Gratitude and Giving: A Recipe for Success

The winter holidays are my favorite time of year. I secretly love when the Christmas music starts taking over the radio waves and the lights begin to decorate the town square. Although the Midwest has yet to deliver some of the winter wonderland that I grew up with in the Northeast, it still feels like a time of hope, gratitude, and love all wrapped up in a bow.

Melany here, writing for the first time, as we stroll into the holiday season with balmy spring weather. I often feel a rush of joy when I get to experience an unseasonably warm day, which is quickly followed by a sense of urgency and a little bit of fear. I am concerned about our planet, about our future, about what these new weather patterns will mean for my childrens’ future, or their childrens’ future.

But then I look around me, at my neighbors here at Dancing Rabbit, and I feel filled with hope and gratitude. I see the ways that we are all making a difference, living a rich, rewarding life on about 10% of the resources of the average American in several key areas. I feel so lucky to be able to share these innovative ideas with thousands of people every year, through our education and outreach programs and the nonprofit of the village: The Center for Sustainable & Cooperative Culture.

The holidays are a time for slowing down, reflecting on the abundant gifts in our lives, and giving back. Photo by Melany.

Here at Dancing Rabbit, we don’t have much use for the consumerism of Black Friday or Cyber Monday, but choose instead to celebrate #GivingTuesday, a global day dedicated to giving. Charities, families, businesses, community centers, and students around the world are coming together to celebrate generosity and to give.

We encourage you to join this tradition of generosity by helping others through the gift of your time, donations, goods, or your voice. And contributing to Dancing Rabbit’s mission is a great place to start! Today, your gift can mean more than ever: we have a generous matching donor who will DOUBLE the first $2,000 in donations. And if you donate via Facebook, The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will ALSO match your gift! This could turn $50 into $150, just by joining the #GivingTuesday giving movement today.

The ability to spread our knowledge of sustainable living is what brings our village together, with a shared mission and purpose, despite our many differences. When we come together for holidays, we create our own traditions, mixed together with ones we have brought from our childhoods. Instead of turkey as our primary protein this Thanksgiving, we feasted on food grown right here: ducks from the Critters and vegan cowpeas grown by Joe. We also had some of the old favorites, too. I made a vegan version of green bean casserole that many people enjoyed, and of course, there was cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, and pies! So many pies!

Overall, we were all stuffed and ready for bed hours earlier than usual, so to me it felt very much like the Thanksgivings I have celebrated with my family in years past. One of the traditions here that is new to me is the Feast of Gloria Tubman on Friday at noon. (The legend goes that Gloria Tubman is the less motivated sister of the famous Harriet Tubman, though you may not find this legend anywhere but our wiki page). This is a time for villagers to come together for even more gratitude, but mostly to get rid of our leftovers. Any leftovers are welcome, it’s not confined to Thanksgiving day leftovers, so it’s a great opportunity for our eating cooperatives to clean out their refrigerators of anything that is still hanging around that they’d rather not see on their dinner tables anymore.

Something that I hope becomes a new tradition here was a book swap on Saturday, hosted by Christina. I was pretty disappointed to miss it, because I love to read and winter is a great time for catching up on a good book. This book exchange was a great kick off reminder that we can slow down, look inward, and be grateful for all the hard work we put in this past season, despite the weather compelling us to continue the frenzy of productivity.

And now I head off to hang up the laundry, grateful for the wind and warmth that will quickly dry my clothes, but also the opportunity to slow down even more. I hope that the beginning of this holiday season has left you with the same feeling of abundance and gratitude. Join us in giving back this year through #GivingTuesday. Together, we can continue an old, almost forgotten tradition of service and giving, bringing hope to the world this holiday season and beyond.


Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage
 is an intentional community and nonprofit outside Rutledge, in northeast Missouri, focused on demonstrating sustainable living possibilities. Find out more about us by visiting our website, reading our blog, or emailing us.


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