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30+ Reasons to Be Thankful This Thanksgiving

Not feeling the attitude of gratitude this year? Here's how to turn it around.

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PotatoesOlha Afanasieva/Shutterstock

Carbs

Carbs have gotten a bad rap lately but thanks to bread, stuffing, mashed potatoes, yams, and pie, Thanksgiving is basically the High Carb Holiday. Take one day off of worrying about your waistline to be thankful for yummy and energizing carbs. And you don’t have to chuck health totally out the window.

Use these tips to become a more thankful person!

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Family

Family during the holidays can be a lot of extra work and stress, as anyone who’s ever had to serve a dry turkey to a critical in-law knows. Yet they can also be a huge blessing. After all, what’s Thanksgiving dinner without Uncle Bill’s “magic” tricks or your mom’s signature pie? So even when they’re annoying, try to focus on all the things you love about your beautiful, wacky, funny, a little bit crazy but always loving clan.

Check out these funny family photos that are hilariously awkward!

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Crunchy, colourful, fragrant piles of leaves

Is there anything that says “fall” more than the changing foliage? The vibrant colours, the satisfying crunch underfoot, and the woodsy smell combine to delight all your senses. Plus, let’s be honest, there’s a much less fancy reason to love leaves: giant piles to jump in!

Enjoy every minute of the crisp autumn season with these must-do fall activities.

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Pets

Whether it’s the soulful eyes of your pup (begging for turkey) or the tiny pink nose of your kitty (also begging for turkey, but in a much more sophisticated way than Fido), Thanksgiving is the perfect time to shower a little extra love on the critters who love you the most.

Here are the Thanksgiving foods that are toxic for pets.

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Crisp apples

Apples may be available in stores all year long, but there’s something special about fall apples with their fresh, crisp bite and tangy sweet juice. No wonder so many favourite Thanksgiving recipes rely on apples! Bonus points for going to an orchard and picking your own, allowing you to be grateful for the trees, soil, sun, and farmers who do all the hard work for us.

Use these tips to get the most out of farmers’ markets year-round.

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FlowersArina P Habich/Shutterstock

Mums

Flowers are generally thought of as a spring and summer treat, but there are a few hardy blooms that will continue to brighten your home and your spirit as the days get colder. Mums are a perennial (get it?) Thanksgiving favourite. Buy a pot for yourself or bring one as a hostess gift.

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Advice columns

Thanksgiving can be a depressing time, especially if your life isn’t going quite like you’d hoped. But instead of despairing about your circumstances, take a few minutes and read an advice column. At the very least, reading about other people’s problems will make you more grateful for your own. You might be unemployed or single, but at least you’re not working for the ex you cruelly ghosted or in love with your twin, right?

Speaking of advice, we’ve rounded up Reader’s Digest’s best life lessons ever!

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TurkeyBrent Hofacker/Shutterstock

Turkey

This classic Thanksgiving totem and food doesn’t get a lot of love the rest of the year, but the humble turkey is a tasty source of filling protein—not to mention high levels of tryptophan, the chemical known for making you feel relaxed and sleepy. Also, you probably didn’t have to kill or pluck the poor bird yourself—one more blessing to count!

Don’t miss these Thanksgiving turkey tips from a professional chef!

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Candy-cornBrent Hofacker/Shutterstock

Candy corn

Sure, real corn is a staple grain that provides food to millions of people and animals. That’s great and all, but candy corn is way tastier, especially when you mix it with peanuts for that classic salty-sweet Thanksgiving table decoration/kid appetizer.

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hot-chocolateRawpixel.com/Shutterstock

Warm drink weather

Fall means cooler temps which, of course, means steamy mugs of deliciousness. See you later, smoothies! It’s time for pumpkin spice lattes, hot toddies, spiced ciders, mulled wines, and hot chocolates. Wrap your hands around the cup, inhale the spicy aromas, and enjoy the feeling of getting warm from the inside out.

Here’s how Thanksgiving is celebrated around the world.

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Early evenings

September 21 may be the official first day of fall, but it’s really not until Thanksgiving that you start to feel the longer nights and shorter days. Summer nights, with their barbecues and night games, may get all the glory (and country songs), but fall nights can be just as fun. Pop some popcorn, pull out a board game or puzzle, turn on a favourite movie, and enjoy the cozy feeling of being snuggled up together.

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Your best friend

Friends are like family, but sometimes they’re even better than family, especially when they’re saving the day by bringing a non-burnt turkey or smuggling you a much-needed drink. Make sure to tell your friend how grateful you are for their friendship and how much better your life is because you have them.

Check out these simple ways to make friends as an adult.

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Scarves and mittens

Staying warm is a need, but nothing says you can’t do it in style! Thanksgiving is the perfect time to debut your sleek gloves, warm scarves, cute hats, tall boots and smart coats—and be grateful for warm fingers and toes!

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bakingJacob Lund/Shutterstock

A cozy kitchen

For some people, even the thought of cooking is tedious, but for many people spending a day puttering around the kitchen, chatting with family, and making favourite recipes is a wonderful way to enjoy a cool day indoors. There’s nothing like the pride of seeing perfectly browned rolls come out of the oven that you made yourself.

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Peace and safety

The world is a tumultuous place right now, full of nightmare scenarios. But if you’re reading this, you’re likely in a place of relative safety and peace—be grateful for your ability to surf the Internet without fear or censorship. Then make sure you find a way to help others who aren’t so blessed.

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PieSteve Cukrov/Shutterstock

Pie

Pumpkin pie is really only the beginning when it comes to delicious Thanksgiving desserts. Apple rhubarb, dutch apple, French silk, coconut creme, and caramel are all excellent variations on seasonal pies.

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SinkDMITRII SIMAKOV/Shutterstock

Electricity and plumbing

Remembering what our ancestors had to endure just to stay alive is apt to make anyone grateful for modern conveniences. Just try and imagine what life would be like without tap water, indoor toilets, and the Internet.

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bedRakopton TanyakamLPN/Shutterstock

Comforters

Nothing caps off a wonderful Thanksgiving meal like falling into a deep slumber under a fluffy, warm comforter in a soft bed. Cool air, warm body, perfect night’s sleep—as long as the turkey doesn’t give you weird dreams, that is!

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Your health

No matter how many health problems you may have, one thing’s for certain: You’re alive! And that’s always something to be grateful for. Seriously though, most of us are more healthy than we are sick, and while it’s easier to focus on the aches and pains sometimes you just gotta be thankful for everything that’s still working as it should.

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PumpkinsUmFOTO/Shutterstock

Pumpkin patches

Admit it: Whoever decided that walking through a muddy field to pick an odd-shaped squash would be not only fun but something people will pay a lot of money to do, was kind of a genius. And it is fun! Finding the perfect gourd to decorate your Thanksgiving table or turn into other pumpkin crafts is great entertainment for adults and kids alike.

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Smiles from a stranger

A smile from a stranger is a small thing, but it can change the trajectory of your entire day. Someone noticed you. Someone liked you enough to smile at you. It’s pretty amazing if you think about it. Now, pay it forward.

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BabySyda Productions/Shutterstock

Baby giggles

Thanksgiving is a time for families, and while having so many different personalities in one place can be challenging, there’s always an upside: the laughter of babies and toddlers. It’s genuine, comes straight from the gut, and happens at the best times (like when Grandpa accidentally belches). Enjoy every tinkling note!

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Waiters

There are people who love cooking, and then there are people who love to appreciate other people cooking—and there’s no shame in that! Many restaurants are packed on Thanksgiving, with people who still want to enjoy a special meal but would rather not deal with all the pressure and dishes of hosting at home. Let’s all take a minute to be grateful for the servers, hosts, managers, cooks, chefs, bussers, and other workers who make it all possible.

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MomAlena Ozerova/Shutterstock

Mom

Whether your mother is in the next room, the next town, the next country, or the next life, Thanksgiving traditions can be powerful reminders of the good times you shared together and how very much she loves you, no matter how far away.

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Dad

Don’t forget your papa! From organizing the neighborhood football game to re-raking the leaf pile for you to jump in over and over, dads hold a special place on Thanksgiving too.

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corn-fieldAlpha 7D/Shutterstock

Corn mazes

It’s a food! It’s a game! It’s a corn maze! OK, so the number one rule of doing a corn maze is to not eat the corn, but it’s still a pretty ingenious multi-purpose invention. Get your exercise before the big meal by walking (and getting lost) in one of these clever life-sized mazes. Or take it next-level and do a spooky incarnation.

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PotpourriLouknut Chantanakorn/Shutterstock

Potpourri

Bring the spicy, earthy smell of fall indoors with an easy stove top potpourri recipe: Put orange peels, cinnamon sticks, cloves, vanilla, and nutmeg in a small pot. Cover with water and heat on low, adding water as necessary. You’ll enjoy the simple fragrance all day.

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BooksAlena Ozerova/Shutterstock

Books

What better way to spend those sleepy post-feast hours than curled up in your favourite chair with a good book?

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NapsAnna Hoychuk/Shutterstock

Naps

Napping is a Thanksgiving tradition, just as much as turkey. And indulging in this one is just as good for you as it feels.

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DonutsBrent Hofacker/Shutterstock

Pumpkin spice everything

Pumpkin spice lattes are just the beginning of the fun you can have with this spice blend of allspice, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves. From cereal to doughnuts to ravioli, you can get this festive flavour in almost any type of food, sweet or savory. And don’t stop with food—indulge in pumpkin spice body wash, hand soap, candles, and air fresheners.

These fall recipes are sure to satisfy your family this season!

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Nature walks in the forest

Nature is quite the artist, and there’s no better way to admire her handiwork than by watching the colours change on the trees. A nature walk or drive to see the beautiful changing fall foliage is the perfect compliment to a Thanksgiving dinner.

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Facetime and Skype

Technology brings us so many gifts, but perhaps none are as meaningful as the ability to see our loved ones even when they can’t physically be with us. Thankfully, we have Facetime, Skype, and other apps to bring in far-off grandparents, cousins, children, and friends.

Here’s what you should never post on social media during the holidays.

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WreathArina P Habich/Shutterstock

The roof over your head

Shelter is one of humankind’s most primary needs, but it’s so basic that unless you don’t have it, you may forget to be grateful for it. This year, take a look upward and be grateful for the roof that offers you warmth and protection—and find a way to make sure everyone who needs one finds a roof too.

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Netflix

Whether you’re in the kitchen, on the couch, or doing chores around the house, Thanksgiving is the perfect day to binge-watch a favourite show or get caught up on shows you might have missed, guilt free.

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DoctorJacob Lund/Shutterstock

Emergency service personnel

You know who never gets a day off, even on Thanksgiving? Firefighters, police, first responders, EMTs, doctors, nurses, and many other emergency service workers. Show them your gratitude for their service 365 days a year by dropping by a little treat or making a donation to their local cause.

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Tears

Thanksgiving tears are often of the poignant variety—saying goodbye to loved ones and remembering past holidays—and those tears serve an important purpose. We only cry when something is important to us, so those tears are a reminder of how much we love and are loved.

These are the compliments you haven’t been giving—but should!

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Thank-you-cardRawpixel.com/Shutterstock

Gratitude

That’s right, we just told you to be thankful for being thankful. But it’s true, being grateful has myriad physical and psychological benefits. Making your own Thankful-on-Thanksgiving list can ward off depression, lower blood pressure, ameliorate anxiety, and even increase lifespan. You’re welcome.

Next, check out these funny Thanksgiving quotes to share around the table.

Originally Published on Reader's Digest