12/09/2014 11:29 am ET Updated Feb 08, 2015

'Tis the Season To Be Grateful

photography by Kate Hiscock via Getty Images

It's the most wonderful time of the year... to teach gratitude. Why? Simply put, gratitude is the key to a joyful life. We all know what is feels like to be around someone who is happy. It's like a magnetic force; the more you show gratitude, the more good things come to you. What you put out, you get back. My mother used to say to me, "When someone asks you how you are, don't say 'good,' say 'great.'" She taught me that almost 50 years ago and I still do it today. People are always shocked when I say "I am great today!" Gratitude is just a habit. Brush your teeth and be grateful everyday. How do we teach our children this? Let me count the ways.

You can teach them b¥ showing gratitude and a positive attitude yourself, by being grateful for yourself and by being grateful for your child and all that they are. This works on spouses as well! Modeling behavior is always the best place to start. Children can pick up on and feel your energy. When you wake up in the morning, before you are fully awake, send gratitude to your child. Picture them in your minds and say to them energetically, "I am so grateful that you are..." What is so much fun about this is when you show your children that you are grateful for everything that they are, faults and all, they will do the same for you later in life! It's a win-win situation.

This season, there is a lot to be grateful for. Instead of buying your children's teacher another mug, why not have your child make them a drawing and add the words, "Thank You" for being such a funny, happy, loving, kind, great teacher? Start with a frame you like, then cut the paper to that size. Take out the watercolors, crayon or markers and draw something, add some of those great gold stars or stickers. Then add the words that answer the question "why" your child is grateful for them: "You taught me how to read, how to add, you were nice to me... I appreciate the way you helped me." This is great for grandparents, siblings, coaches or anyone who has an influence on your child. I call it the "Thank You" gift. I guarantee that whoever is the recipient will be honored and it will be a gift they cherish forever. This places value on being grateful and practicing thankfulness, a value that lasts a lifetime.

Another fun idea is getting plain brown wrapping paper. Wrap the gift in it and then write on the outside I am grateful for..." or "thank you for..." Let your child think about why they are grateful for this person in their lives. It teaches them to focuses energy on the positive aspects of people in their lives. It reminds them to show gratitude. Children will see that the energy of gratitude will come back to them, they will recognize that good things start to happen in their lives as a result of putting this positive, thankful, energy. This is how we create real joy in our lives. Don't get me wrong; it is nice to give and receive gifts, and I love them as much as anyone does. But here is something special about the gift you give yourself when you spread joy and it comes back to you. Once your children develop this habit of gratitude they will use it the rest of their lives. How are you feeling today? I hope its GREAT! Happy holidays to all of you, I am grateful for your presence on my blog!