The holiday season is upon us, a time when most people get to relax a little (eventually, after all the Christmas shopping is done!),  a time for office Christmas parties and getting together with our loved ones. Friends and family get to bask in each other’s company and enjoy the simple blessings in life.

As a business, we are thankful to our employees who work with dedication for us and are the backbone of our success. Without them, this whole operation would be a mess. At the same time, every person has their own blessings to count and this is the perfect time of year to take a moment to reflect on how blessed we are in our life.

For many of us, our families are the principal blessing in our lives. They are the motivation behind a lot of what we do (and the only ones who could put up with all our antics so patiently!). Whether it is our parents, siblings, spouse, children, other relatives or friends, these are the people who make our world go ‘round and the holiday season is always a great time to tell them how wonderful they are.

This year, we are a bit more reflective after reading a blog post authored by a North American backpacker doing the rounds in South East Asia. Here are some of the “luxuries” he was thankful for that we do not really appreciate because these items are just the norm for us in North America:

A pantry and fridge are full of food that we can go to at any time and pick out something to eat.
A home that offers privacy and a place to wind down and relax. This was made more poignant after the backpacker described how he visited families living in refugee camps for over 35 years and where three generations lived in an extremely dilapidated room about 8’ x 10’. One young man complained that even on their wedding night, they had to come back to the room they typically share with about eight to ten family members.
Opportunities that we have because of our education. Too many people are deprived of a simple education because they have no access to public schooling. This fact alone continues the vicious cycle thousands of people are trapped in and from which it is extremely hard to break away.
Healthcare for simple and serious illnesses. It was not easy reading about nine-year-old cancer patients whose parents cannot afford treatment, or about a young adult lying on his deathbed because the family did not have money to treat common respiratory illness.
A plush and thick towel to wrap yourself in after a shower or bath. The backpacker traveled with an ultra-thin, mini-size microfiber towel and got to use a regular towel after four months of traveling when he checked into a nice hotel for one night. In his words, the “feeling of the soft towel on my skin after a hot shower was pure ecstasy.” It made me really appreciate how blessed I am and brought tears to my eyes. “Even now, I feel blessed just for experiencing that moment of complete thankfulness for such a wonderful little thing. I didn’t care about my luxurious surroundings as I did about the one towel.”

This year, take a moment to count the simple blessings in your life. There are many more than we can possibly quantify, from our health, families, jobs, and businesses, to housing, clothing, and food. We are also blessed to be living in a wonderful developed nation that affords us the possibility to experience great joy in our lives.