Photo © Jason Lugo

Thanksgiving. Say it again – slowly. THANKS GIVING. How many of us speak of Thanksgiving, prepare for Thanksgiving, and eat Thanksgiving dinner without giving a thought to what we are thankful for?
I have always enjoyed my family’s Thanksgiving tradition. Everyone finds his or her place card, and when all 30-plus family members are seated, we begin writing down everything we are thankful for on the paper provided. Then, one at a time, we read aloud what we’ve written. There is always a mixture of tears and laughter as we share our feelings of gratitude. The feeling in the room is special; even the children can feel it.

You can add more meaning to your Thanksgiving this year with this simple craft. Purchase some small, simple boxes from your local craft store (we chose mini Chinese take-out boxes). Any small box will do the trick. With a hot glue gun, embellish the boxes to match your table setting. We used disassembled candle rings which already had a combination of berries, leaves and beads, and attached a place card made from cardstock with pretty ribbon. Inside we coiled a strip of paper to resemble a supersized fortune for dinner guests to jot down their items of gratitude. We also filled the bottom of the box with dinner mints for later.

To encourage more thoughtful conversation and interaction among your guests, print various questions on small strips of paper (following the fortune cookie theme) so that each box has 4 or 5. Guests can pull them out before, during or after dinner to get to know each other better. You could include questions such as:

– Who do you admire and why?
– How would winning the lottery change your life?
– What are the 5 most important things invented in your lifetime?
– What would be your dream vacation?
– Complete this sentence: I’d like to become better at…
– Recall a prank you played on someone.
– Tell a funny story about each one of your siblings.
– If you were on a deserted island with no chance of rescue, what three items would you want to have, and why?

With a place for everyone, gratitude galore, and meaningful conversation, you’re sure to have a Thanksgiving tradition to be thankful for!

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Jennifer Garcia -

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