One of the things people like most about Thanksgiving is its non-commercial nature. It is a holiday about friends, family, food and giving thanks. But often times, people forget to express gratitude- especially if they have to host a large dinner party. If you are hosting Thanksgiving lunch or dinner this year, here are eight ways you can express gratitude this Thanksgiving and inspire your guests to do the same.
1– Make a thankful tree
Even if you are not crafty, this is not particularly hard to do. All you need is the following:
- Dried branches
- Construction paper or card stock
- A bucket (galvanized steel ones usually look the best)
- Some rocks
- Hole punch
- A box of pens
Download and print a leaf stencil, and use this to make leaves out of the construction paper. We recommend making 2-3 for each guest in attendance.
Put the rocks in the bucket, then stick the branches into this base. Punch a hole in each leaf, then thread a ribbon through each one and tie.
When you party starts, give each guest 2-3 leaves and a pen, and ask them to write what they are thankful for on the leaf, then tie it onto the tree. You can use the tree as a table centerpiece, or place it on a coffee table or sideboard so everyone can see it and enjoy.
2– Write gratitude notes
This is a Thanksgiving take on old fashioned thank you notes. Buy a box of cards and write a note to everyone that is close to you (or maybe even someone you are not that close to, if you really want to get into the spirit!) explaining why you are thankful they are in your life. You can mail them, or if you are hosting Thanksgiving dinner, you can use them as seating place cards.
You can get really creative and make your own cards, which people can treasure for years to come. If you are not particularly crafty, you can open a free Canva account, modify one of their templates and print them on specialty paper.
3– Invite someone new to dinner
Loneliness has reached epidemic proportions in the US. A recent study conducted by USA Today found that three out of four people suffer from loneliness. People who feel lonely or isolated are particularly vulnerable during the holidays. So why not invite someone you know, that might be alone or doesn’t seem to have much family, for Thanksgiving dinner? It will make their day, or even month!
Are you looking for Thanksgiving decorating ideas? CLICK here to see our favorite ideas.
4– Ask people to bring items for dinner and take charge of donating them to charity
Helping those that are less fortunate is an excellent way to express gratitude for all the amazing things you have in your life. You can ask your guests to bring a toy to donate to a charity like Toys for Tots, or clothing or food items to donate to homeless people or a local charity that is important to you.
5– Take an after dinner walk to collect trash in a local park or beach that needs it
Even if your guests aren’t particularly environmentally aware, you can suggest a trash collecting walk to make the neighborhood a better, more beautiful place in which to live. Taking care of your community is a way to express gratitude to everyone involved. And if you do care about the environment, you know that cleaning up the earth is the best way to express gratitude to our planet. Just make sure you provide your guests with plastic gloves, and be mindful that they might be wearing their holiday best and we worried about getting dirty.
6– Teach someone how to cook a turkey, or prepare dinner
Today’s fast lifestyle means that many people are growing up not knowing how to cook, host a dinner party, etc. If you are a good cook, invite someone you know and let them help you make dinner. Or if that’s too much, you can invite them over a couple days before and teach them how to make a pie or even set the table. Spreading your gifts and talents with others is an excellent way to express gratitude for those gifts. Bonus: you might really enjoy the company and help!
7– Make gratitude fortune cookies and give a little box to your guests when they leave
Fortune cookies are not that hard to make, especially with so many good instructional videos on the internet. Instead of fortunes, you can fill them with gratitude quotes. That way, every time your guests eat one they will be thankful for the blessings in their lives. It’s the gift that keeps giving- both to your guests and others.
8– Schedule a Thanksgiving dinner later in the year
It doesn’t have to be as lavish as your regular November Thanksgiving meal, but getting together for a meal at another time of the year to give thanks will really put the focus on expressing gratitude. Plus you all get to see each other more often!