By Maria O’Connell

The day has come and gone. It’s a holiday that is singular to the US. It is a time to stop. It is a time to gather with family around a food-filled table. It is a time to reflect. It is a time to give thanks. It is Thanksgiving.

Last year, about this time, I spent my first Thanksgiving away from home – 4000 miles away, to be exact. I was in Spain. It was quite a surreal experience on that day to be surrounded by people who had no context for a holiday I have ardently celebrated since I was born. My Spanish friends had all sorts of questions about Thanksgiving. They tried their best to understand the tradition and its importance, but I still missed home a lot on that day.

In Spanish, ‘Thanksgiving’ translates to ‘el Día de Acción de Gracias.’ Literally translated it means: the day of the action of thank you. I love the Spanish translation because it says exactly what Thanksgiving is supposed to be: it is a day to be thankful for what you have.

At my home on Thanksgiving before we begin eating, we stop to share in thanksgiving with each other. We always go around the table to state something, or many things, that we are thankful for.

In my first week here at Whittaker Associates, at my very first staff meeting, I was pleasantly reminded of this timeless tradition. I do not know when it was established here at the office, but without fail, at the culmination of our weekly meeting each employee states three things for which they are thankful. I think this routine greatly contributes to our positive work environment.

Giving thanks can make the day a little brighter. It reminds us of the good things this life has to offer. It creates a thankful heart.

So maybe you too have a tradition of saying why you’re thankful at Thanksgiving. Or maybe you even have that tradition in your work environment. But if you didn’t get the chance to share why you’re thankful this past week, you haven’t lost your opportunity! Find someone and tell them why you are thankful. Then ask them why they are thankful in return.