By Chris Malek

As of this blog post, there is less than 2 weeks until Christmas.  I mention this not only as a “public service message”, but also find it fitting for a little reflection upon what really is important and what to be truly Thankful for.  Please excuse any perceived sappiness from the following list as every intention is, in fact, as heartfelt and sincere as possible…

DSC_0116 1.  I am Thankful for the continued support from my wife and children.  I consider myself extremely fortunate to be able to share each day with my crew.  My wife has tolerated me for over 16 years, and I thank my lucky stars that she hasn’t wised up just yet.  My 3 kids don’t really have a choice but to put up with me, but I am Thankful that they are tolerant of their 40 year old father (who often acts 12 and then 60…usually within minutes of each other) and his goofy antics.  

2.  I am Thankful to have ALL my extended and immediate family within 30 minutes distance of my house.  Much like everyone else, we lead incredibly busy lives.  It is not possible to be able to connect with everyone as often as I would like (or we used to), but just to know that we are only minutes apart is often just as comforting.

3.  I am Thankful that everyone in my family is in relatively good health.  My father has been battling one of the most difficult forms of cancer to manage, but true to what I would expect of him, he is not only holding his own but thriving against what would’ve broken a lesser person.  My mother is a 25 year cancer survivor as well.  (I’d like to think that it’s a family trait to not give up in overwhelming situations, but it also might be that we are just stubborn!)

4.  I am Thankful to be able to truthfully say that I enjoy my job.  I enjoy the interactions with my staff and customers.  Working in customer service can be extremely challenging, and everyday brings something new to the table.  Without my staff and the challenge of “getting it right” on a daily basis, frankly I would have a job like everyone else.  I have always told my staff, that the moment I no longer enjoy my job is the moment I begin to look for a new one.  I am proud to say that after 15+ years, the challenge has not diminished.

5.  I am Thankful for the continued support of my friends.  This includes not only my friends in Illinois, but to my relatively new friends all across the country.  (Thank you to my other blog peers and other members of the Disney community)

6.  I am Thankful to have the courage to meet the new challenges that lay before me and my family. Adversity can appear quickly and come from unexpected sources.  To have the courage to meet and address each challenge is undoubtedly inherited from my parents.  To that, I am Thankful.

7.  Speaking of challenges and courage…I am Thankful (or will be once a few are under my belt) to have found a couple of like-minded Disney fanatics (shout-out to Peter Pontecorvo and Laura Thiesfeld) and to be able to convince each other to step out of our comfort zones are begin working on a new Disney-based podcast.  The first episodes should be out shortly.  (More details to come!!)

8.  Lastly but not least, I am Thankful for Tim and Bob in allowing me a platform to communicate with all the great Looper listeners.  I first started listening to Tim and Bob on episode 6 and have loyally listened to every episode since.  Tim and Bob spend an extraordinary amount of time making the show sound professional…but the listener interactions are what makes the show great!!

 I’ve shared my list.  Now, what are you most Thankful for?  Sincerely, please send me your thoughts at Chris Malek on Facebook or @disneychicago on Twitter.            

 Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas!! 

Chris Malek