MICHIGAN—Fall has officially arrived, and the carefree days of summer have already been replaced with carpool lines, work deadlines, school projects and a hodgepodge of extracurricular activities.
In the midst of it all, it can be easy to drift into autopilot without having anything to celebrate. Let’s face it. With all that’s going on in the world, we need to look forward to something.
So, here’s my challenge to you: Find something to celebrate every day.
You’re busy. I get it. But don’t be deterred. Our days all have a beginning, middle and end—and that’s three points every day where you can create small celebrations to make a big impact.
Make mornings matter.
Waking up and getting out the door can sometimes be a challenge. So, how about starting your morning routine with a little music? Incorporate some of your favorite songs into a playlist to power through the morning. You can even take it on the go for the morning commute. Just crank up the music, sing loudly—maybe badly—and have fun doing it!
Michigan has a rich musical history, so consider some Motown hits and a dance party to loosen up after a long night of sleep. Perhaps a little Stevie Wonder? The Kidz Bop version of Kid Rock? Madonna? Eminem? All of them are sure to add some early morning joy into your day.
Look forward to something.
Grab a calendar, and decide right now on a few fun days you want to celebrate—maybe with the kids, maybe for a day all to yourself. I like to look at National Today, pick out a few wacky ideas, and then turn them into Michigan originals. Like: Sept. 12 was National Chocolate Milkshake Day—the perfect time to whip up a Mackinac Island fudge milkshake at home.
Celebrating the season at an apple orchard.
There’s nothing like biting into a crisp Michigan apple during apple season. The sweet spot for picking only lasts through mid- October—so enjoy it while the picking is good! A few of my favorites are Apple Charlie’s in Flat Rock, Uncle John’s in St. Johns, and Blake’s in Armada.
Here’s a helpful list to find an apple orchard or cider mill in your neck of the woods. And check out a few of these recipes for Apple Nachos, salads, and even apple cheddar turkey paninis. According to the Michigan Apple Committee, there are 17 varieties grown here in the Mitten.
Make a lunch-time surprise.
One of my fondest memories of growing up was my dad leaving notes in my lunch box. As I grew, and we got the internet, my dad started sending me emails. And I carry on that tradition by dropping little notes and special treats in my kiddos lunch boxes a few times a week.
It can say something as simple as, “Congratulations on crushing this week at school!” I’ve also written surprise notes for my little guy on pencils, and stashed them away inside his backpack.
Just unwind in the evening.
Evenings can be crunchtime for families. However, in between bites of dinner, my family and I always share the best parts of our day, or something that we learned. Everyone gets a turn. It can almost be therapeutic to look back on the day, and then decide what was worth celebrating.
Spotlight a family member.
This is one of my personal favorites. A few times a month, when I set the table, I will put confetti or a balloon on the spot of someone in the house. On that night, we celebrate that person.
It’s nothing major—we just share the things that we love about that person. Do they have a great laugh? Are they a great dancer? Tell them! Let them know what amazing things they bring to the dynamic of your family. Maybe even let them choose what’s served for dinner that night.
Acknowledge the good—immediately and often.
Did you notice your little one helping their sibling? Did they gather their school supplies for the next day without being asked? Did you notice that they shared something that they love with someone else? Tell them, right then—even if it was something small. Celebrate the positive things that they bring to your home, your life, or a situation. We all want to feel seen.
Express gratitude every day.
It can be easy to get caught up thinking about the things that aren’t going right in life. But when we focus on the good, it grows—and it shows. And that’s really something to celebrate.
Make a habit of sharing with your family the things you’re grateful for—and be sure to include them at the top of that list. Express gratitude often, and watch how your children soak it up.
I stumbled into this lesson from my 6-year-old, who happens to be an expert at finding delight in the simplest of things. It doesn’t have to be a birthday, or even a holiday. When I made that connection, I realized that celebrating the little things is a great way to shift our perspectives, and give us more ways to live in the moment and smile—even during tough times in life.