Many of us grew up sharing Thanksgiving with family around the dining room table. Our parents or grandparents usually hosted the meal, and we ate with family and became re-acquainted with family we may not have seen since the Thanksgiving before. Times have changed and family members may have moved due to work obligations, school choices and raising families of their own.
Going back to visit family may no longer be possible during the Thanksgiving holiday. However, taking a break and sharing a meal of gratitude with your family and friends is an important part of building family unity. Gratitude is taken for granted, but not being grateful leads to a life of bitterness and selfish misery. Gratitude helps promote forgiveness, understanding and compassion. One of the biggest issues facing parents is teaching their children how to be grateful in a world promoting entitlement, self-centeredness and “rights.” Being able to say, “Thank you,” offers you the opportunity to appreciate another person or blessing that you received. Gratitude adds awareness.
This year, no matter who you share your Thanksgiving meal with or where you share your Thanksgiving, what’s most important is your gratitude. I have five suggestions for symbolic ways you can stuff the turkey with gratitude.
- If you are hosting Thanksgiving have place cards with each person’s name and what that person does that makes you feel grateful.
- If you dine at a restaurant, leave your waiter/waitress a handwritten note of thanks, and a thankful tip.
- If you have children, encourage them to write a blessing that can be read at the Thanksgiving table.
- In the morning or the night before write a note of thanks to your partner.
- With your children, spouse or friends go outside and collect works of nature to put on the Thanksgiving table. Being grateful for Mother Nature’s gifts instills within each of us thankfulness for our earth. Things such as leaves, acorns, and feathers add an element of rustic beauty to any feast.
Thanksgiving is not about the turkey, the stuffing or the green bean casserole. It’s about your ability to be aware of all the blessings in your life. Yes, life is tough, and yes, sometimes bad things happen, but…yes…you are blessed more than you know.