Thanksgiving means more than just turkey, stuffing, and football. What really makes Thanksgiving special is family and friends gathering together to share each other’s company. You can honor your loved ones this Thanksgiving by making it more meaningful with just a few simple touches. 
Start a Grateful List
In early November, create a spot for an ongoing Grateful List. If you have a large chalkboard or whiteboard, start the list on that board. If not, you can purchase a roll of craft paper or butcher paper. Start the list on the roll and unfurl it as your list grows longer. Ask family and friends to contribute to the list throughout the month of November and on Thanksgiving day. During the meal, guests can share their favorite items on the list and what they are most grateful for that day. 
Display Pictures from Past Thanksgivings
Do you or another member of your family enjoy photographing special occasions? If so, gather photos taken from past Thanksgivings. Display them in picture frames around the dining room. Another idea for displaying the pictures is to create a large collage of pictures on the wall. After printing pictures, use painters tape, or other adhesive that won’t damage the wall, to attach them to the dining room wall. Guests will enjoy looking at past Thanksgivings and remembering those times. If kids will be attending your Thanksgiving, they will particularly love seeing how much they have grown and how much fashions and hairstyles have changed over the years!  Remember to take many pictures of your Thanksgiving gathering this year to add to future Thanksgiving photo displays.
Play a Game Together 
If your Thanksgiving gathering typically includes a few board games after dinner, try a new type of game. This year, incorporate a game so that friends and family can get to know each other a little better. Often, Thanksgiving is a time where you might see friends or family members you only see a few times a year. Learn more about each of your guests with a game of “Getting to Know You”.  Before guests arrive, write several questions on index cards. The questions can be serious, like “What is your greatest wish?”, or silly, like “What is your favorite television show?” Pass the cards around the table during the meal and let guests answer aloud. 
Do Something for Others
Thanksgiving is a great time to do a little gesture for others. If you have kids or kids will be attending your Thanksgiving meal, get them involved in this activity; they will be eager to help! One idea is to have children draw pictures for firemen or policemen with a message of gratitude for their service. After dinner, gather the kids to deliver the pictures, along with an extra pumpkin pie, to the firehouse or police station to the men and women who are working that day. Another idea is to have a Thanksgiving Food Drive. Ask guests to bring canned goods or other non-perishable food items to your meal. After dinner, kids can sort and deliver the items to a local food bank. Make a Recipe Book
Does your family have traditional Thanksgiving foods that everyone requests year after year? If so, in the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving, ask family members for those special recipes. Compile the recipes into a Family Recipe Book to distribute to guests. This book can be especially meaningful to out of town guests. They can make those special recipes when they are far away and still be able to enjoy a little taste of home!

Posted on 2015-11-10 by Deanna Talwalkar