This Thanksgiving, Try Thankless-Giving

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Quick, what are you thankful for?

Family, friends, good food, satisfying work, and great memories from the past year likely come to mind.

As they should. Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays for this very reason. There’s nothing better than an entire day dedicated to sharing a meal with the people I care about. Plus pie.

But this year, I’ve been thinking a lot about the people and tasks that don’t get many thank yous.

And I think it’s high time they did.

Join me, will you? This Thanksgiving, take some time–alongside the gratitude for family, friends, and food–to express thanks for some of the people and tasks that don’t get thanked very often–but deserve a standing ovation. It can be as simple as a sincere “thank you,” a smile, a kind note, or an extra-generous tip.

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Gas Station Attendants: Gas station attendants work hard in some rough circumstances. The bathrooms alone mean that every gas station attendant out there deserves a big hug or at least a big thank you. These places see some traffic–mostly from people who are in a big hurry.

200wYour Bad Tattoo: So you have a lower back tattoo of Taylor Lautner’s face. Take a moment to feel some gratitude for all the things you’ve learned since then. For all the mistakes you’ve made and recovered from. And for the knowledge that it’s okay to make mistakes.

Postal Workers: They’re the butt of a lot of jokes. They have yet to meet a customer who isn’t tired of standing in line or in a hurry. But they keep our world running with Amazon packages delivered late into Christmas Eve and patiently sending our letters and boxes around the globe. Next time you’re at the post office, smile and offer a genuine thank you instead of hurrying out the door.

Your Political Nemesis on Facebook: It’s been a rough year for all of us politically. But here’s to learning from each other and finding similarities despite our differences.

Moms: Find the nearest mom in your life and give her a hug or a big thank you–stat. Moms make the world go ’round, but they only get one day a year in the limelight. Thank your mom, or another mom in your life for making the world a better place this year.

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Crazy Uncle Bob: Speaking of family, we all have a crazy Uncle Bob. He might be a little left–or right–of center, but he keeps things interesting, and it’s a good reminder of what family is about–sticking by each other despite the crazy.

Anyone in Fast Food. Especially the employees at the late-night drive-through window: It’s really hard work to be on your feet all day, and fast food is full of spills, smells, unhappy customers, and not nearly enough thank yous. Share a little extra kindness next time you roll through Mickey D’s.

Janitors: Chances are, it seems like the office is just magically clean on Monday mornings. But behind that vacuumed floor is a hard-working crew that’s keeping the office in order. Leave a note of thanks on your desk for a job well done!

200w-1Mondays: Everyone hates Mondays–but maybe there’s some gratitude to be found here too. A new start to the week might feel daunting, but it’s also a chance to leave last week behind and do something amazing. Every new beginning deserves a little thanks.

Teachers: Talk about unsung heros. Most teachers get paid far less than they deserve–for doing some of the most important work out there. It’s a thankless job, and it involves a lot of drama (mostly from parents). Take the time to offer genuine thanks, or better yet help your child write a note of thanks.

The Dentist: Nobody really likes going to the dentist. But take a moment to think about how lucky you are to have access to healthcare for your teeth and someone who is willing to patiently scrape the gunk off them.

Pants That Don’t Fit: This is a tricky one–but last year’s pants mean you have access to food. You don’t have to frame them. But take a few minutes to consider how lucky you are not to be hungry.

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Your Job: Unemployment is rough. No matter how fraught your relationship with your work, take a moment to feel gratitude for your employment at the end of the day.

Spiders: You don’t have to give these guys a hug. (Please, don’t give them a hug.)

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But even us arachnophobes can recognize that these creepy crawlies keep balance in the insect kingdom. It’s the circle of life–and it’s pretty cool, even if it is a little creepy sometimes.

Bees: Bees are pretty amazing.

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They’re one of the biggest, smallest unsung heroes out there–just pollinating everything to keep the world growing. So thank a bee. And find out what you can do to keep them from disappearing.

200w-2Screaming Kids in Restaurants: Next time you see a scoop of macaroni fly by and a wail that it’s “not the right kind of cheese,” bite your lip and smile. After all, we were all little once. And sometimes we still act like it. Give that mom or dad a sympathetic smile and feel thankful for the opportunity to practice patience and kindness.


What are you thankful for this Thanksgiving?

Who or what do you take for granted that could use a little extra love?

Tell us in the comments below, and have an incredible Thanksgiving.

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