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4 New Ways to Give Thanks

The Thanksgiving table tradition of sharing what we’re thankful for gets a few fresh takes.

Thanksgiving table
Credit: Getty Images
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How many times have you gathered with family and friends around the table at Thanksgiving? How many times have you shared a prayer of thanks—maybe longer than your normal table grace? How many times have you taken turns mentioning something for which you’re thankful?

Good times, right? But maybe this year, you’re ready for something different. Easy, sure. Quick, yes (can’t let the turkey get cold). But maybe something new, creative, perhaps a little more meaningful.

Whether you’re gathering as a small family group during these pandemic times or exchanging thanksgivings over Zoom or FaceTime, here are a few fresh ways to give thanks at your Thanksgiving feast:

1)  Show and Tell
As the meal is being prepared, invite everyone to bring one item to the table (or to the computer screen)—to hold, show, place on the table or on a side table—for which they’re grateful. You might give people the option of briefly explaining their choice or let every item be presented in silence.

2)  Alphabet Game
Instead of “name one thing you’re thankful for,” play the alphabet game. The first person gives thanks for someone or something beginning with the letter A. The next person does the same, using the letter B. And so on. Sure, X and Z can be a challenge, so maybe take answers for the last three letters from anyone.    

3)  Telephone Game
This one is more geared to sitting at the table, not in front of the computer screen. Ask someone to whisper something he or she is grateful for in the ear of the nearest person. That person then repeats that and adds his or her own, as does each person in succession. When the list has made it back to the original person, see how close or far it is from a full and accurate list.

4)  Fill in the Blank
Invite each person to fill in the blank of one of these sentences:

“God, I don’t think I’ve ever thanked You for ____, but I thank You now.”
“God, there’s something in this room I’m thankful for, and it’s ____.”
“God, thank You for one of my favorite things, which is ____.”

Feel free, of course, to adapt these ideas to fit your own situation or to use one or more as a springboard to even more creative ways to give thanks this season.

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