For many of us in America, Thanksgiving is rich in traditions.
We enjoy must-have recipes as we gather for table time that ends way too quickly and maybe it’s all become so familiar that we’re missing out on making our celebrations and meaningful as they might be.
What if a few small adjustments in your Thanksgiving Day gathering could help you enjoy your day and experience a deeper sense of gratitude for the blessings.
That’s why I did a little internet search to see if I could find ways to make our day more memorable and meaningful.
7 Ways to Make Thanksgiving More Meaningful
1. Start the meal with a Scripture verse and prayer.
Thank You for our food and ask You to help us remember those who are hungry.
Thank You for the gift of health and ask You to heal those who are ill.
Thank You for family and friends and ask You to be with those who are lonely.
Thank You for the blessing of freedom and ask You to deliver those who are held captive.
Thank you for Jesus and for the forgiveness we have through Him. Please help us to forgive as we have been forgiven.
Help us to love as we have been loved.
Help us to serve others as we follow in the footsteps of our Savior.
Help us use every blessing You give in ways that will bless those around us. Amen.
Shout with joy to the Lord, all the earth!
Worship the Lord with gladness.
Come before Him, singing with joy.
Acknowledge that the Lord is God!
He made us, and we are His.
We are His people, the sheep of His pasture.
Enter His gates with thanksgiving;
go into His courts with praise.
Give thanks to Him and praise His name.
For the Lord is good.
His unfailing love continues forever,
and His faithfulness continues to each generation. Psalm 100
2. Invite your family and friends to leave their differences at the door.
For this one day, wouldn’t it be lovely if we all left the past in the past … if everyone remembered that no matter how it looks we all struggle with something?
I would love to make this a day we all focus on the blessings we enjoy. One way to help is to have everyone go around the table and tell “one thing I appreciate about” each person there.
e.g. I appreciate your sense of humor. I like the ways you are helpful. I love your hugs. I like the way you sing. Your laugh makes me smile.
3. Make a gratitude jar or basket.
Set a basket and scraps of paper out with pens, pencils, and stickers and invite your family and friends to write one or two things for which they are especially thankful this year.
Give thanks to the Lord and proclaim His greatness. Let the whole world know what He has done. 1 Chronicles 16:8
4. Invite someone who doesn’t have a place to go.
You might be surprised to know how many people spend Thanksgiving on their own. Many families who are involved in church work are unable to travel and be away from their church responsibilities, so they celebrate on their own while their loved ones are gathered elsewhere. You can bless them like crazy by making them part of your family for the day.
And a bonus, I’ve had a friend tell me she invites a non-family member to holiday gatherings because it always puts her family on their best behavior!
5. Set up an area with a jigsaw puzzle or board games.
Erma Bombeck once said,“Thanksgiving dinners take eighteen hours to prepare. They are consumed in twelve minutes. Half-times take twelve minutes. This is not a coincidence.”
It doesn’t have to be a rule for the day, but it may be fun to at least offer an area where conversation continues without technology or electronic entertainment.
6. Keep children busy making Gratitude Pumpkins.
I loved this idea from Ashley at Faithful Little Hands. It’s an easy activity that even the little ones can do with just a bit of help.
7. Celebrate with The Legend of Five Kernels
The legend goes as follows:
The first winter the Pilgrims spent in their new home was very cold and bitter. Food was in short supply. Some days they only had enough for each person to have five kernels of corn for the day. When spring came they planted seeds and they grew and grew. The harvest was good the following year and they celebrated Thanksgiving with their Indian friends.
From then on when they celebrated Thanksgiving, the Pilgrims laid out five kernels of corn on each plate to remind themselves of their blessings.
♥ The 1st kernel reminds us that God loves us.
♥ The 2nd kernel reminds us that God provides for our needs.
♥ The 3rd kernel reminds us of the family and friends God has given who love us.
♥ The 4th kernel reminds us that God hears and answers our prayers.
♥ The 5th kernel reminds us of the blessed freedom we enjoy.
This helps everyone remember the history of the day and why it’s about so much more than an abundance of food.
Finally – 20 Conversation Starters for Your Thanksgiving Table
- What challenging experience changed your life for the better?
- What is something you use every day that makes you thankful?
- Who is the funniest person at the table and why?
- What act of kindness made the biggest difference in your life?
- If you had a million dollars, what is the first thing you would do?
- What is your favorite food?
- What is the hardest thing about being a kid?
- What is the hardest thing about being an adult?
- What event from the past year makes you thankful?
- What was your favorite book or movie from this year?
- What is something you are thankful you have learned?
- What famous person would want to be your friend?
- If you could spend Thanksgiving with anyone who would you choose?
- What is the most important thing you’ve learned so far?
- What is your favorite family tradition?
- What three words would you use to describe yourself?
- What was the happiest day of your life so far?
- If you could have any animal for a pet, which would you choose?
- My favorite thing about Thanksgiving is..?
- I’m most thankful for..?
For a printable version of these questions click – here.
May your Thanksgiving celebration be blessed and may you remember that thanksgiving is so much more than a family gathering on the third Thursday in November!
And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful. Colossians 3:15
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