10 Little Things We’re Grateful for This Thanksgiving

In honor of Thanksgiving, we’re reflecting on the things we’re especially thankful for this year.

Geber86/ Getty Images
Geber86/ Getty Images

As many of us prepare for Thanksgiving meals and time with loved ones, let’s take a moment to reflect on the little things we are especially grateful for this year. For many of us, the pandemic has made us more conscious of our health, more thankful for our loved ones, and even more appreciative for life’s small joys and wonders.

We asked our Thrive community to share with us the little things they are especially grateful for this Thanksgiving. Which of these resonates with you?

Seeing our loved ones alive and well 

“This Thanksgiving, I am beyond grateful that one of my brothers is alive after a massive cardiac event just a week ago. I am grateful to the incredible help from strangers that got him a quick ambulance to the medical team who has given him a new lease on life.”

—Annie Gaudreault, nutritionist, Toronto, ON, Canada

Finding rituals that bring us joy

“I’m especially grateful for having found the right type of meditation practice for me. I tried meditation for over 10 years, and finding what works for me has been life-changing. I used to have anger attacks at my husband, but I have finally found inner peace. Not only that, I have also been able to finally give up meat completely without any cravings, which feels so good. My daily meditation practice has made it possible to finally enjoy my time with my loved ones and be truly present in the moment — and that’s priceless.”

—Bianca Riemer, leadership coach, London, U.K.

Our grandchildren

“I’m thankful for my four grandchildren. Each day that I spend with them helps me to understand the youth and technology of today, as well as reminisce on my younger days.”

—Mark-Jon Clifford, writer and publisher, Fresno, CA

The ability to celebrate in person

“My father is 92 years old and lived with us for 20 years. On March 16, 2020, he became sick. The paramedics took him to the hospital, where they thought he was dying. They moved him to a nursing home where I couldn’t check on him. Last year on Thanksgiving, the first one we could not spend with him in my lifetime, the facility was on total lockdown. We spent the day at home, eating homemade appetizers and desserts watching Hamilton. This year, we can visit with him. He could go out but is not comfortable. So, we got permission for the three of us to bring him some wonton soup and spend some time giving thanks for good health. We are thankful for him and with Chanukah this weekend, we are also thankful for the lights in our life that shine so brightly.”

—Susan R. Karon, comfort, care and connection specialist, Maynard, MA

Time for self-care

“I’m grateful for my pockets of ‘me time’ during the holidays. This year, that looks like enrolling my son in a camp that he’s excited about so that I can journal at my favorite coffee shop. It also looks like asking for space and honoring my needs as a business owner, mama, and primary ‘cook’ over the holiday — all roles I love but sometimes need a reprieve from.”

—Marisa Donnelly, writer/ editor, coach and teacher, San Diego, CA

Meaningful conversations

“I’m beyond grateful for the time I spent with my mother earlier this year as her caregiver. The conversations and epic moments we shared are memories I’ll forever hold in my heart. I’m also thankful for my close circle of friends who brought me infinite joy and support this year.”

—Kristin Meekhof, author and life coach, Royal Oak, MI

Having a support system

“I’m grateful for my tribe: my family, friends, colleagues as I navigated a very turbulent year. I had a year filled with lots of work, financial anxiety, and lots of emotional ups and downs due to the prolonged isolation. I was able to share this fact with my folks and each one of them rallied to support me in small ways which really made me feel blessed.”

—Anitha Balaraj, executive coach, Chennai, India

Less anxiety around family gatherings 

“I’m grateful to feel the loosening of fear around the health of my family and elderly mother. In that space is gratitude for the small things like hugs and going to a matinee with mom (masked up and boostered). It’s the ability to breathe deeper.”

—Janet Arnold-Grych, communications strategist, Milwaukee, WI

Learning self-compassion

“I’m grateful for how a horse accident led me to self-appreciation. I bullied myself for years. Everything that didn’t go the way I wanted, I blamed it on myself. All this came to a halt when I lay on a gurney inside an emergency rescue helicopter, heading for the nearest trauma center. The horse accident broke me, mentally and physically. During the 16 months of surgeries and rehabilitation, I realized it was time for me to be happy. I decided I couldn’t wait for things to get easier before feeling happy. I want to make things easier for myself. Nowadays, I’m happier because I appreciate myself. Therefore, on this Thanksgiving, I thank myself besides all those wonderful people in my life.”

—Dr. Ivy Ge, author of The Art of Good Enough, San Francisco, CA

Being able to care for others

“Caring for my father as he moves toward death — visiting him in the nursing home every day to feed him, stroke his head, hold his hand, and tell him I love him very much — has been extremely multilayered and heartbreaking, but also a gift beyond belief. Hearing him tell me he loves me very much and is proud of me — things I never thought I’d hear — are heartbreaking and healing. When he says he’s glad he had the stroke because we are now this close, I can do nothing but sob and agree. This year I am beyond grateful that I’ve found it in myself to care for and give to my father this way, and I’m grateful for all the love and parental intimacy that I’ve received in return.”

—Lisa Kohn, author and executive coach, Wayne, PA

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