Grateful -vs- Thankful (2023)

I wrote this little ditty nearly nine years ago.  Where do the years go?!  It turns out that over the years this little grateful – vs – thankful tale attracts a great deal of traffic to our site, about this time, every year.  Which tells me I’m not alone in my thought process of trying to distinguish between the two.

Given the state of world, and at a time when it can be difficult to remember what it means to be grateful for what we have, I thought it might be the perfect time to write a new introduction and republish it.

The Big Picture

It feels as if we have been home for years. We’ve almost forgotten what it feels like to pack a bag and board a flight.  In the big picture though, it doesn’t matter a damn.  We are thankful, or is it grateful, that we’ve been able to ride out the pandemic.  Our extended family has been impacted by Covid-19, but everyone we love is doing well and for that we are exceedingly grateful.  Or, are we thankful?  Which is it?  You decide.

Grateful -vs- Thankful (2014)

Is there a difference between grateful and thankful?  Thankful is a synonym for grateful – and vice versa – but somehow they don’t seem completely in sync.  Is it just me?

Forty-eight days ago we began the next chapter in our lives and I think anytime anyone goes through a major life shift, it lends itself to reflection.  To be at this point in our lives I am exceedingly grateful.  Or am I thankful?  I went looking for inspiration on the subject.

“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.”
John F. Kennedy

“Let us rise up and be thankful, for if we didn’t learn a lot today, at least we learned a little, and if we didn’t learn a little, at least we didn’t get sick, and if we got sick, at least we didn’t die; so, let us all be thankful.”

Is expressing gratitude the same as giving thanks?  I’m not so certain.  And then I came across this:

“Thankfulness is the beginning of gratitude. Gratitude is the completion of thankfulness. Thankfulness may consist merely of words. Gratitude is shown in acts.“
 Henri Frederic Ami

It’s an interesting conundrum, don’t you think?


Thanksgiving is upon us in just a few short days and as we celebrate with family and friends – and enjoy a bountiful feast – I’m keeping my little conundrum right next to me.  To give thanks and to be grateful for this life, well… it definitely needs to be expressed, one way or the other.

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So let me express my thanks to each and every one of you who continue to visit our site, read this blog and support our journey.  For this, I am grateful.  Or am I thankful?  Which is it?  You decide.

“Gratitude is a currency that we can mint for ourselves, and spend without fear of bankruptcy.”

Fred De Witt Van Amburgh

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