10 More Things to Be Grateful for This Thanksgiving (2024)

10 More Things to Be Grateful for This Thanksgiving (1)

A painting of the first Thanksgiving by Jennie Augusta Brownscombe made in 1870.

In both 2021 and 2022, I wrote a Thanksgiving article listing 10 things for which Americans should be grateful. Now I have 10 more things, 21 through 30, for which we can give thanks this holiday.

Scientific studies have found that focusing on gratitude doesn’t just make you more pleasant to be around. It’s good for you, physically and psychologically. It even makes you sleep better.

One thing for which I’m personally grateful is that I can get away with writing pieces like this. I’m actually paid money to do it, which I then exchange for broccoli seeds. (See No. 3 below.) Did you know there are approximately 137,600 individual seeds in one pound of broccoli seeds? Please write to my editors and tell them how much you value this kind of information, so I can continue producing these pieces and buying broccoli seeds indefinitely.

References to the First Thanksgiving

The “first Thanksgiving” took place in 1621, when 90 Wampanoag and 52 English settlers came together in present-day Massachusetts to celebrate a successful harvest by the colonists — one made possible by the Wampanoag sharing their knowledge. The English always fondly remembered this assistance, although not so fondly that they didn’t kill 40 percent of the Wampanoag later in the 17th century and then sell many surviving Wampanoag into slavery.

For this reason, positive references to the first Thanksgiving are bleakly funny. For instance, Yale academics Jeffrey Sonnenfeld and Steven Tian are big supporters of the Trump administration’s Abraham Accords. In the midst of the current Israeli assault on Gaza, they just organized an attempt in New Haven, Connecticut, to revive the agreements between Israel and various Arab states. As they describe it, “Yale hosted an Arab-Israeli diplomatic dialogue on campus that harkens to the first Thanksgiving, a dialogue that promoted harmony across cultural divides.”

You can imagine how excited people across the Mideast will be to learn they are playing the role of Native Americans circa 1620 and what this portends for their bright future ahead. With leaders as wise and self-aware as Sonnenfeld and Tian, we are surely on the right course.

Inverse Vaccines

Vaccines prime your immune system to recognize bacteria or viruses as foreign bodies to be destroyed. But humanity also suffers from autoimmune disorders, such as Type 1 diabetes, multiple sclerosis, and rheumatoid arthritis, in which our immune system mistakenly believes some of our own cells are foreign, and so attacks them.

Right now, there are promising “inverse vaccines” that remove the immune system’s conviction that the relevant tissue is its enemy. This kind of human creativity and intelligence makes me want to run up to the scientists responsible and embrace them. Then I will awkwardly stand nearby so I end up in pictures taken of them when they win a bunch of prizes.

The Health Smoothie

I have a family member whose blood pressure was much too high, even though they’re on medication. So I started making them a daily smoothie with every food I could find that reportedly can reduce hypertension: broccoli sprouts, moringa powder, flax seeds, and blueberries.

The results were dramatic. Their systolic blood pressure number dropped quickly by about 40 points. Their blood pressure is now so low that their doctor may take them off some of their prescription drugs. Moreover, some of these ingredients also appear to have cancer-suppressive properties. Don’t take it from me; take it from researchers at Johns Hopkins.

I would like to become the world’s most peculiar dictator and force everyone to drink this every day. But there’s a problem with my potential reign of terror: Broccoli sprouts are hard to find in stores and expensive, about $5 per daily dose. The good news is that you can buy broccoli seeds and easily grow your own at home for one-tenth the cost. Please contact me if you’d like to have an intense, detailed conversation on this subject.


Flaco is a Eurasian eagle-owl who escaped from Manhattan’s Central Park Zoo last February after a lifetime of captivity. Zoo personnel initially tried to recapture him but failed, and he’s been living in the 843-acre park ever since (with a short detour to the Lower East Side). I like to imagine him belting out “Free Bird” as he swoops around his new domain.

Flaco the Eurasian Eagle-Owl peering through the leaves of his favorite oak tree last week in Central Park. ? ?? ? ? pic.twitter.com/PK5esE83ik

— Manhattan Bird Alert (@BirdCentralPark) November 20, 2023

Flaco appears extremely wise, but owl brains only weigh two grams and have limited processing power. However, he is strikingly beautiful. If you are a tourist visiting New York who sees Flaco, remember that while he is one of the city’s many celebrities, he is also just a Eurasian eagle-owl like any other Eurasian eagle-owl. Please try to be cool and don’t hassle him.

Oral Histories

Regular history concentrates on nations and kings and therefore misses 99.9 percent of most people’s experience of being alive. On the other hand, oral histories capture what normal humans think of as they live through shattering catastrophes. It’s generally less about shifting geopolitical alliances and more about starving and/or having severe diarrhea.

For instance, if you want to understand World War II, skip the History Channel and try the Nobel Prize-winning work of Svetlana Alexievich. Her oral histories “The Unwomanly Face of War” and “Last Witnesses” will convince you that war is an extremely bad idea that should be avoided at almost any cost.

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I have one older sister, plus a longtime friend whom we recently forcibly incorporated into our family without asking. We decided that, while he may not be genetically related to us, we are all spiritually and intellectually related and he should be our brother. Whether this adoption turns out to be a positive thing for him remains to be seen, but it’s too late for him to do anything about it now.

My sister supported this despite the fact she felt one brother, me, was already too many brothers. During family gatherings, she prefers to quietly read a book or teach herself Hungarian via her phone’s Duolingo app. But I have A LOT ON MY MIND that I need to interrupt whatever she’s doing to tell her. I suspect our family’s future will involve her and our new brother forming an alliance against me.

The point here is that siblings are wonderful because they’re stuck with you, so you can irritate them to the end of all of your lives and there’s nothing they can do about it.

10 More Things to Be Grateful for This Thanksgiving (5)

It is urgent that you look at this picture of broccoli sprouts and then call Jon to talk about them.


John Ralston Saul is a Canadian writer whose books are passed around in obscure corners of the world like samizdat. I first heard of his odd masterpiece “Voltaire’s Bastards: The Dictatorship of Reason in the West” from my fellow temp word processor at a giant, evil law firm in midtown Manhattan as we both worked the midnight to 8 a.m. shift finalizing a weapons contract between the federal government and Lockheed Martin.

In it, Saul argues, “It seems the word is a fragile blossom. But one step back from this immediacy is enough to reveal the power of language. Nothing frightens those in power so much as criticism. … Even the fool has been banished from the castles of modern power.”

That’s why it’s important to learn how to use words. The process of doing that will also make you sensitive to how the powerful hate words and try to empty them of meaning to control you.


My personal favorite form of words is jokes. Everyone’s head is full of white noise about getting their 6-year-old to a doctor’s appointment, how much their elbow itches, and something intensely embarrassing they did in eighth grade. You may hear perhaps one out of every four words other people say to you.

Jokes are unique because if you can make someone laugh, you know you’ve pierced the mental haze in which we’re all enveloped and successfully communicated with them. Real laughter is involuntary and can only happen if other people understand what you’re saying and have had their worldview suddenly shifted.


In an 1820 letter, Thomas Jefferson said this about slavery: “We have the wolf by the ear, and we can neither hold him, nor safely let him go. Justice is in one scale, and self-preservation in the other.” This is a universal attitude among “enlightened” people committing great evil: What we’re doing may be bad, but we can’t stop doing it, because our victims will then immediately seek revenge.

One of the most incredible things about human beings is that this is wrong. People who’ve been hurt have an almost infinite capacity for forgiveness — if those who hurt them stop doing it, genuinely consider what they’ve done, and repent. Go ahead and let the wolf go. You’ll be fine, as long as you recognize that this wasn’t a wolf after all, but just people like yourself.

Humans must have this capacity in order to survive, because every single one of us, if you go back far enough, is the descendant of both perpetrators and victims of genocide.

Having No Alternative

It’s true that we’re a hard species to get behind. The unique creativity and intelligence that we use to come up with inverse vaccines also makes it possible for us to create 20-foot long tungsten rods to drop on other people from space.

The good news, sort of, is that we don’t have any alternative but to endorse humanity. There’s only one option on this menu. Moreover, we’re at our most inventive when our backs are to the wall, which is where they are right now. This Thanksgiving, let’s be grateful for that, and get started.

10 More Things to Be Grateful for This Thanksgiving (2024)


What am I grateful for on Thanksgiving? ›

9 Reasons to Be Thankful This Thanksgiving
  • A Roof Over Your Head and the Floor Beneath Your Feet. Your home is so much more than just a shelter. ...
  • Friends and Family Bring Life Meaning. ...
  • Your Furry Friends. ...
  • Good Health and the Air You Breathe. ...
  • Holiday Food and Traditions. ...
  • Time to Relax. ...
  • The Beautiful Things in Life.

What are you grateful for answers? ›

I am grateful for my home and family, they are my backbone. I am grateful for my friends, they are keeping me alive. Last and most importantly, I am grateful for myself, for I am taking small steps everyday to becoming a better person. Thank you!

What am I grateful for today? ›

List Of Things To Be Thankful For
  • Your family.
  • Close friends.
  • Good health.
  • Your home.
  • Your job.
  • Healthy food.
  • Your education.
  • Your pets.
Oct 23, 2023

What are you thankful or grateful for? ›

Remember that being grateful is about appreciating what one has, as opposed to what one wants. Being thankful or thanking someone often implies you are acknowledging your thanks for something that someone has given you. If it still seems confusing, consider these suggestions.

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