featured image by kate lesueur

The Thanksgiving meal can be an opportunity to truly delve deeper into the idea of cultivating gratitude in our lives. You can use every aspect of the meal — from what you do before it to what you actually serve — as a way to give thanks for life. Read on for six fresh ideas on how to make this Thanksgiving the most meaningful yet.

Begin the meal with a poetry reading.

Serve your guests a dose of food for thought with a reading from this pretty book of poems – we love John Keats “Ode to Autumn” and Mary Oliver’s “Wild Geese”.

Give your guests the gift the gratitude.

Set each place setting with a gratitude journal and pen that your guests can take home with them after the meal.

image by twigg studios

Use the meal as a meditation on our relationship to the earth and animals.

Why not use the Thanksgiving meal as a time to slow down and find appreciation for something locally grown? Challenge yourself to create an entire meal around food sourced by local farmers in your area, or even help harvest the food yourself.

image by outdoor voices

Incorporate a ceremony of physical activity into the day.

A big morning of hiking, jogging, or playing outside makes any meal taste better. Challenge the family to complete a 3-mile hike or jog together before lunch, or start a new tradition where the winning touch football team gets to serve themselves first.

featured image by kate lesueur

Play a game of gratitude.

Print out or write down a few of these gratitude conversation starters and ask each guest to draw one from a hat and answer it out loud. You’ll be bound to share some funny memories and maybe even learn something new about each other.

photo by the fresh exchange

Invite a neighbor in need.

Most of us think of Thanksgiving as a family holiday, but it truly began as a community one. When you’re planning this year’s holiday meal, think about others you could include outside of the family. Is there someone going through a divorce, illness, or other hardship who would love to have a seat at your table?

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