The Thanksgiving Table

Recently some of my friends shared memories of family Thanksgivings from long ago. Weeks were spent preparing the formal table in the special dining room for all the guests: the silver was polished, the finest crystal buffed until it sparkled and the freshly washed china gleamed. Once everything looked perfect a sheet was draped over the arrangement to keep everything clean until the day arrived.

Until a few years ago, one of my friends still put on this traditional sit-down meal. She even had place cards for each guest. But time marches on bringing many changes with it.

Gratitude Practice
This year’s Thanksgiving celebration will find one dear old soul absent from our table, the beloved patriarch of my husband’s family. He and his wisdom will be missed. Other difficulties have added chaos to our lives. In the midst of it all I have found the tougher my day, the more important it is for me to begin with gratitude.

Each morning before I read my Bible, I list 3 or 4 things I’m grateful for that pertain specifically to my day’s activities. After reading my Bible passage, I often thank God for at least one more thing. This practice helps me travel more lightly through my day.

Whether you have fine china or paper plates, you can make it a time to express gratitude. You might even start a wonderful new tradition.

Thanksgiving Celebration Tips:
• Offer your guests a selection of cards and pens. Instruct them to write something they’re grateful for and be prepared to share it later. Or exchange cards and have someone else read the cards.
• Find an inexpensive white or light-colored tablecloth. Have non-bleeding markers (or laundry markers) available for guests to write a brief note or make a drawing in response to the prompt: “I’m thankful for . . .” Then sign and date. If you do this yearly, you’ll create a keepsake. At future dinners, everyone can read some of the older notes or enjoy the childhood drawings.
• Tired of doing all the work yourself? Then don’t. Divide up the chores. Write the jobs on slips of paper and drop them in a basket. Examples: clear the table, put away leftovers, take out the trash, etc. After dinner have your guests draw their job from the basket.

Thanksgiving Humor:
My dear friend, RJ Thesman gave me the last idea above. “At thanksgiving several years ago, one of my male guests had never washed dishes. He believed it was woman’s work. When the basket of chores was passed, he drew wash the dishes. He wasn’t happy about it, but he did it,” she said.

How do you celebrate Thanksgiving? How do you practice gratitude? Who are you grateful for? How have they enriched your life?

Tell me in the comments below. I look forward to hearing from you.

Until next time . . . Travel Light,
© 2017 SuZan Klassen

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