we've learned

Make Thanksgiving Your Gratitude Day

if you ever meet me in real life, you’ll quickly learn that i love thanksgiving. i plan for it for months. that’s because thanksgiving combines all of my favorite things: food, family, friends and gratitude. and because i travel so much for work, i prefer not to travel for thanksgiving, which means we always host people at our house. sometimes family have traveled in, sometimes friends have, and local friends are always welcome — the more, the merrier. we love having to find ways to pack more people in at the table. sure, cooking a thanksgiving feast is a lot of work, and it can be expensive, too, but it is our way of saying to our loved ones, “thank you for being a part of our lives. we love you and appreciate you.”

we are huge believers that life is so much better and we’re so much happier when we approach things with a spirit of gratitude. when we appreciate our many blessings, and notice those little things that people do for us. when we acknowledge our privilege in all its forms. when we take the time to say “thank you” and really mean it. i can’t tell you how many times i’ve been having a crummy day, but then take a moment to put real intention into saying thank you to someone, and my whole mood perks right up. (more evidence: how happy writing this post is making me feel.)

gratitude is powerful stuff.

but telling people how much we love and appreciate them is not something that most of us do enough, us included. as a society, we value strong, self-reliant people, and it feels weird somehow to admit our vulnerabilities and tell people how much they mean to us, or how much we need them. but what better day than thanksgiving — what we think of as gratitude day — to break out of that pattern and let people know how much they’ve influenced our lives, even in little ways.

as you may have seen from our tweetstorm yesterday, we did a little bit of that, thanking fellow bloggers and YOU, our readers, for making this blog such a gratifying thing for us.

though it might sound trite to say, we’ll say it anyway: we love you guys. seriously. thank you for being a part of our lives, even if we only know each other through screens. it still matters to us, and we’re grateful in a big way.

as for our non-digital friends and family we won’t be spending the day with, we’ll be sending out a flurry of texts, sending some facebook messages and making some calls, just to send the love and share some gratitude. life is too short not to say what we really mean.

some things we know we’ll be thanking people for, in particular:

  • for being a great friend despite the distance
  • for being a great role model
  • for being there for us when our dog died
  • for always being willing to listen
  • for being a great ski partner
  • for sending that kind note
  • for being a great teacher all those years ago
  • for always making us laugh
  • for being a thoughtful mentor
  • for making me that gluten-free cake
  • for giving great book recommendations
  • for being an incredible friend for two decades

some of those thanks are big thanks, and some are little thanks. either way, they matter. each of us plays a role in making the world a better place when we send gratitude out into it.

if you’re not usually one to share your feelings, thanksgiving is the perfect excuse. blame the wine at dinner, or the beers while watching football. blame the mushy speeches others gave around the dinner table about what they’re thankful for. but get those thank yous out there!

and, lest we leave you with the false impression that thanksgiving at our house is just a mushy, new agey lovefest, we’ll end on a very different note: pie. does anything tell my stomach i love it more than pumpkin pie? i think not! ;-)


happy thanksgiving, friends! hope you have a wonderful day spent with people you care about… and with lots and lots of pie!

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Categories: we've learned

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57 replies »

  1. I’m incredibly grateful for this blog – I love your take on financial independence and the things that matter most in life! Really, I can expand that gratefulness to the entire PF community. It is an amazing place that you can always turn to someone with questions or learn from experiences other people share. It has made a dramatic impact on my life over the past year and it is blogs, like this one, that has led the charge!

    Happy Thanksgiving to both of you! Enjoy time your time with family and friend…And pie of course!

  2. Oh my gosh, those mushy speeches at the dinner table are my ABSOLUTE FAVOURITE THING of any holiday, ever, for all the reasons you listed above. Quite honestly, it’s almost a family tradition to see how far we can get around the table before I’m in happy-tears about all the love and the things we have to be grateful for.

    I’m grateful this year for the amazing community that I never expected to find when I started blogging about money, very much including you guys! I hope you have an absolutely wonderful day ahead of you tomorrow, and excellent stretchy pants to accommodate all of the delicious desserts. I also wish you a Friday morning breakfast of pumpkin pie and whipped cream in your coffee – which is my second favourite part of Thanksgiving.

    • I LOVE that image of everyone trying to out-mush each other to get your waterworks going. :-) But what a great thing that your family recognizes all the blessings in your lives.

      We’re completely with you on the blogland stuff — we have been completely FLOORED by what an incredible community this is, and we LOVE having connected with you! You are a great voice in the community and one of the funniest bloggers, so please keep it up. :-)

  3. Thank you for making me think in the morning and for all the Twitter love.

    And thanks for making me want pumpkin pie at 730 am, at least 30 hours before I have access to any! Thank you world for pumpkin pie, and for letting dairy free pumpkin pie be just as tasty!!

    Have a wonderful Thanksgiving! Enjoy your time off :)

    • That pic of pumpkin pie is completely dairy-free! Gluten free, vegan and raw, actually, though sometimes I make a more traditional version. :-) I can’t expect guests to eat all hippie food, after all!

      Thanks for being a great blog friend, Kate! Hope you guys have a fantastic Thanksgiving!

  4. Happy Thanksgiving to both of you!

    It blows my mind to think that three months ago I didn’t know anything about this blogging community. I am SO thankful to have stumbled upon it, and so thankful to have “met” you guys and discovered your blog. Thank you for consistently posting incredibly thoughtful content (and cool photos from wherever it is that you live!), thank you for taking the time to post nice comments on lots of other blogs, and thank you for generally being supportive and encouraging to everyone in this community. I hope you have a great day tomorrow spending time with friends and eating pie.

    Oh, and guess what: the library just emailed me and said that the Julia Child book is in — yay! I’m excited — I have the sense that we may have similar taste in reading material. :)

    • Has it only been three months for you?! That’s crazy. But yeah, we have definitely learned that this community has a way of making you feel like you’ve always been a part of it. I’m SO happy to have “met” you, too, and to have the privilege of reading your wonderful blog — please keep at it! You have so much to contribute to our community! And yay! Enjoy Julia’s book! It’s so perfect for over the food holidays. :-) Let me know what you think of it! Happy Thanksgiving.

      • Well, to be transparent, I should say that I was a lurker on Blonde on a Budget for about 6 months before I actually got it into my head to start a blog myself (or to look for other pf blogs). But yeah, this week is my 3-month blogiversary. And thanks for the kind words — I’ve had a lot of fun writing during these past few months. :)

      • I think many of us have a similar story of being inspired after reading a few key blogs for a while. Hope you had a great Thanksgiving and are avoiding the Black Friday madness today! :-)

    • Thanks, Hannah! And what a great aspiration… we try to see things through a lens of gratitude every day, but never mind the nudge either. :-) Hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

  5. I am thankful to have the holidays off this year and will be able to spend it with my family. I usually try and show my gratitude through my actions and less through my words, but I think some people really like to hear it. That will have to be something I work on.

    Happy Thanksgiving!
    Andrew & Vee

    • Actions are great, but words are good, too — that’s how we’ve been able to connect with each other here in blogland, after all! :-) Hope you guys have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

  6. I admit that I am not one for sharing feelings much – I guess my way of telling people that I appreciate them is basically not being a dick to them throughout the year. :)

    But I am trying my best to get better in that regard. I guess it is a little easier to write than to say, and I wrote at the bottom of my “financially screwed friend” article how much I appreciate this personal finance community, and of course my wife wrote an entire gratitude blog post for today. But yeah, regarding friends and family outside of the blogosphere, we tend not to say the touchy-feely things too much.

    I am up at my in-laws home now, and we usually completely do-it-up for Thanksgiving and Christmas, and this year won’t be any exception. Being thankful for pie is one of those things that we’re all pretty much on board with as well. Honestly, I’m not even a huge fan of turkey in general…but pie? Yeah, I can definitely do pie.

    Especially sitting in front of the television watching Thursday football, pie in hand, some kind of mixed drink or wine in the other, and taking in the relaxing atmosphere.

    Mmmmmm….. :)

    Happy Thanksgiving, ONL. You guys totally rock in every way imaginable and I’m so very grateful that we are both able to mutually pursue or goals, support one another over the digital airwaves and just otherwise strive for something bigger and better in our lives.

    • “Don’t be a dick” is also a good guiding life philosophy. :-) So high five for sticking to that — LOL. As for the food, I love cooking the feast, but honestly, I could skip straight to the pie, too. :-)

      Thanks for your nice note, Steve! You’re far too kind, but I’d say all of it right back atcha. Love sharing this journey with you guys… even if you’ll beat us to the finish line. ;-) You’ll just have to send back lots of wisdom that you learn along the way! Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

  7. What a lovely post :) I love reading different people’s journeys and think the PF blog/early retirement blogs are awesome. That pumpkin pie looks good – we don’t have that in the UK, nor Thanksgiving, but the food you guys have for it always looks so tasty!

  8. I love pie, maybe more than the Turkey!

    This is a sweet message. Other bloggers mean so much to me because we don’t talk about our new goals with real-life family and friends. I really appreciate the opportunity to interact with like-minded individuals through my blog. I’m thankful for all of you. Happy Thanksgiving!

    • I could skip the turkey every time (though maybe not the stuffing…) and go straight to pie. We’re in total agreement — that stuff we talk about here is so near and dear to us, but is hard to talk about with friends in real life. So we think of you guys as real friends, just the kind we never hang out with in person. :-) Happy Thanksgiving!

  9. Yum pumpkin pie! Already had my share back in October when we Canadians had our backward Thanksgiving. :p

    Being grateful in life is so important. We all need to be appreciative of what we have in life. Happy Thanksgiving!

    • Maybe you can have a little more pie in honor of your southern neighbors? ;-) So true — being grateful is so important…. and it makes everything that much sweeter.

  10. Wow!! I’m not even much of a pumpkin pie kind of girl (I’m more into the apple), but that picture? Holy smokes! That is one good lookin’ slice of pumpkin pie. Happy Thanksgiving to you both!!! I am incredibly thankful for blogger friends/screen friendships like yours. :) Regardless of meeting, it’s amazing the profound effect this whole PF/FI blogosphere has! I am sincerely appreciating all of this gratitude writing – not too long ago I read Maggie’s post on gratitude as well. Have a fantastic Thanksgiving, and enjoy with your friends & family!!

    • Haha — We’ve made every variation of pumpkin pie over the years, but the best looking photo I had happened to be of last year’s raw vegan version. Shhh… don’t tell the purists! :-)

      We’re so thankful for you too, Alyssa! Thanks for being such a positive and vibrant member of this incredible community. :-) Happy Thanksgiving!

  11. Happy thanksgiving onl!!

    I tend to partake more in American thanksgiving more than the Canadian one (back in October) now that I’m abroad and have more Americans than Canadians in my life. But always glad to have an extra reminder-day to celebrate love, gratitude, and pie!

  12. We’ve already had our Canadian Thanksgiving back in October, but it is always good to be reminded about sharing your appreciation for those special people in our lives.

    Thank you for sharing your journey and generally being such amazing bloggers! I hope you have a awesome Thanksgiving!

    • It definitely seems that our northern neighbors are way better on the PF stuff on average than us in the states, so we’ve become a lot more aware of Canadian holidays being a part of this PF community — which means we’re super late for your Thanksgiving! But big thanks for your nice note! Maybe you can sneak in some pie anyway?? ;-)

  13. Thankful for pie and for people like you sharing your journey with the rest of us 365 days a year! Practicing gratitude is like exercising – something I don’t do enough. :) Thank you for the reminder, and have a wonderful holiday.

  14. Awww, YOU GUYS! So wonderful and touching, as always. Thanksgiving at your house sounds amazing! See you there next year? haha, just kidding ;) Thanks for all you bring to the personal finance community. You two are phenomenal. Now let’s go eat ALLLLLLLL the pie :D

  15. Your blog is one of my virtual happy places! I always feel a lot better when I come here…so much inspiration and kindness and love and of course, gratitude. Thank you guys for sharing your journey with us. Happy Thanksgiving! :)

    • Thanks, J. :-) That means so much! It’s all so worth it to us because of all the love and kindness and inspiration we feel in return — including from you! Hope you’re doing well!

  16. Happy Thanksgiving! I’m thankful for so many things, but one is the great things I’ve learned from the financial blogging community, in particular the early retirement / FIRE / FI crowd. While I’m new to this whole blogging thing, I aspire to have as much success as you all have had in the last year and to also reach FI at or before my 40th birthday!