5 Things to Be Thankful For

5 Things to Be Thankful For

5 Things to Be Thankful For

By Vanessa Williams

It is Thanksgiving. The special time of the year for us to reflect and give thanks for what we have. Despite our best efforts, this sentiment often does not receive the attention it deserves.  If you are anything like me, I get so busy running errands and preparing dishes, I have to be careful not to forget the reason we come together.  And then, it only lasts for one day.

This year, I took a moment, during the busy-ness, to acknowledge my blessings and ways I can share my gratitude and encourage others to do the same throughout the year.  Here are five things you can be thankful for and ways to show your gratitude. Check out the list, and feel free to create your own and share your thoughts with us at connect@xxtra.org.


Sometimes, we feel there is not much right in our lives. And, therefore, not much in which to be thankful. However, simply waking up and being alive is one reason to be appreciative. The truth is, life is unpredictable. And none of us are aware of how long we have here on earth. For that reason, appreciate your life, despite all your circumstances.

Value your life and accomplish your goals.

Show Your Gratitude:

  • Write down your blessings and place them in a blessings jar to help yourself stay thankful.
  • Start a journal listing everything you are grateful for in your life.
  • Create plans to complete something you have never done before.

Your Home

Whether you live in a house or an apartment, you should be grateful you have a roof over your head. Many homeless people do not have a place that they can call their own.  This year, several natural disasters left countless people without homes and shelter.  I give thanks for my home and pray for those who are less fortunate.

Show Your Gratitude:

  • Donate clothes and toiletries to a local shelter or donation center.
  • Donate blankets to an organization that distributes them to the homeless for winter.
  • Find an organization that benefits those devastated by the recent natural disasters, including programs like the Adopt-a-Family program referenced in the XXS&F special report on recovery efforts in the US Virgin Islands.

Food and Water

Each year, when November comes, it is normal for us to call our families and decide who will host Thanksgiving dinner. While we are finalizing the menu, we often forget some people do not have the same accessibility to food and water. In fact, many people are unsure of how their family will eat dinner tonight.

Consider the less fortunate and be grateful for all you have.

Show Your Gratitude:

  • Find a local food bank to donate canned goods and nonperishable items.
  • Volunteer with a local nonprofit or church that will serve dinner for the holidays.
  • Give a deserving family a store gift card to assist with their Thanksgiving dinner.

Family and Friends

One of the best parts of Thanksgiving is getting together with your loved ones and delighting in each other’s company. Of course, there is no faultless family. Every family has its share of problems. But, as the saying goes, “our families often provide us our first lesson in practicing forgiveness.” Then there are the virtual families we create with our friends.  These are the people with whom we share critical parts of our life’s journey, and consider family.  Whatever the case, Thanksgiving gives us an excellent opportunity to spend time and create memories with those who mean the most to us.

Show Your Gratitude:

  • Call or text your family and tell them you are grateful for their love and support.
  • Take a friend to lunch and acknowledge how much you value your friendship.
  • Host a gathering and express your thankfulness to your family and friends.

Your Health

Nothing in life is more important than our health.  Women of color know that busy schedules, stress and other demands can shred a super woman cape into ragged pieces.  Amid taking care of everyone else, we must take special steps to ensure that we give ourselves the special attention we deserve.  Knowing this, and having an opportunity and resources to do so, give me another reason to be thankful.

Show Your Gratitude:

  • Fuel your body with healthy foods and sustain an active lifestyle.
  • Set aside time to provide self-care and relax.
  • Make time to schedule your annual checkup with your doctor.
  • Intimacy.  Take the time to share the hugs, conversation and love with the one (or those) who loves you most.