Creating and sharing family rituals enriches Thanksgiving

Holidays are times spent with loved ones and friends we don’t often see; therefore, making them special is important. One of the ways we make Thanksgiving special is by building connection through shared rituals. Participating in meaningful activities helps us feel unified and highlights the family and friendships we share.

As you prepare your holiday feast, don’t forget to set up rituals for everyone to participate in, feel included, and cherish the moments together for years to come. I have five favorite holiday rituals that will help you and your family celebrate this year and all of the years ahead.

  1. Ask each guest to write a short grace to be read at the table. As your company arrives, give them each a note card and ask them to write a short but meaningful grace they can read at the table.
  2. Encourage everyone to list 3 things they’re grateful for to be shared at the table before dessert. This ritual involves everyone and reminds us of our blessings. Even during trying times, there remains so much thanks to be given. Expressing gratitude for the good things that overshadowed the tough moments reminds us of the importance of our lives.
  3. Light a candle at the table for each family member or friend unable to join. Sometimes you feel guilty or sad when you think of attending Thanksgiving dinner without your significant other or close friends. Remembering them with a lit candle on the table is a nice way to honor them and let their light shine on in your heart.
  4. Allow the children to decorate the table with fall foliage. Kids feel proud when they contribute something of meaning to the holiday. Let them roam the neighborhood early to collect dry fall leaves and ask them to scatter their collection on the Thanksgiving table as a symbol of appreciation for the changing season and nature’s abundance. Don’t forget to thank your children for helping to decorate the feast table.
  5. Build a traditional game night ritual. No one is excluded from game night. Chutes and Ladders for the little ones, Yahtzee, Scrabble or Sorry for the in-between ages, and anything goes for the adults. The goal is to play, laugh, converse, and spend quality time together. Phones off, no texts, no emails - just each other.

We celebrate Thanksgiving once a year, but the meaningful moments we create together live on. Appreciate the opportunity to be included, and as you look around your table, be grateful for the abundance of family and good friends.