28 November 2013

Thanks and Gratitude (And How to Tell the Difference...)

by Brian Thornton

It's Thanksgiving Day, and quel suprise, the author tapped to post today is going with that old chestnut: "giving thanks today..."

Well, sort of.

After all, this is me we're talking about, here.

So permit me to go all Andy Rooney on you, for a moment. People talk alot about being "thankful" on Thanksgiving (hence the name). And yet, are they, in fact, giving thanks?

And if so, to whom?

After all, being "thankful" is not the same as being "grateful." Frankly, I think many folks conflate the two words,  and a powerful distinction between them is lost.

That distinction being there need be no object of one's gratitude. Although it's possible to be grateful to someone for something, the object need not be part of the equation. Not so with giving thanks. What are you giving? Thanks. And to whom are you giving it?

Now that is a meaty question. (No pun intended) I suggest we talk turkey about it (okay that time the pun was intended!).

Everyone knows the holiday itself was inaugurated by a sect of religious fundamentalists, so it stands to reason that on this day when they gathered together for a day of "giving thanks," they were directing their "thank yous" to "God." (We can only speculate as to whom the local natives who joined them that first Thanksgiving might have been thanking...)

And yet Thanksgiving these days is about as religious a holiday as New Year's Day. Folks gather together, have a meal, drink toasts and describe what they're thankful for.

For my way of thinking, that formula only gets it half right.

So putting my money where my mouth is (and with the understanding that I will be removing said money very soon to make way for the turkey leg that is currently calling my name!), let me take a moment and thank a few people, in honor of the spirit of this glorious day.

First, to my wife, FOR EVERYTHING!!!

Next, to my son, for the joy he brings me, and the things he's teaching me (daily!).

Next, to my family, for their love, kindness and support.

And to my friends, for liking me and for being such swell people that I like them back.

Second-to-lastly, I thank God for my health, the mistakes he puts in my path and the wisdom that springs from them, and for any small talents he has seen clear to throw my way.

And last, but not least, I thank you for reading.

Now let us all be thankful, or grateful, or both. Whichever suits you best.

Happy Thanksgiving!


  1. And Happy Thanksgiving to you and all SS readers.

  2. Nicely put, Brian. Happy Thanksgiving to you, as well to the readers and writers of SleuthSayers!

  3. Happy Thanksgiving to you, SS, and all who read!

  4. What a great post to discover just after awakening from a post-pig-out nap, Brian.

    I'm grateful that I can still say, "Happy Thanksgiving" to most folks in the USA, without worrying about getting my head chopped off.

    Can't say the same for "Merry Christmas", "Happy Chanukah", etc. I used to stick to “Season’s Greetings,” but then somebody got upset because they considered the phrase “too commercial.” LOL

    Happy Turkey-Day to one and all!


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