Are you thankful or grateful during the holiday seasons?

When thinking of the words thankful and grateful they may sound like they mean the same thing, but if you take a closer look they are in fact very different. Let’s dive in to find out if you are thankful or grateful during the holiday seasons.

Are you thankful or grateful

We have all been there when holidays roll around we pick up our phones to send a mass text to those in our contacts or we post on social media a cheesy generic line of ” I am thankful to have you in my life” or ” I am grateful to know you.” These seem sweet and loving, but you might be using them in the wrong text.

How I started viewing these 2 words, in short, is that thankful is an internal feeling you feel towards someone or something. Being Grateful is expressing your gratitude towards a person

two person hugging photograph
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What it means to be thankful

Merriam-Webster defines thankful as “conscious of benefit received” The main word to focus on is conscious. You are aware of something is going to be given to you. Being aware generates a feeling of excitement, feeling loved, or happiness. You are thankful for that feeling they have given to you.

More often than not we throw out thank you’s and thanks at every corner. Those thanks and thank yous have less meaning now because they have been instilled in us as polite behavior. They have become such an autoresponse they lose their precious value. You are no longer thanking someone for the feeling they give you when you receive something from them.

person writing on brown printer paper Are you thankful or grateful
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Remember to be thankful

Take the time to really sit with what was done for you to appreciate its value. When something has a huge impact on you making you feel overwhelmed with excitement, feeling loved, or happiness you really start to remember why you are thankful for someone.

Do any of you remember the movie “The Little Prince” by Antoine de Saint-Exupery? It came out in 2004, if you don’t no big deal. I want to share this quote with you that just sums up what thankful means.

“It is only with the heart that one can see rightly, what is essential is invisible to the eye.” Every time I throw myself into a tizzy because things aren’t going as expected, or as I projected on my Excel spreadsheet for the year 2020, I have to remind myself that I’m looking with the wrong instruments: I need to go back and tell my heart to get some guts and speak up to my head because it’s starting to listen to my eyes again.”

Meaning that when you start to become greedy and underappreciate those who have taken the time to give something and you do not take what they have given you to heart to truly appreciate what has been done… You need to take a step back and re-evaluate yourself.

people gathered inside house sitting on sofa Are you thankful or grateful
Photo by Daria Shevtsova on

What is means to be grateful

Merriam-Webster defines thankful as “appreciative of benefits received” meaning you did not know you were going to receive something, but you appreciate everything the person has done to give this to you.

They have given their time, their money, their love to give this to you because they thought you would love it. You become grateful for all aspects of the gift-giving, not just getting the present. You love the experience wholeheartedly to where it makes a huge impact on your life.

As I said earlier thankful is an internal feeling you feel towards someone or something. Being Grateful is expressing your gratitude towards a person. Thankful is a feeling, while gratitude is an action. It is a cycle that goes hand in hand.

Someone takes the time do to something for you, you appreciate it and are thankful, which in return makes you grateful for that person and their time. Then you want to express your gratitude to them and others in which they also do the same thing. It has this ripple effect of showing how much we mean to one another.

white printer paper on brown cardboard
Photo by cottonbro on

Ways of being grateful

I covered this in a blog post a couple of weeks ago but I will give you a few examples that were on that list. If you want more ways to express gratitude check out the rest of that post.

Send Handwritten Letters – I have started mailing letters and little trinkets back and forth with another blogger I met on Instagram. We both appreciate the handwritten letters or little stickers, keychains, or single tea packets we send each other.

Tip Well For Good Service – Service workers work their butt off. They don’t get paid as much as others do hourly because they get tips… if they get tips.

This one has become very popular over the years

Pay It Forward – This absolutely made our day and wanted to keep the good feeling going.

What type of person are you

I hope I explained this as easily as possible. Being thankful and being grateful are two different things with different means. They are both positive terms, but without intention behind it, it just becomes empty and routine. Find the meaning behind the gift-giving, the compliments, the good tipping.

If there is no intention it is just a waste of time. Expressing gratitude turns a hardwired response into an intentional 
action. Every person should know what it feels like to be truly thankful for things that have given and to be grateful for things that have been done. Either for them, others, or strangers!

Looking back on past holidays or even in your everyday life are you truly thankful, the auto-response thanker or are you showing how grateful you are for those in your life?

I, myself am an action type of person. I want to show how grateful I am to those around me. That’s why I have started sending handmade letters to those around me. I love being creative and I love taking my time to create one of a kind letters to those I love. Maybe I should do that with some gift cards this year or some cash for service workers. oooo I think I have an idea.

I hope you guys have a happy, healthy, and safe holiday season this year. Go forth and spread gratitude to those around you and be thankful when someone does it in return!

Until next time, have a great day!

Are you thankful or grateful

26 Replies to “Are you thankful or grateful during the holiday seasons?”

  1. I would say I am both for a variety of reasons! This is a great post, perfect for the holidays, thank you for sharing this.

  2. I am so grateful all year round but I feel that Christmas is when I can truly express it. The present I give are so personal it’s my way of saying I’m grateful for having that person in my life. I always go OTT but that’s what Christmas is all about.

  3. This is a really great post, I think I need to begin to show more gratitude so will definitely be using some of the suggestions you have listed in this and your previous post.

  4. You know with the way 2020 has been going it can definitely be hard to be thankful or grateful. But I am glad of the reminder of all the good things that have happened. Even the smallest things have meant that much and to be honest, I need to remember all that I do have!
    I think I need to do more to say thank you and pay it forward!

  5. This is so enlightening between Thankful and grateful but I think I’m the person who very optimistic with a grateful heart.

  6. Hmmm, I never quite knew that there was a difference in being thankful vs. Grateful so this was interesting to read

  7. First of all, I thought the difference between the two might be new to me since I’m not a native speaker. Your explanation, however, made the different meaning pretty clear – and made me think about it on a whole different level. Very deep and inspiring, indeed.

  8. Ah this post is lovely and I feel inspired to write my own thankful list. If I make it into a blog post then I’ll be making sure you get credit 🙂 Thank you!

  9. Yjk

    Thanks for the knowledge. I’ve never thought about it like that.

  10. Both words do seem to mean the same thing, but after reading your post, I realized there is a difference! Thank you for explaining it and writing a post about this. There is no better time for it 🙂

  11. Love this! I also love sending handmade cards to family and friends!

  12. I’m a very thankful person and I think the holiday season is a great time to reflect on everything.

  13. This is very sweet and well written. I am having a hard time being thankful this year. This inspired me

  14. I’m very thankful for everything we have during the holidays. We are all healthy and happy. What more can you ask for?

  15. I really appreciate this post! My husband and I have been really focusing on gratefulness the last few weeks and I think its important to know the difference between being thankful and being grateful

  16. I hope that I am both thankful and grateful during the holiday seasons 😉

  17. To be honest, I am both thankful and grateful. If this year has taught me anything at all is to appreciate the little things in life more and be happy with life’s little blessings.

  18. yes yes, am always being grateful whenever end of the year for a clearning leave & holiday season, time to enjoy a break for the year. Happy Thanksgiving day to all
    cheers, siennylovesdrawing

  19. Thank you for this wonderful reminder to be grateful for the things we have in life. This is perfect during Thanksgiving week.

  20. Even I feel that it’s so important to show our gratitude to people who have always stood besides me – I am thankful. It’s a good idea to send handwritten cards/letters to them…I am going to do the same.

  21. I always love reading posts about gratefulness especially in what has been a mentally and emotionally challenging year. It’s a thoughtful post.

  22. We are grateful that you explained this very well to be understood. This is a great share and we are planning to share this to family so we know when to use thankful vs grateful.

  23. I really liked your examples of the differences between thankful and grateful! I am definitely both thankful and grateful this holiday season, even in these crazy times, it gives us a new perspective.

  24. I often notice that ‘thankyous’ are automatic and when you put your heart into that ‘thank you’ people response different. there is a difference between being thankful from the heart and jots being polite.
    as for gratitude it’s grand. it changed my life for the better. it is important to be grateful because it comes back to you

  25. I love how in this post you actually went in-depth into what it means to be thankful. The definition here is something that I have never really given much thought to but it’s very true. I am going to be intentional about my thankfulness this season. Thank you for opening my eyes to a new perspective.

  26. Blair Villanueva says: Reply

    I always feel grateful even if it’s not a holiday season. Being grateful makes my day even better and happier.

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