1. Start the day with an indulgent, relaxing breakfast.
While some people are firmly in the “no breakfast” camp to save room for the big meal later, we love the idea of starting the day in such a festive, delicious way! Pancakes, waffles, eggs, even pie — it’s all good.
“There is one day that is ours. Thanksgiving Day is the one day that is purely American.” — O. Henry
2. Take time for yourself before time with family.
As wonderful as Thanksgiving can be, we all know it can be exhausting and overwhelming. That’s why it’s such a good idea to deliberately take a little time for yourself during the day to make sure you enjoy the holiday on your terms.
“When I started counting my blessings, my whole life turned around.” — Willie Nelson
3. Remember loved ones who have passed.
Holidays can be bittersweet when beloved family members or friends are missing from the gathering. This “circle of love” is a lovely way to honor their memory.
4. Write your thanks on a butcher paper tablecloth.
We love the practice during the Thanksgiving meal of naming things you’re thankful for, and this is a unique way to do it — especially since you can tear off and save particularly meaningful memories.
“When asked if my cup is half-full or half-empty my only response is that I am thankful I have a cup.” — Sam Lefkowitz
5. Let everyone toast!
Another way to make gratitude gushing even more festive is to let everyone make a toast. Raise your glass to the year, to your family, to your friends!
“Reflect upon your present blessings, of which every man has plenty; not on your past misfortunes, of which all men have some.” — Charles Dickens
6. Have the kids serve dessert.
We know how much toddlers love to help, but bigger kids can get in on the action, too! Put them in charge of serving dessert and coffee after the meal.
“In everyone’s life, at some time, our inner fire goes out. It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being. We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit.” — Albert Schweitzer
7. Have Thanksgiving dinner for dinner.
Most people eat Thanksgiving in the early afternoon (here’s why), but that is not a hard-and-fast rule. Why not make Thanksgiving dinner just that — a dinner? As this reader says, it slows the day down and makes the morning and afternoon much more enjoyable.
“We have been the recipients of the choicest bounties of Heaven; we have been preserved these many years in peace and prosperity; we have grown in numbers, wealth and power as no other nation has ever grown.” — Abraham Lincoln
8. Take a long walk together after dinner.
No one is ready for dessert right after dinner anyway, so why not take that time to go on a long walk with your loved ones? Enjoy the (hopefully) cool, crispy autumn weather and get the blood flowing again after all that rich food.
“Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.” — Oprah Winfrey
9. If it’s just two of you, really treat yourself.
It can be hard to justify making a huge Thanksgiving meal when it’s just two of you, but that doesn’t mean it has to be any less special, or even any less of a treat. In fact, it should be more so. Embrace the opportunity.
“Appreciation can change a day, even change a life. Your willingness to put it into words is all that is necessary.” — Margaret Cousins
10. Stay connected with family members far away.
If you’re not close to your loved ones during Thanksgiving, thankfully you can still be together — just virtually! Do a video call before dinner, or Facetime family members in for the giving-thanks portion of the evening. Make it an annual thing.
“If you are really thankful, what do you do? You share.” — W. Clement Stone
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