This difficult year, we asked Chicagoans: What are you most thankful for this Thanksgiving?

Health, naturally. Family. The ability to somehow keep laughing. Being able to work from home. Elastic waistbands. Bourbon. Zoom and the Internet.

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Moving clockwise from the top left: Daniel James, Amy Nieves and her family, Lauren Elizabeth, Cindy Duval’s son and his wife, Mary Jane Tala, Gloria Warshaw and her rescue kitten, Mike Danahey, Christina Brearley Nagrant.

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During what’s been an extraordinarily tough year for many, we asked Chicagoans: What are you most thankful for this Thanksgiving? Some answers have been condensed and lightly edited for clarity.

“I watched my goals fall apart after landing my dream job in February, only to be laid off in May. I worked to find another job and am in a great position now and have accomplished my main goal this year. I’m thankful for that, my boyfriend (who has been my rock), my family, my friends and all of our health. 2020 has been a roller-coaster year of ups and downs, but I’m so grateful to have such amazing people in my life.” — Lauren Elizabeth

“In hard times and good, I am thankful for my kids and grandkids. Without them, I’m nothing.” — Carol Wortel

“My family are all well, and I personally just had a breast biopsy come back as benign. I have been part of a vaccine study that is successful, and I believe I have already received that successful vaccine. I can’t ask for more right now.” — Mary Jane Tala

“I’m alive and well, and so is my family.” — Monica Hresil

“One of my foster kittens had to go in the hospital on Monday and was not expected to live. She was in ICU and stayed strong, and I got to pick her up and bring her home yesterday.” — Gloria Warshaw

“That my son and his wife recovered after a motorcycle accident.” — Cindy Duval

“God gave me a new job Nov. 1 last year, and it’s the perfect job in COVID times. I am deeply grateful my family is healthy. I am thrilled we have a new president-elect and an entire new administration.” — Sandra Kay Hansen

“Laughter: that people I know and care about can still make each other laugh during these hard times.” — Mike Danahey

“Although this has not been a good year, I’m thankful for my family, friends and my life. God has kept me healthy, strong and positive.” — Michael Johnson

“That my husband and I didn’t get COVID. My whole family is COVID-free — aunt, cousins and everyone I know.” — Bonnie Paulsen Ballik

“Grateful for health, for social media — where could we be without an outlet for all this frustration?” — Monica Acevedo

“I am thankful for my family and none of them having cancer or COVID! At 75, I am also thankful for God giving me another day!” — Frank McKnight

“It’s hard to be thankful this year. I am 34 and am a widow now, as my husband passed to cancer in August. Our life was stolen. I am lost.” — Amy Blomstedt

“Elastic-waist pants: too much nibbling during pandemic.” — Deborah Fuller Tobias

“That everyone in my family is safe and healthy and able to work from home.” — Barbara Miller-Voyce

“Bourbon.” — Allen James

“More time with family, friends who work hard to stay connected and the comforts of home.” — Christina Brearley Nagrant

“The ability to stay employed in a work-from-home role. Can’t imagine how bad things would be without it.” — Daniel James

“Good health and technology. Without the Internet and Zoom, this whole pandemic could be so much worse. It’s bad enough, but at least the kids are getting some kind of an education. All of our educators are superheroes!” — Amy Nieves

“That me and my family are still alive.” — Salvador Amaya

“Our health and security.” — Judy Dziedzic Mascolino

“Stacey Abrams.” — Ryan Schmidt

“My parents and I are all still healthy.” — Kristina Michel

“My small family and good health at 72 years old.” — John Green

“Thankful for my family. Thankful for all the healthcare workers. Thankful for all the teachers. Thankful for the HOPE for a better future for ALL. We’ll make it through.” — Benjamin Lemelman

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