Someone showing they are thankful.

What are Your Plans This Thanksgiving?

Thanksgiving Dinner Ideas

Thanksgiving has always been the holiday when everyone in my family gets together, watches football all day and night, takes a nap, tells jokes, catches up and stuffs themselves silly. These are the usual things, but here are some different Thanksgiving dinner ideas.

This year, though, it feels different, or maybe it is just me. There are so many unsettling things happening in the world.

Making the Holidays Extra Special With Thanksgiving Dinner Ideas

I have come up with a few things I am going to do to that will hopefully make this Thanksgiving special and you should do the same if you feel you could be more thankful this holiday season. Here are some ideas to switch up your holiday:

  • Write a note to friends. I haven’t seen or talked to in a while. I want to tell them why they are so important to me, and what they have done through the years to make my life better.
  • Treat bags.For people coming to dinner, I am making a treat bag for them to leave with. In addition to the treat, there will be a note in thanking them for being a part of my life.
  • Use conversation starters.On each person’s plate will be what I hope is a conversation starter. Some of the topics I am thinking of are: “Who’s the one person, living or dead, you want to have a conversation with and why?” and, “What’s been the best Thanksgiving you’ve ever had and why?”
  • Writing time.I am going to give each person a piece of paper and a pen. Sometime during the evening, I want them to write their Thanksgiving thoughts and feelings, what they are thankful for, and what has changed for them this year. After Thanksgiving, I am going take their writings, together with a picture of the person from Thanksgiving evening, then I will duplicate all of the notes and pictures. I will then create a bound journal for each person with this year’s date on the front.
  • Volunteer.Either the day before Thanksgiving or Thanksgiving Day, or both, I am going to volunteer at a soup kitchen. If you are interested in volunteering, check out this website that matches you with a nonprofit, Volunteer Match.
  • Including Others

    I have a couple of neighbors who are generally alone on Thanksgiving, so I will insist they come to Thanksgiving dinner. They have declined in the past because they felt it would be an intrusion. This year I am going to insist they come over and be part of my family because no one should be alone on a holiday.

    Decorating for Thanksgiving

    Of course, what would Thanksgiving be without decorations for the table and around the house? I get the art projects they made at school and daycare and use that for a table centerpiece, interspersed with fall flowers.

    Lastly, I ask each person to bring something to donate to a family in need. After Thanksgiving we can bring the donations in together, as a family.

    Thanksgiving Favorites

    Here are the simpler things I do for Thanksgiving:

    • Taking a moment to be still. I need to stop to enjoy the sights and sounds around me, to remember how wondrous and magical the world truly is.
    • Putting on my headphones and heading out for a walk. There is nothing like some physical exercise to make me energized.

    Being Grateful

    Since it is Thanksgiving after all, it is important to give thanks and be grateful for all the things we have and the people we have in our lives. Try to take a moment this Thanksgiving, either private or as a family, and give thanks for all the things in your life you are grateful for.

    Here are some of the things I’m grateful for this year:

    • Living in a safe and clean country
    • All of the men and women who serve not only in the military, but also as police and firefighters, who go into harm’s way every day
    • A healthy year
    • Everything I have gone through in my life because it is those things that have made me the person I am today

    In Conclusion

    As Henry David Thoreau said, “I am grateful for what I am and have. My thanksgiving is perpetual… O how I laugh when I think of my vague indefinite riches. No run on my bank can drain it, for my wealth is not possession but enjoyment.”

    Take some time to switch up your holiday and remember to be thankful. Also, cherish the family time every chance you get. It can be hard to get everyone together, so these moments matter the most. If you are uncomfortable saying what you are thankful for out loud, take some alone time and write these in a journal.

    I hope everyone has a great Thanksgiving with lots of tasty food!