Professional Development

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Gratitude: Not Just for Thanksgiving

Monday, 23 November 2015 00:00

I'm busy. We're all busy. This year I recommended that we move Thanksgiving from Thursday to Friday. Why?

1.  I believe we should be thankful every day, not just the fourth Thursday in November.
2. The Philadelphia Eagles are scheduled play at 1 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day. Anyone who loves football, loves a team, or married into a family of Philly fans knows that game day is just that—a whole day full of anticipation and (hopefully) ongoing celebration.

When I suggested the idea of moving Thanksgiving, my husband entertained the idea for less than two seconds and said, "Why would we do that?" My response, "Wouldn't it be great—since we're so busy—to spread the fun into two days rather than one?"

The reasoning sounded so silly when I said it out loud. I've never wanted to be one of those people who is too busy to be appreciative, so I am making a Thanksgiving resolution: Stop thinking about being busy, slow down and show gratitude every day. According to this article from, being grateful throughout the year has tremendous benefits, improving both physical and psychological health.

I'm starting my resolution today by being grateful for traditions that include important things like spending time with family, watching football, cooking together and enjoying a big family meal on Thanksgiving Day!

Want to join me in practicing gratitude throughout the year? Here is a list of five simple ideas to try.

  1. Say "thank you" more often and, if you really are grateful, say more than just "thanks": Be specific about what you appreciate.
  2. Write handwritten thank-you notes to family or colleagues and send via snail mail, or drop the note in a place where they'll find it when they're least expecting it.
  3. Keep a daily gratitude journal—or at the end of each day, list on your calendar three things you are grateful for. Look back at what you've written every several weeks. You might be surprised at how much there is to be grateful for!
  4. Share positive posts on social media. Couldn't Facebook use a little pick-me-up?
  5. Appreciate somebody? Let them know and tell them why!

Written by Heidi Ham, Vice President, Programs and Strategy at the National AfterSchool Association.