Changing Up the Thanksgiving Dinner Conversation

The reason for the Thanksgiving season is gratitude, so it’s fairly easy to focus on what we’re grateful for during the month of November and around the dinner table on Thanksgiving. But the most fulfilling Thanksgiving tradition I’ve been part of was actually a different dinner conversation.

I remember sitting around a beautiful table with gold chargers and décor, with family, friends, and a delicious meal before us. We took turns sharing either a meaningful service opportunity that we had given in the past year, and brainstormed ideas for ways to spread happiness over the next month during the Christmas season. Taking the idea of giving thanks, and then passing that thanks forward is a meaningful way for me to show gratitude. It was fun to exchange ideas around the dinner table and hear how others’ service opportunities had affected them, and those they served.

Here are a few ideas (for all ages) to get you thinking, if you’re looking to change up your Thanksgiving dinner conversation this year:

  1. Picking up litter at a local park or beach

  2. Draw a picture or make a card for an elderly person

  3. Write letters to soldiers or others who are far from home.

  4. Make a treat and take it to a local school for the teachers during break time

  5. Teach someone one of your talents

  6. Invite someone over to share a meal together

  7. Offer to watch your friend’s kids

  8. Let somebody go ahead of you in line

  9. Give someone you know who is struggling, an envelope with cash in it

  10. Leave a few extra quarters at the Laundromat

  11. Wheel in your neighbor’s garbage can for them

  12. Smile kindly at someone who makes a mistake while driving

  13. Give someone a surprise

  14. Go visit some sick children in the hospital

  15. Call a friend you haven’t talked with for a while

  16. Read a book to a child

  17. Give someone a ride

  18. Write a thank you letter to a meaningful teacher or coach

  19. Shop for and donate goods to refugees in your city

  20. Leave an uplifting note on a friend or stranger’s car


    Stefanie Hathaway
    Monthly Newsletter Contributor since 2016
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