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Today’s Hint: 3 Simple Ways to Say “Thanks” at the Thanksgiving Table

Thanksgiving is all about expressing gratitude, so it’s nice to add some kind of meaningful activity to the holiday mealtime. That’s why for today’s hint, I’ve gathered three simple and creative ideas for incorporating a bit of thanksgiving into your holiday this year, traditions that can help you teach your children about the importance of thank yous.

1.)  A conversation starter.  One of my favorite Thanksgiving traditions is what my family does while we’re eating the big meal. We go around the table and each person says what they’re thankful for that year. The answers generally range from funny to touching, and they remain the most memorable part of past meals for me (besides the delicious food and great company, of course). Plus, hearing what fellow guests have to say makes for great conversation. And a related idea that incorporates a bit more of a gratitude lesson for the kids is to have each person say “thank you” to a person at the table of their choosing, expressing why they’re thankful. Finally, as father-of-seven and blogger Robert “Daddy” Nickell shared with the Examiner.com on this very subject, you can do a fun alphabet-game variation of the round-the-table thank you approach where each guest has to say what they’re thankful for with a consecutive letter of the alphabet.

2.)  A thankful centerpiece or decoration. Another idea to incorporate saying thanks into mealtime is to have all the guests write what they’re thankful for on a piece of paper (here are some free ones to print out from the blog Tatertots & Jello). Then, each guest can hang his or her note on some small branches placed in the center of the table (an instant meaningful centerpiece, like the one Jen from Tatertots & Jello created) or even just in a bowl centerpiece. Or you can do a similar activity, but create a wall hanging instead, as the blog Somewhat Simple suggests. And just like with activity idea #1 above, the notes can be a great conversation starter as you can have each guest share what they’ve written as they hang up their note. In addition, as Heloise notes, a tree-like centerpiece can also serve as a Christmas tree of sorts for families that will be together over Thanksgiving but not Christmas.

3.)   A thanksgiving drive. Finally, I love this idea from Better Homes & Gardens: As giving back is another way to express gratitude, you could have each guest bring something to donate (from toys from the kids to favorite foods from the adults) that they hope someone less fortunate will enjoy. Then, at the meal, like with the ideas above, each guest would share the story behind what they’re donating as they put the item into a box or bag for donation.

What are your traditions for incorporating thank yous into the Thanksgiving meal?

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