Thanksgiving Is a Time for Us to Focus on Gratitude

turkey head - thanksgiving

“Thanksgiving is one of my favorite days of the year because it reminds us to give thanks and to count our blessings. Suddenly, so many things become so little when we realize how blessed and lucky we are.”

– Joyce Giraud

Thanksgiving can get so busy that we forget the holiday is about appreciating what we have. Between the cooking, cleaning, parades and football, who has time to practice gratitude?

All of us do. Here are some quick ways to express our thankfulness.

Go around the table and ask each guest to say one thing they’re thankful for.

Or have them write it down. Add the slips of paper to a Thanksgiving tree, garland or paper chain (check out Pinterest for decorative ideas) or put them in a pretty box or bowl.

Alternatively, each guest can mention something they appreciate about each other guest at the table. Of course, this works best if the group is fairly small and everyone knows each other.

Giving everyone a day or two’s notice, ask each guest to write a brief note of gratitude and read it at the table.

On Thanksgiving Day, invite those who are with you to sign cards for friends and family who were not able to attend.

Now that most of us carry a camera (on our smart phones) most of the time, ask everyone to bring a photo of someone or something they’re grateful for – or if yours is an artistic group, to draw or paint an illustration of it.

Buy a plain white tablecloth and ask guests to write (using a permanent marker) something they’re grateful for. Use this tablecloth every year for your Thanksgiving meal.

If your family and friends are musical, consider a Thanksgiving sing-a-long.

Play a gratitude memory game. Each person at the table names something that they’re thankful for – and repeats what everyone else has said so far.

Or a guessing game. Have each guest write something specific they’re thankful for on a slip of paper. Fold the papers and put them into a bowl. Guests then take turns drawing slips and reading them aloud. Everybody guesses who wrote the one read. The person who guesses correctly reads the next one.

How does your family express gratitude on Thanksgiving?

I'd love for you to share your ideas and experiences.