By Barrett Coker Krise, senior philanthropic advisor
There was a recent op-ed article in the New York Times that discussed the importance of choosing to be grateful. The simple act of deciding and following through with a conscious feeling of gratitude not only has a positive impact on yourself, but also positively impacts those around you. It has the power to increase our happiness—apparently it also can increase our waistline, but what else is new?
When so much of the noise and clutter surrounding us is counter to the very thing it purports to commemorate (it is called Thanksgiving after all) it’s easy to forget why we celebrate. Perhaps this Thanksgiving we do need to make the choice to be grateful. We are grateful and we are thankful. Thankful to have family and friends. Thankful to have food on our table. Thankful to be able to do something for someone who needs it.
I’m particularly thankful to work at the Community Foundation. This time of year, we’re inundated with ads for Black Friday and entreaties to buy, buy, buy. But I get so many phone calls asking me for volunteer ideas for families over the holidays—try the Atlanta Community Food Bank, Open Hand or Crossroads Community Ministries. I get emails asking for suggestions for how to have a conversation with kids about being thankful and giving back—consider doing a family values exercise to share what matters to you and see where your values align. I have conversations about who to make a gift to that will have a real impact on an organization—take a look at Extra Wish, these real, tangible wishes include everything from backpacks and yoga mats to MARTA cards and electric can openers.
This year, I choose to be grateful. For family and friends, for a challenging and rewarding career, for dedicated and smart colleagues, for generous and thoughtful clients, for a vibrant and exciting community and for all of you who are part of it. What will you choose?