Should We Be Thankful or Grateful This Holiday Season?

November 24, 2021

“Give thanks.” “Count your blessings.” From our Thanksgiving gatherings with friends and family to the festive cards and gifts we share with the special people in our lives, the holiday season is filled with reminders to open our eyes, take stock and be thankful or grateful.

But is there a difference between being thankful and being grateful? The Oxford Dictionary defines “thankful” as “pleased and relieved,” while “grateful” is defined as “showing an appreciation of kindness.”

In other words, being thankful is a feeling, while being grateful is an action. Gratitude inspires us to reach out, to share, to return a favor or to pay it forward, whether in small ways or large.

It’s often said that feeling thankful is an important first step toward being grateful and being moved to express gratitude.

At McLean, residents and staff alike are focused on thankfulness and extending themselves in acts of gratitude this holiday season. As just one example, staff members are writing simple notes sharing specifics about what they appreciate about others who work and live at McLean.

Wellness Director Kimberly Wright creates an environment that enriches the human spirit in boundless ways. It is part of McLean’s definition of wellness. She says, “Expressing gratitude is an important part of our overall wellness. Showing gratitude is contagious and can lead to feelings of happiness, well-being and even more thankfulness—so let’s spread it around this holiday season!”

Ways to show gratitude

Keep slips of paper handy for friends and family to write one thing they are thankful for. Share them by reading aloud when you gather around the holiday table.

Find a book you loved reading and gift it to a friend. Write a short personal note on the inside cover.

Call, write or text someone and thank them. Whether you are thanking someone for a gift, their help or their teachings, sharing specifically how their effort had a positive impact on you is showing gratitude.

Make a favorite food for a friend or family member, or buy someone their favorite treat. Sometimes the smallest act can have the biggest impact.

Quotes for inspiration

“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.”
― John F. Kennedy

 “When you arise in the morning, think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive—to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love—then make that day count!”
― Steve Maraboli, Life, the Truth, and Being Free

“Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings.”
― William Arthur Ward

McLean is unendingly thankful and grateful for the support of our close-knit community, not just this past year, but throughout our 50-year history.

To learn how you can live exceptionally well at McLean, please click here or call us at 860-658-3786.

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