7 things I’m thankful for this holiday season

OPINION: When the world is burning around you, sometimes you have to appreciate the small things.

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Editor’s note: The following article is an op-ed, and the views expressed are the author’s own. Read more opinions on theGrio.

One of my least favorite things to do on Thanksgiving Day is to go around the table or room and tell everybody something that I’m thankful for. It’s not that I’m not thankful for things — on the contrary, I’m thankful for a lot — it’s just that I have a particularly large family and it can take quite some time. If you factor in the time spent for prayer, well, it might be a while from “let’s eat” to actually eating. In my attempts to save a little time, I’m going to share some things that I’m thankful for in advance of Thanksgiving dinner. Hopefully, my family reads this and lets me slide on the family sharing time so we can all get to those plates a little quicker; I doubt it will work. But what is Blackness without eternal optimism? Amirite?

So here are seven things that I’m thankful for this holiday season. 

1. I’m thankful that the German national team competing in the World Cup has a bunch of Black and brown players this time. 

It’s hard being a fan of the German national team. In the last World Cup it felt like rooting for the whitest team in the World Cup … and that tournament included teams from Iceland and Sweden. This go ’round, though, Germany has a slew of Black players, and it makes it easier for me to root for the side. And for the record, this is always hard for me; I grew up in Germany, but my family is from France. And I live in the good ole U.S. of A. One day, I’ll have to write an article about how I literally root for America in specific Olympic sports but not during the World Cup. I don’t have a good reason for this, by the way. Let’s move on.

2. I’m thankful that Hit-Boy sampled “The Five Heartbeats” for Nas’ song “Legit” on ‘King’s Disease III.” 

As soon as I heard this song start playing, I was absolutely enthralled with it and wanted to hear it on repeat. How it took this long for somebody to do it is beyond me, but like many things in life, I’m just happy it’s here now. I don’t even care that Nas is on the song; ANYBODY could have hopped on that beat, and I’d enjoy it. Thanks, brodie. 

3. I’m thankful that my kids aren’t sneakerheads yet.

Especially with Christmas coming up, I can’t imagine what it’s going to be like when they all want that new, but unavailable-for-retail hotness for Christmas and I’m dropping a stack JUST on one pair of shoes each. We’re not there yet; at this point, toys rule everything around them (T.R.E.A.T.?)

4. I’m thankful for Black creatives. 

At this point, there are so many Black creatives telling so many stories about their versions of the Black experience that I literally can watch, read or observe pure enjoyable and entertaining nonsense alongside very serious, highly artistic statement pieces. And I can do both within a few hours. I’m thankful that this is where we are and that with a little searching, any story is available to us all. 

5. I’m thankful for really good Wi-Fi. 

I have four children, all of whom would use copious amounts of data if we lived in a place with less than enthusiastic Wi-Fi. But we live in Washington, D.C., and my Wi-Fi is giving. My kids stay up-to-date on the latest TikTok trends, dance moves and educational experiences without ever missing a beat. Yay for good Wi-Fi. 

6. I’m thankful for “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.”

While I didn’t love this movie as much as the first one, I’m thankful we finally got that second installment and that it provided a public send-off for Chadwick Boseman, an actor whose loss I think the entire community felt. In fact, the only scenes in the film that really moved me emotionally were those making direct references to Chadwick. I’m just glad it exists. 

7. I’m thankful for my family. 

What? I had to have something serious in here (for the record, I’m genuinely thankful for everything else I’ve said here). I love my wife, kids, siblings, cousins, aunts, uncles, everybody. And I’m glad they’re mine. That’s what Thanksgiving is all about, appreciating what you have and who you are in hopes that you are able to share that light with everybody else you come in contact with. So yeah, I’m thankful for me and mines. Shouts out to you and yours.

Panama Jackson theGrio.com

Panama Jackson is a columnist at theGrio. He writes very Black things and drinks very brown liquors, and is pretty fly for a light guy. His biggest accomplishment to date coincides with his Blackest accomplishment to date in that he received a phone call from Oprah Winfrey after she read one of his pieces (biggest), but he didn’t answer the phone because the caller ID said “Unknown” (Blackest).

Make sure you check out the Dear Culture podcast every Thursday on theGrio’s Black Podcast Network, where I’ll be hosting some of the Blackest conversations known to humankind. You might not leave the convo with an afro, but you’ll definitely be looking for your Afro Sheen! Listen to Dear Culture on TheGrio’s app; download it here.