Showing Gratitude on Thanksgiving + All Year Round

“Gratitude is the fairest blossom which springs from the soul.” – Henry Ward Beecher

“Gratitude turns what we have into enough.” – Anonymous

Also: “Gratitude is a powerful catalyst for happiness. It’s the spark that lights a fire of joy in your soul.” – Amy Collette

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I love these quotes, especially the last one. More and more it is being shown that those that practice regular gratitude are happier and emotionally healthier.

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Doesn’t it just feel good? When you are more grateful for the things around you, it is easier to see the joy in the little things. That is what leads to a happier, more cheerful mindset.

I love Thanksgiving. The food. The togetherness. The not needing to buy a ton of presents. (We also have 5 birthdays in our immediately family in December, including a birthday party to host. So, our wallets love November!) Thanksgiving is just really special. Origins of the holiday aside, I think it is so restorative to have an entire day dedicated to being more grateful.

Imagine how sweet life would be if you did this on a daily basis! How much happier would you feel if you took Thanksgiving as an opportunity to begin practicing gratitude and let it carry forth from then on into your daily life?

Showing gratitude on Thanksgiving, Thanksgiving, gratitude, mental health, holidays

History of Thanksgiving

What is Thanksgiving? Why do we even celebrate it in the first place?

Here are some interesting facts:

Thanksgiving is a federal holiday in the United States, celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November.

It originated as a harvest festival.

Thanksgiving has been celebrated nationally on and off since 1789, with a proclamation by George Washington after a request by Congress.[

Thomas Jefferson chose not to observe the holiday, and its celebration was intermittent until the presidency of Abraham Lincoln, when Thanksgiving became a federal holiday in 1863, during the American Civil War.

The event that Americans commonly call the “First Thanksgiving” was celebrated by the Pilgrims after their first harvest in the New World in October 1621.

This feast lasted three days, and—as accounted by attendee Edward Winslow—it was attended by 90 Native Americans and 53 Pilgrims.

The New England colonists were accustomed to regularly celebrating “thanksgivings”—days of prayer thanking God for blessings such as military victory or the end of a drought.

What I love about Thanksgiving

I really love Thanksgiving. Dubious history aside (really not looking for arguments here), it is probably my favorite holiday.

There’s no pressure of gift giving. No manic decorating. Just friends and family seated around a delicious meal, reminiscing about the past year and what they’re thankful for. Some people go nuts and make it into this big elaborate production, but it really doesn’t need to be.

Just a table filled with loved ones and tasty food and kind words.

I think that’s really lovely.

Showing gratitude on Thanksgiving, Thanksgiving, gratitude, mental health, holidays

Benefits of gratitude

Practicing daily gratitude has been proven to be beneficial for your mental health. (And physical health too!)

According to one Forbes article, an attitude of gratitude has tons of benefits.

  • Gratitude helps you make friends! Grateful people tend to be kinder and more pleasant to be around, so that often leads to more relationships in your life.
  • It improves your health. Grateful people often feel better physically, and they are more likely to take care of themselves.
  • It improves our mental health by helping us weed through negative emotions and guiding us through periods of depression.

For more benefits, see the full article but it really is astounding that something as simple as being more grateful can affect your health so much!

Things I am grateful for this year

Not going to lie. This year has been very challenging for me. I’ve probably had more medical tests in 2019 than in the previous 33 years of my life combined.

I’ve been tired. Sad. Anxious. I’ve begun unloading some emotional baggage that I’ve carried for a very long time.

Despite all that, I still have a lot to be thankful for. Here’s a short list that I hope will inspire you to come up with a list of your own.

  • I am so grateful for a supportive, patient spouse. Without him, I wouldn’t have been brave enough to dig deep emotionally this year and free myself of years long bondage.
  • I’m grateful for my healthy, kind, happy kids. For all the frustrations that parenting brings, they are the purest, most unadulterated joy I have ever known.
  • Health wise, I am grateful for my innate drive to be healthy, and to seek answers. There were so many times I could have given up this year and I didn’t.
  • I’m grateful for my sister, whose kind and generous heart has been a source of comfort for me this year.
  • I’m grateful for my parents and my mother in law who have been massively helpful with my kids. My illness has left me tired, depressed, and often needing back up.


Print out this free Gratitude chart to help you get started!

I really recommend journaling. You can use the image above as a jumping off point for what to write about. Column 1 is a brain dump section. Just get out all the negative emotions you might be feeling, whether they make sense or not. In column 2, write down all the things you are grateful for. In column 3, you can make a list of goals for your emotional or physical health, areas you would like to be more grateful in.

Here are a couple more good tools to get you started:

Choosing Gratitude: Your Journey to Joy

Zen as Fck: A Journal for Practicing the Mindful Art of Not Giving a Sht (Zen as F*ck Journals)

Happy Thanksgiving

I hope this post left you inspired to be grateful today. Not only that, I hope you make the commitment to practice gratitude on a daily basis. The benefits are enormous, and it will rub off on those around you. Happy holidays!

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50 thoughts on “Showing Gratitude on Thanksgiving + All Year Round”

  1. I’m going to miss Thanksgiving this year as I’m outside the US this year! But couldn’t agree more with you about gratitude. It is so important to feel grateful for everything in our lives!

  2. Jessica Formicola

    It’s easy to remember to be grateful around Thanksgiving, but I definitely need to work on it all year round! I can’t wait to use your Daily Gratitude Worksheet!

    1. Hey there, that is a great idea. I think my kids are finally big enough to start a daily gratitude practice. Maybe I will try that at bedtime tonight. Thanks for reading!

  3. There’s always something to be thankful for and I’m grateful for what I have every single day. We don’t celebrate Thanksgiving in my home country, the Philippines, but I have grown to love celebrating Thanksgiving here in the U.S. since I got here.

  4. This was a beautiful post, thank you for sharing your heart. I love that you touched on the history of Thanksgiving, but also on its importance today and how it is so beneficial to carry gratitude every day.

  5. Thanksgiving this year is going to be so different for us and many families. For one, we are in the current COVID situation and for our family because we are welcoming a 2nd child (this time a girl) into our family right after Thanksgiving! 🙂 Thank you for the reminder to show gratitude!

    1. Hey Olivia, yeah the world is in such a tricky place. The only people we’ve really been seeing are immediate family who are good about distancing. It’s hard. And congrats!! What a lovely holiday gift! We have #3 coming at the end of January. Good luck to you, and thanks for reading!

  6. Jen,
    How beautiful that a whole nation takes time to be grateful, irrespective of the diverse faiths?

    The benefits of giving thanks, and being grateful go hand in hand with kindness. It is out of the kindness of the heart that a person is willing to be grateful. I have seen unexplainable calmness and peace out of being grateful. When you filled with thanksgiving, it attracts other grateful people into your life.

    Of course, we have exceptional who do not know what that is. Gratitude stems from love. Yet, if from an environment that does not flourish in love, you have to teach yourself to be different. Each business I work with knows the value of being grateful.

    When you are grateful to your teammates or workmates of staff, then even your customers tap into that zen. The charm keeps flowing and lives get a transformation. So, Happy Thanksgiving.

    1. I am thankful for diacovering how beneficial gratitude is this year. I really want to drive this home this Thanksgiving by incorporating a solid tradition with the kids. Something to make it more special then just going around the table and naming one thing we are each thankful for. Thank you for sharing!

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