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The Joyful Anthology

Thanksgiving Celebration With Meaning

Last week I posted an article on the wonderful benefits of practicing Gratitude and why we should always practice – not only on Thanksgiving.
As the holiday approaches, I thought about consciously shaping the day in such a way that the focus of attention is on giving thanks.

It might start with a group of friends or family taking a walk to visit some part of nature and expressing thanks for it. Or, you might consider structuring some time (an hour before or after dinner, perhaps?) where guests are by themselves for 10 minutes and can focus on the things they appreciate, and to find some way to offer thanks that they could then share at the meal. If that’s not likely to occur, create this space for yourself earlier in the day.

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It might continue with each family member, guest, or friend being asked to bring something (a book, a poem, a video, a movie, a song) that they believe will give you an experience for which you are grateful. Or it might facilitate your encounter with a memory of which you are already grateful. Dedicate some time in the afternoon to each person sharing with each other–and that can add another dimension of thanks.

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Then, you might consider asking each person to share something that they particularly appreciate in another person who is at the gathering. Or discuss a special teacher, friend, or care-giver who touched you during the past year. Even if you are only a guest at someone else’s celebration, you can initiate or at least suggest this to the people there. To prepare, you might even make a list of the things you are truly grateful for in your life before you go to someone else’s home for Thanksgiving.

I usually prepare the Thanksgiving meal. It’s my biggest pleasure to bring my family together on such a meaningful day.Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday for what it represents and I love the time of year, the color of the leaves, cooking with the delicious ingredients that are in season and decorating my home with the theme of Thanksgiving.

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Here are some ideas that are fun and easy to do to make your home more festive and meaningful on Thanksgiving:

Thankful Centerpiece :
Make decorating the table a group effort. For the centerpiece, fill a serving platter with unshelled nuts, arrange colorful fruit on top, and insert artificial berry sprigs or it could be a flower arangement. Then ask guests to add to the arrangement by writing what they are thankful for on paper leaves and tucking them into the centerpiece._MG_9135

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Another fun idea is a Card Game 
to facilitate the thankful spirit, create gratitude cards using scrapbooking paper and supplies. Cut out cards from scrapbooking papers using decorative-edge scissors and embellish with stamps, stickers, etc. Give the cards to guests before dinner and ask them to write what they are thankful for. As the meal begins to wind down, ask people to share their thoughts.

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Drink Tags
 :Print out our free leaf-shape pattern onto fall-color papers and cut out and punch a hole at the base of each leaf. Ask guests to pick a leaf and write a word or short phrase describing something they’re thankful for, such as “family” or “good health.” Attach leaves to the wineglass stems using lengths of gold cord or raffia.

Simple Notes: Express your gratitude for individual guests with a quick note of thanks. Write a guest’s name on the front of a thank-you card (look for affordable boxed cards at crafts stores in the stationery aisle). Write a heartfelt note to the individual inside the card and use it as a place card for the table.
Conversation Piece
 Spark a discussion about gratitude with small cards. Print inspirational quotes onto cardstock and cut into rectangles. Place the cards in sleeve-like envelopes (available with card-making supplies at crafts stores). Add a card to each place setting and have each guest read aloud at the Thanksgiving feast.

Thoughts Journal
 Craft a paper journal to record a Thanksgiving celebration. Pass the journal among guests to capture their sentiments and memories. Start your own anthology and make a journal each year. When Thanksgiving comes around again, bring out the old journals and reminisce.

 

Top Photos in this story by Nihura Monteil LA
Bottom photos by June Kim NY

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