7 min read

Thanksgiving Reflections on Gratitude

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As November approaches each year, our thoughts turn to Thanksgiving with the celebrations of food, family, and football. At OneTeam, we are truly grateful for our customers who support us by using our BD platform. We are also thankful for our employees, who work hard to make OneTeam a better product for our customers.

This Thanksgiving, as you gather around the table or maybe the TV, may your hearts be filled with thankfulness and gratitude. Whether you are enjoying a huge feast or a simple sandwich, enjoy these Thanksgiving thoughts from Donna T. Hamby, OneTeam Product Manager.


Thanksgiving - The Act of Giving Thanks

Thanksgiving is absolutely my favorite holiday, and it comes during fall, which is my favorite season. Thanksgiving is not just one day of the year: it's a mindset of gratitude. We cultivate gratitude by recognizing and appreciating the good in both the small and the significant aspects of life.


Gratitude and Thanksgiving both revolve around acknowledging and appreciating the positive aspects of life. It can shift your focus from what is lacking in your life to what you already have, which in turn fosters contentment and happiness. We know that dwelling on negative thoughts (such as focusing on things you don’t have), leads to negative attitudes. Likewise, focusing on positive things (things you do have and are grateful for) helps you be a more positive person.


Learning Gratitude

I really learned about gratitude when my dad had Alzheimer’s disease. I used to hope for he would have a ‘good week’. Then it became hoping he had a good day, then a good afternoon, then it finally became living in the moment and trying to ensure our time together was good for him. I had to remove my emotions and what I wanted from our time together, and solely focus on experiencing the moment with him.

It worked, I changed my attitude, and I became appreciative of the here and now, not focused on what I was losing, or what he was losing, but simply grateful for the moment we had together. Sharing a moment of laughter over a McDonald’s hamburger became so much more important than him not recognizing I was his daughter. He laughed, he enjoyed his hamburger and that was good for him and me in the moment and for many, many moments since.

Being grateful helps shift your mindset from being inwardly focused on yourself and your needs, to be outwardly focused on others and their needs. Consider what you can do for others, including how you can be of service to them. This Thanksgiving, determine to help someone else have a good holiday.

Gratitude is a good coping mechanism during challenging times. Focus on what you are thankful for, even in difficult situations, and it will develop resilience and the ability to navigate adversity. We know for sure that we will all face adversities at some point, probably many points in our lives. Practicing a life of gratitude can help you navigate those adversities and come through them as a better, more content, and more thankful person.

Embracing gratitude can also be a catalyst for personal growth. It encourages self-reflection and a deeper understanding of your values, priorities, and the interconnectedness of life. My gratitude journey caused me to question my beliefs and reassess what was most important to me. It validated some of my beliefs, and also caused me to accept that some of them had changed. It can help you clearly see what is REALLY important. Spoiler Alert: It is probably not the fancy cars, the perfect Thanksgiving meal, or getting that Pinterest perfect house.

Gratitude is such a powerful tool for enhancing your quality of life, fostering positive relationships, and contributing to a more fulfilling life. Your gratitude can strengthen your relationships with others. It communicates to them that their actions and presence are valued and fosters a sense of connection and reciprocity. When you invest in your relationships and bring positively to others, their lives are better, and they will tend to continue the gratitude cycle.


Here are some ways to connect more and focus on gratitude, for a more meaningful Thanksgiving 2023.


Welcome Friends, Family, and Strangers


Let your friends and family know they are welcome to join in your holiday celebration. Extend the celebration to those outside your family. Think of those who may be alone and miss their holiday celebrations. Encourage family or friends to invite someone they know to the celebration. Then make everyone feel welcome and included in the day’s activities.

Don’t be upset when everyone can’t make the celebration. We all have extended families, and that means more celebrations to attend for family members. If your daughter and family are attending lunch with her in-laws – be grateful her in-laws love her and want to spend the holiday with her. Be grateful that your grandchildren have other grandparents who love them and want to see them. Get together with them another day and be grateful you can!

My house has an open-door policy, and friends and family know they can bring anyone they want to the table. Many years for Christmas or Thanksgiving, we had people attend whom I had never met, until they walked in our home. My children still remember - after 20+ years - the year one such guest was a police officer, recovering from an on-the-job injury. This was one of those times we realized how grateful we were for our non-dangerous jobs!


Honor Traditions  

Traditions are critical in connecting our history to our present. But don’t get overwhelmed with ‘I have to do this because we’ve always done it that way!’ You don’t have to make 10 special dishes, just because you have ‘always done it’. In our family, we have a Thanksgiving tradition of having all guests sign our Thanksgiving tablecloth. There are so many memories surrounding that tablecloth and everyone who has passed through our home. Click here to see how the Thanksgiving Tablecloth came to be.



A lot of people like to reminisce during the holidays, so ask your guests what their favorite or most meaning memories are of the holiday. This is a great way to learn what matters most to them. Is it dressing or stuffing? Jellied or whole berry cranberry sauce? Do you watch football together or go to a movie?

When you know their favorite holiday memories or meaningful traditions - you might want to consider incorporating new traditions into future celebrations, especially if they are new to your family or will become a regular part of your holidays.


Express Gratitude Verbally

Tell your loved ones what they mean to you. It doesn’t have to be a formal “I’m thankful for…” around the table, but it can be that. Throughout the day, before, during, or after the meal, tell each person alone or in a group, what they mean to you. This is the only time you can experience this very moment - so take the moment and express gratitude. You never know if this could be the last Thanksgiving when you are all together.

It is never wrong to tell people you love them and how much you appreciate their impact on your life.

Express your gratitude to and for others without any expectation they will reciprocate the sentiment. Allow everyone the freedom to express their thoughts or gratitude in their own way.


Acknowledge Others Gratitude

Finally, when others thank you for a gratitude expression, such as the wonderful meal, the love you showed them, or any other kindness that touched them, happily accept their gratitude. Then continue the gratitude cycle by letting them know you were grateful for the opportunity to spend time with them and to share in their holiday or traditions.


Gratitude Challenge

Many times, we are busy rushing through our daily activities, and do not recognize the positive aspects of life. Take the time this Thanksgiving to slow down, enjoy the TIME together and focus on your family, loved ones, and others.

I hope your Thanksgiving holiday will be full of Thanks Giving with love, laughter, food, and good memories for everyone. May your gratitude for the small - and the big things in life - help you and your loved ones to experience more fulfillment, more contentment, and love to sustain you forever.


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