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Here's What I'm Really Thankful for (Hint: It's not the Latest Gadget)

Stocks in this article: AAPL GOOG AMZN FB

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- This isn't a story about the latest iGadget or where tech stocks will trade next year. It's more than that.

This has been a year of growth for me, both professionally and personally. It's been a remarkable year, and I wanted to share it with TheStreet's readers, and give thanks for what's been most important to me this year, as I look ahead to 2013.

This is my last column for 2012, as I take the next few days off to relax and reflect. I want to leave you with something that's important to me and let you into my world a little more than simply reporting on the iPhone or iPad.

In the spirit of Christmas, here's a list of 12 things I'm thankful for. I hope you take the time to read it and, at the end, make your own list about what you're thankful for this holiday season.

1. My family. There isn't a day that goes by that they don't help me in life, and for that I love them more than words could ever say. They've been there for me through thick and thin, and I couldn't begin to repay them for everything they've done. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

2. My dad. He suffered a series of strokes after Christmas 2007. On New Year's Eve, his neurologist asked my sister and I (21 and 24 at the time) to make a decision on the course of action the doctor would take. Essentially, he put our father's life in our hands, despite us not understanding modern medicine. One option was to stop him from having another stroke, but it risked killing him. The other option was to let him have another stroke, which would probably be a major one, and then rehabilitate.

He now lives in a nursing home, where I visit him a few times a month. This is the first time I've ever written about this. I've talked about it with friends. It's not the easiest thing in the world to talk about, but it's part of who I am and I felt the need to get it out there.

He's my best friend, and though I miss the days where we could go to a ball game, I'm incredibly thankful he's still around. I love you, Dad.

3. My job. I'm incredibly lucky to work at TheStreet, where for the first time in a very, very long time, I enjoy coming to work. I have the best beat in the world, covering companies like Apple (AAPL), Google (GOOG) and Facebook (FB), but it's so much more than that. I work with incredibly smart and talented people, and I'm proud of the job we've done this year and look forward to 2013.

I'd like to say special thanks to my editor, James Rogers, for making me a better journalist. Without his hard work, sometimes I don't think I'd be able to put two words together. Cheers, my friend.

4. New contacts. I have met so many incredible people this year who have enriched my life. There are far too many to name, but know that if we met this year and we've stayed in contact, I thank you for your friendship and the privilege of knowing you.

5. Trips. I've been to so many cool places in 2012, and 2013 (Viva Las Vegas!) is shaping up to be even better. I've been to San Francisco, Los Angeles, Indianapolis, and San Jose in for work, and have gotten to experience some of the best those cities have to offer. When some people travel for work, they look at it as a detriment, hurting their private life. I look at it as an experience, getting to see sights and sounds I wouldn't normally see.

6. Foresight. There are a lot of times where I don't trust my instincts for whatever reason (call it inexperience or maybe I'm just a knucklehead), but the times I do, I'm often proved right. I'm thankful I had the foresight to transition myself from being a buy-side analyst, and focusing on my writing. It's been an incredibly fulfilling experience, being able to put your thoughts out there for the whole world to see. I can't wait to see what comes next.

7. Hurricane Sandy. Yes, Sandy was destructive, but it did much more than cause billions in damages. It allowed me, and many others, to see the good sign of humanity we all long to see. In the wake of the aftermath, the powerful images, stories and first-hand accounts of people coming together for others was moving. I'll never forget seeing images of neighbors helping neighbors, people going to far away places to help clean up and more.

With every crisis, comes an opportunity. Sandy gave us the opportunity to see the good side of humanity.

8. Being an American. Sure, we have our problems like every other country in the world, but there's no place on Earth better than the U.S. People from other countries still yearn to come here for the affinities afforded them.

We've been standing strong for 236 years, and we're not done yet. Not by a long shot.

9. My health. There is nothing more important in life than having your health (see above). You could be the wealthiest person on the face of the planet, but if you're sick, then money isn't worth the paper it's printed on.

10. Good food. Growing up in an Italian household, you appreciate good food real fast. Nothing better than mom's macaroni and sauce on a Sunday afternoon.

11. My readers. Without you, dear reader, I don't exist. It's just words on a page (or a screen), but the dialogue we have back and forth over topics and the support you've given me this year has been incredible. I can't thank you enough for your support, your kind words (and some of your not-so-kind words!). I hope you enjoy what I offer you on a daily basis, and I look forward to giving you even more in 2013.

12. Tom Brady and Bill Belichick. I couldn't let a column about what I'm thankful for slip past without mentioning my love for the New England Patriots. Anyone who knows me, follows me on Twitter or reads my articles, knows how big a fan I am of Brady and Belichick. Go Pats. #PatriotsNation

Have a great holiday season, and I will see you all in 2013.

-- Written by Chris Ciaccia in New York

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