I recently saw a commercial in which a retailer changed thanksgiving to thanksgetting.  At first I rolled my eyes at their attempt to be clever.  Then I was annoyed at their lack of creativity.  Then I was frustrated by consumerism and their ploy on changing the purpose of a holiday.  Then I got a grip and remembered it’s a T.V. commercial.

However, as I reflect on the year, I think it is okay to think of the holiday in both terms.  We should give thanks for all that we have, and all that we receive (get it—getting?).  Sorry ad campaign—I’m spinning your unfortunate slogan into a positive message.

I present my holiday show down:


I give my time

I am thankful that I have free time to give to others in my community; I have time to spend with friends and family; I have time left on this planet to do more.

I give positive thinking

I am embracing celebration this year.  Our often disparaging culture masks self-deprecation as humility.  Let’s start celebrating more—I am celebrating work accomplishments and personal achievements.  I wrote new bylaws for an organization.  Hurray!  I spent time on a Board that brokered a successful affiliation.  Congrats!  I finally painted my kitchen cabinets.  Phew!

I give hope

Working in an industry that tries to solve complicated problems can sometimes feel heavy.  So I try to give my hope by being inspired by other people’s talents; by their good intentions; in helping to change attitudes.


I get a sense of pride

I work for an organization that gives money away.  So it’s easy to feel good when someone appreciates a donation.  But I also get to feel pride that the work we do impacts people—the staff who work tirelessly on intense problems and the people they serve.

I get to see people’s lives transform

While I don’t work directly with anyone and actually be the person changing someone’s life, I do benefit from knowing the work I do helps.  Sometimes it’s hard to work on social change from afar, but hearing stories and meeting people who have triumphed in spite of hardship reminds me of the human aspect of our work.

I get to go home to the one’s I love every evening

And isn’t that the most vital get?  Our work is important, but not as necessary as the time we spend at home.  Every evening I get hugs from my husband and I get kisses from my dog—at that’s the best reward.

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