It’s no secret that Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. Everyone who knows me knows how excited I get this time of year. The annual ritual of sharing a special meal with loved ones from near and far is one I treasure. I love having a houseful of guests and cooking the recipes I’ve perfected over the years as part of my annual tradition.

I love the laughter, the warmth, the focus on gratitude, the gathering of friends new and old, and the idea that the Thanksgiving table is a place that welcomes everyone regardless of beliefs and background.

This year, of course, has thrown us all a ginormous curveball.

For me, Thanksgiving 2020 will be a solo affair — quite a contrast to last year. Last Thanksgiving was extra special for me because I had just learned the news that my cancer was in remission. I was in the mood to celebrate big-time, and I saw Thanksgiving 2019 as the kickoff of my Year of Gratitude. I couldn’t have imagined then that we were headed for a pandemic Thanksgiving in 2020.

You might assume that I’m bummed out this year. The truth is I’m feeling more grateful than ever. The pandemic has been difficult and disappointing for sure. It also has given us the gift of adversity.

I know first-hand that our capacity for gratitude and joy only grows when we’ve experienced adversity. The whole world is in this together and I believe it will change us for the better. Imagine the deep and abiding joyousness we will all feel once we are on the other side of COVID-19.

This Thanksgiving, as I make my signature endive Brussels sprouts salad for one (a recipe I can’t recommend enough), I’ll be giving thanks for all the usual wonderful things in my life: family, friendships, the vo community, my cat, the power and joy that comes from branding, and on and on. But I’ll also be giving thanks for a whole slew of new things that would never have happened if 2020 hadn’t dealt us this very challenging hand.

Those things include: my awesome team who has been amazingly innovative and responsive through all these changes, my virtual Friday Brand Mingle that allows me to geek out on branding every week over a cup of coffee with vo talent from around the globe (join us!), my clients who tell me how fun branding is and how awesome their business is doing not just in spite of what’s going on in the world but because of it, the way people are recommitting to living their values as they see the world through a new lens. On top of all that, there’s the fact that my nearest and dearest will be getting together for pie and/or cocktails over Zoom this Thanksgiving. I think we can all be thankful for the technology that has allowed us to stay connected while we self-isolate.

I could go on …

The point is: There’s always something to be grateful for, and when the going gets tough, gratitude is even more important. Funnily enough, this is exactly how I feel about branding: The best time to brand is now, and when the going gets tough, having a brand is even more important. Because like gratitude, having a brand is all about being your true self, knowing what’s most important to you, and living your values.

And like the work of gratitude, the work of branding brings our focus to what’s right, true and beautiful inside of us. It is a place of possibility.

Every year around this time, I start doing intensive planning for 2021. I see so many possibilities. Next year is going to rock. We’re going to get a vaccine and emerge stronger and more connected to what matters. On Thanksgiving 2021, we’ll be able to look back and be grateful for the gift of resilience.

In the meantime, I wish you the happiest of Thanksgivings. Here’s to creating new traditions.

Celia Siegel

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