Friday, November 17, 2017

How to Create Meaningful Moments for Everyone on Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving has always been a big deal in our house.

It's the one holiday that's always hosted at the cozy, little home my parents have lived in for over fifty years. And each year my Mom starts thinking about her Thanksgiving table weeks ahead. The color theme, the flowers, the table settings and yes, games too because Mom is a "game person." 

 As the only daughter, I'm considered my Mom's personal stylist/floral designer and we always plan her pretty table details together. It's been like this since I was in high school.

But one thing has never changed.

Over the years my Mom has always insisted on including a  fun activity that gets everyone interacting. No stuffing your face and instant snoring on her day--at least not until everyone joins in for "one of Mimi's games".

Over the years we've had trivia games (using holiday theme words)  modified game shows or a version of Charades. There are always teams--(usually girls vs. guys) and my Mom has little prizes. And because we're a loud, competitive bunch--it ends up being one hilarious expose of our quirky personalities. 

Yep, it's true we've got our share of bizarre political views, the 'crazy uncle,' and the tipsy relative...but somehow everything gets put aside when you're laughing together.
Have you noticed this too?

In other words my Mom's focus on 'doing something together' helps us bond.

 The Gratitude Question

This year we're trying something new and it's an idea I'm love with because its a chance to be a little real with each other.

Enclosed inside each glassine envelope is a single question about gratitude. But here's what's different; it's not a question asking for your general thoughts about gratitude... no, it's a question that is focused on the people sitting around the table. Right there in front of you.

If you opened one of these envelopes you might find:

  •  A question that asks you to share a favorite (or funny) memory of someone across from you.
  •  A question that asks you to share something you appreciate about the person on your right. 
  • A question that asks you to name a quality you appreciate in the person on your left
Here's the point of these little questions.

Intellectually we know Thanksgiving is a holiday about gratitude, in fact it's become quite a trendy word in our culture today. We see everywhere. But the challenge for us is, how do we transform these lofty concepts into something that feels meaningful and personal  to us?

The answer is....well, we get personal.

And we do this with the very people in front of us at this moment.

Isn't this why we spend so many hours decorating our tables, pouring over recipes, waiting in grocery lines, and cooking our favorite dishes?

It's about the people.

Even if it's only a few genuine words, a spontaneous story or a unexpected compliment, these are the kind of moments that we remember long after the dishes are put away.

This is how we experience the true meaning of Thanksgiving.

When I get to my Mom's house we'll set the table and decide where we'll put these little envelopes. It's easy to tuck a sprig of fresh rosemary or pressed leaf into the string at the last minute.

In the meantime I decided to set a quick table to show you how pretty these envelopes look. Right now we're thinking we'll open them once everyone is finished eating but still sitting at the table, maybe before dessert and coffee.

And later we'll be trying our first "white elephant" game too.

 Well, I sure hope I gave you something to think about today.

Whatever you've got planned for your holiday--I know it will be wonderful because you will be part of it.

Happy Thanksgiving to all my friends who are reading this post right now. Please know, I am incredibly grateful for every visitor to my little blog. ..I consider you one of my special blessings.


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