Gratitude List for the New Year–Don’t Forget the Small Stuff

Last Friday I blogged about how important gratitude is in the lives of children.  Research shows children who are raised to be grateful for the world around them are, among other things, happier, most socially connected, and better students. 

Gratitude isn’t just important for children, of course.  Adults who kept a gratitude journal for just three weeks reported a variety of improvements in their lives including lowered blood pressure, an increased sense of well-being, and a surge in compassion and forgiveness.  There’s more about this in a wonderful article, Why Gratitude is Good, from Robert A. Emmons, by way of the Greater Good Science Center, and the article page is chock full of additional resources for you to enjoy, as well.

I’ve been considering my own gratitude list.  It’s easy to stop with the obvious, and I almost did.  Friends, family, pets.  Jobs at a time when so many people need them.  A roof over our heads, even if it leaks occasionally.   For me personally, the many readers who’ve taken time to tell me they appreciate my books.

I decided to dig a little deeper, and I hope you’ll join me.  So here’s the start of my list, the smaller things I usually don’t note and would like to now.  Some are seasonal, but I hope to do this all year long.

1:  People who take the time and effort to put lights and decorations on their houses.

2:  Salvation Army bell ringers, who stand outside in the cold to remind us of the real message of the season.

3:  The pleasure of giving and receiving handmade gifts.

4:  Hearing my children’s happy memories of past Christmases.

5:  The loyalty of my small Ohio writer’s group, who today are visiting one of our members who suffers from early-onset Alzheimer’s and may not know them anymore.  And my wonderful memories of her, which are still very much intact.

6:  Christmas letters that help me stay connected and catch me up on news.

7:  My next door neighbor who can always be counted on to get my paper or mail in a pinch.

8:  Audiobooks

9:  Cutting up fabric and sewing it back together, otherwise known as quilting.

10: The fun of writing this blog, which never seems to get old.

Why not add your own “small” things by commenting here?  What haven’t you realized you should be grateful for?  Please feel free to share anything, not just holiday related gratitude.  Whatever you share may trigger new reasons to be grateful for the rest of us.  We would appreciate that.  Meantime, a Happy and Grateful New Year to all.


  1. Dorothy Schreyer on December 30, 2011 at 12:17 pm

    I am thankful for writers like you who share your gifts.

    • Emilie Richards on December 30, 2011 at 1:13 pm

      It’s an honor to be on someone’s gratitude list.

  2. Nadine Tatum on December 30, 2011 at 3:20 pm

    For a number of years, I have said this prayer as I begin my day: “For all the blessings of this life–seen and unseen–I give thanks”. Each day contains its own gifts if we take the time to notice them. Easier said than done, of course. But the blessings are there, even though we sometimes see them only in hindsight.

    I am also grateful to writers like you who both inspire and entertain me. Books have always been a constant in my life, and writers have been some of my best teachers!

    Anxiously awaiting the next addition to the Shenandoah Album series….

    • Emilie Richards on December 31, 2011 at 10:54 am

      Thank you for sharing all the things you’re grateful for. They’re reminders to the rest of us.

  3. Beverly Silvestre on December 30, 2011 at 5:45 pm

    I am grateful for my customers who have become such wonderful friends over all the years I have served them.
    I makes my work a joy!

  4. Wanda on December 30, 2011 at 7:57 pm

    I am thankful for my son who is serving in the Army Nation Guard and that he was able to come home and spend Christmas with us. I am also thankful for the wonderful group of supportive ladies on Pat Sloan;s QuiltMashUp, and for my wonderful husband.
    Thank you for bringing up this topic. For several years I kept a daily gratitude journal and I do not know why I stopped. I think I need to start it up again.

  5. Marna on January 1, 2012 at 10:55 am

    Your #9, although I don’t do it as often as I’d like.
    Health (not a small thing).
    A hot cup of tea on a rainy day.

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