8 Gratitude exercises to bring to the Thanksgiving table

It’s sometimes easy to forget that Thanksgiving isn’t just about pumpkin pie. Make your family gathering meaningful with one of these fun and easy gratitude exercises and games.

1. Use quotes for inspiration. When all eyes are on you and there’s the distracting smell of roasted turkey in the air, it can be tough to find the words to express your gratitude. Print out some quotes about gratitude and thanksgiving for your guests to read aloud. Reading the quotes may inspire your family to share their own expressions of thanks.

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2. Make a thankful centerpiece. A great Thanksgiving ritual if your family has young children, this activity combines crafting and writing to create a beautiful centerpiece. Cut circles or leaf shapes out of construction paper in fall colors like red, orange and yellow, and thread the shapes with yarn. Harvest a small branch from the backyard, and set it in a vase or decorative bucket on the table. Have your guests write down what they are grateful for this year, and hang these reflections on the branches for all to read during the meal.

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3. Create a Thanksgiving scrapbook. Have your guests write down the things they are thankful for on a pretty note card. Collect the cards, and save them in a photo album you can pull out to peruse and add to each year.

4. Play the candy corn game. If your family loves sweets but is reluctant to speak up, this game is the perfect way to encourage them to express their gratitude. Pass around a bag of candy corn, and ask guests to take as many pieces as they like but to not eat them. Once everyone has served themselves, go around the table. For each piece of candy you took, name one thing you are thankful for.

5. Make a photo collage. We all know pictures are priceless, and photos can bring lots of laughter to your holiday gathering. Ask guests to bring their favorite family photo from the past year to share at dinner. Combine them in frames to form a centerpiece, and ask guests to speak a bit on why this particular snapshot brings them joy.

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6. Express yourself without words. Not everyone has a way with words, so provide your friends and family the option of expressing their gratitude this Thanksgiving through art. Swap out your tablecloth for some butcher’s paper, and provide each place setting with a few crayons or colored pencils so guests can draw a picture of what they are thankful for. Not only will this help keep little ones occupied during the meal, but it will allow for easy cleanup after everyone’s done stuffing themselves with stuffing.

7. Play guess who said it. Form two teams. Ask everyone to write down what they are grateful for, and place them anonymously into a team basket or bowl. The teams exchange bowls and take turns trying to guess who wrote out which card. The group with the lowest number of correct guesses is on after-dinner cleanup duty!

8. Express your gratitude for one another. Since most would say they are very grateful for family, use that as inspiration for your Thanksgiving ritual. Place everyone’s name in a hat, and draw lots. Jot down the reasons you are happy to have that person in your life, and give the cards to one another as a meaningful Thanksgiving keepsake. To get a head start, create a personalized #ThankList and tag the people on social you are thankful for.

This post was brought to you by American Greetings.