A Thanksgiving Tradition

Posted on November 21, 2014 by Don MacPherson.

If you’re reading this, you are successful. Very few unsuccessful people spend their time reading blogs about recognition, employee engagement, and performance. If you are like me, you might be a little surprised by your success. When I was younger, I knew I would have a good life, but I had no idea it would be as good, as interesting, as fulfilling as it is.

When I first began my career, I thought I would never be judged a success unless I was self-made. After a few years struggling, I realized that to become successful I would need the help of others. Since then, there have been many, many supporters.

You might be in a similar situation. There are a lot of people who have helped you along and guided you toward your success. It is how the world works unless you are incredibly talented and gifted.

This month Americans will be celebrating the Thanksgiving holiday. It is my favorite day of the year. For most Americans, there will be football games on TV, conversations with family, and plenty of food.

I celebrate a bit differently. Thanksgiving is also my favorite day of the year to work. During the last 10 years, I’ve been spending Thanksgiving the same way. I wake before the sun and head directly for the gym. After the workout, I shower and leave for the office.

By 8:00 am, I start making phone calls. I call every single person I can think of who has helped me get to where I am today. I call all Modern Survey’s employees. I call the clients I have worked with during the last year. Modern Survey’s supporters and advocates get calls. My closest friends hear from me.

Then, I call my family. If history repeats itself, when I get Mom on the phone to thank her for being a wonderful, caring parent and for the sacrifices my parents made to make my childhood a safe and healthy time, she will cry just as much as I do.

It’s a humbling day. It’s an emotional day. It’s a day I look forward to. My success is predicated on the help and support of other people. I want to honor those people through the “Thanksgiving Tradition” I’ve established.

If you’re one of the very important people to get a call from me this Thanksgiving, thank you in advance. I hope you enjoy the message I leave you or the brief conversation we have. I’m grateful for everything you’ve done for me.


Do you have a special way of expressing gratitude for the important people in your life? If so, add a comment and tell us how. We would love to hear from you.


To read another popular blog post, go to “Under the Influence of Jenna.”

16 responses to “A Thanksgiving Tradition”

  1. mark boardman says:

    Well done Don! Have a wonderful Thanksgiving, which from your post sounds like a given.


  2. Tony Martin says:

    I’m going to use your idea this year. I love it.

  3. Denise Johnson says:

    This is wonderful. I will definitely be letting people know how thankful I am for them and the role they have played in my life and my success.

    Thanks for sharing.

  4. Kathy Jordan says:

    Happy Thanksgiving to you! Thanksgiving is also my favorite holiday because it is a time to express gratitude and recognize how profoundly connected we all are. I’m disturbed by the intrusion of Christmas shopping into this holiday, and lately have wished we could adopt the Canadian Thanksgiving holiday date October as a way of keeping it separate from the crazy Christmas consumerism.

    Thanks for reminding me/us of your Thangsgiving tradition. I hope after you’ve made your calls you head home to gather with your family for yummy food, laughter, and love.

    Best, Kathy

  5. Linda Mangone says:

    Hi Don,

    When I first heard your way of celebrating, I was blown away. What a wonderful way to stay connected and to stay grateful. Thank you for sharing this idea in your blog.

    I’m also grateful for a wonderful and wide network, and am happy that you are a part of it. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

    Best, Linda

  6. Anne Marie Rogers says:

    Great idea Donny! Thats why you are so successful– you appreciate everyone along the way. I appreciate you!
    Thanks for giving me good insight all the time ! Happy Thanksgiving!

  7. Mike says:

    Thanks Don, I appreciate you sharing your tradition. Even though I may not be on your call list it is always humbling to think of you as a friend. Thanks also for teaching me some important lessons. You are one of those people who move forward and upward – and inspire others to do the same.

  8. Joe Nemastil says:

    Happy Thanksgiving Don – you’re an inspiration to many. Be well.

  9. Greg Niemi says:


    Living a life of gratitude is a good life to live. Thank you for sharing your tradition once again.

    Happy Thanksgiving.


  10. Cinda Yager says:

    Happy Thanksgiving, Don! Thanks for sharing your tradition in this post. It’s reminded me that I need to thank all the people who’ve helped me this year publish my first novel, “Perceval’s Secret,” as an e-book. I also thank every time I see them the doctors who keep me on my feet and working. It’s also been a pleasure to connect with you again, and to see how well you are living your life.

    All the best,

  11. Carol Semrad says:

    Thanks Don, great idea and congrats on your success!

    Happy Thanksgiving too:)


  12. Joe Tate says:


    I love your idea so much that I stole it last year. I mixed it up a little by doing my calls on January 1st, instead of Thanksgiving. I spent about 4 1/2 hours and it was energy for the soul. I’m honored to call you friend.
    Have a great ‘working’ Thanksgiving Day!

    All the best!


  13. Jim Geckler says:

    As a recipient of these calls for the past 10 years or so, I can tell you the make my Thanksgiving. I’m thankful for our friendship.



  14. Jeff Strydio says:

    Thank you for showing us true gratitude and appreciation! You’re posts are always entertaining and engaging.

    I too am finding that being grateful and appreciate what one already has is such an important part of achieving happiness and personal growth. I’ll try to model your behavior today and thank my loved ones and continue to ensure my co-workers know I couldn’t do it without them.

    Enjoy the day!


  15. Lynn DeLeo-Totaro says:


    Thought about you this week and this annual tradition you have established. Glad you are continuing. Best to you, the staff of Modern Survey and your loved ones.

    Wishing you many more years of success.


    Lynn and John Totaro

  16. Laurie J. Murphy says:


    Regardless of the method you use to express your true spirit of appreciation to others for how they have helped to make your life “as good, as interesting, as fulfilling as it is”, you are giving all of us a rare and wonderful gift that helps us to know how we make a difference, and consequently enhances feelings of connection, purpose, and gratitude. In doing so for others, I hope you have experienced the same benefits of that gift for yourself.

    I am grateful for our connection.

    All the best to you, always…


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