Think of the Grinch when “his heart grew three sizes that day.” Made you smile, didn’t it?)

It’s actually pretty easy (and fun) to start a gratitude wave in your office or home. Here’s one IHHP tried for the holiday season that initially felt “hokey” but turned out to be a wonderful sharing experience between co-workers. And it didn’t cost anything. We simply asked people to share their favorite holiday song with us and tell us why that was their favorite. Here are some of the things we learned about each other:

Bill– My favorite Christmas song is fromThe Grinch Who Stole Christmas. Not only does it remind me of one of my favorite parts of my childhood, but now I get to read this book to my girls and watch the same Grinch cartoon I used to watch 40 years ago. It’s funny (the girls love Max) and it has a great message for kids. Some things do stand the test of time!

Cranla– my favorite is “Peace on Earth/The Little Drummer Boy” by Bing Crosby and David Bowie. (Interestingly, it was recorded on September 11, 1977). In addition to the harmonies and mix of traditional and contemporary seasonal music and lyrics (for that time), it reminds us each Christmas season of the cry for, and hope of, peace for all humankind!

Sallie–”Happy Holidays” is my favorite. Gets me in the spirit of the holiday every single time I hear it. When I’m in the spirit of the holidays, I am ALWAYS in a good mood and give off a very powerful positive vibe.

Sue –I would have to say “The Little Drummer Boy” by Bob Seger (well any artist really but I love his version). The song reminds me every year that we often get so caught up in the ‘materialistic gifts’ and what we should buy to please someone else, but in fact the best gift to give someone is ourselves. We’re the gift. And to this day I still cry when the song goes quiet and the little drummer boy sings, “Then he smiled at me, barum pa pum pum; me and my drum.” (Ohhhh, now I’m getting all choked up again!)

Matt – “The Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don’t Be Late)” because I grew up listening to this. I still listen to this song every Christmas!

Josh– “Jingle bells” … for sure it’s the one that comes to mind when I think of the holiday season. It’s a song I cannot forget after working at Canadian Tire when I was younger. I think that song was literally on repeat at the store. Even after that traumatic over exposure to the song I still enjoy it, so that’s my choice for the holiday song.

Tessa– My favorite Christmas song is “Frosty the Snowman” because it reminds me of growing up. My sister and I would pull our sectional couch together to make one huge bed in the middle of the living room, climb into the middle of it and watch good old Frosty while playing, laughing and eating popcorn and candy. Always a great Christmas memory!

Sara– “Winter Wonderland” is my favourite. It reminds me of being a kid, playing in the snow and being so excited about Christmas and my whole family being together … and I love to sing along to the Eurythmic’s version! J

JP –My song would be “Joy to the World.” It is the song that we always ended Christmas Eve church with growing up (when I was a card-carrying Roman Catholic! Oh, how things have changed!). I loved singing it and heading home with our family to Christmas dinner and a night together as a family. It was always such a joyous occasion for me. I especially loved the last verse:

“He rules the world with truth and grace
And makes the nations prove
The glories of His righteousness
And wonders of His love
And wonders of His love
And wonders, wonders, of His love”

as it spoke to the wonders of love, of appreciation, and of an open heart.

Dany– “All I Want for Christmas is You” by Mariah Carey is my fave. ‘Cause it totally rocks!

Greer– “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” by Barenaked Ladies. The first concert my husband and I saw together was the Barenaked Ladies and we became big fans, and have seen them a number of times since. We are also big Sara McLaughlin fans so fell in love again with a song she has on the Barenaked Ladies’ Christmas CD.

Tyler –“Happy Christmas (War Is Over)” by John Lennon – it prompts you to look back on the year that just passed and allows you to appreciate all the little things in life that really matter.

Christie– “Frosty the Snow Man” makes me think of being a kid as I remember watching the television show the song is from every year with my family. Now, I get to do the same with my kids!

That’s a taste of the gratitude wave we experienced with this little exercise at IHHP. Try it at your home or workplace. It’s fun. In fact, we’d love to hear what your favorite holiday song is and why.

Happy Holidays from all of us at IHHP!