Mom's Kitchen Handbook

Giving Gratitude a Seat at Your Table



I’m a sucker for holiday rituals. It’s all the little traditions that lend real meaning to the big feast days of the year: serving the pie on your grandmother’s beloved plate, gathering fallen leaves to decorate the table, or giving the youngest guests first dips on the turkey drumsticks.

Here’s a sweet tradition-in-the-making that puts the “Thanks” in “Thanksgiving” with the side benefit of keeping the kids occupied. They’ll be busy with an art project while you put the finishing touches on the meal.

~Start by asking your kids to make place cards for dinner guests using whatever art supplies you have on hand: paper or light cardboard, markers, crayons, stickers, ribbons, and so on. Be sure they don’t forget to create place cards for themselves as well.

~Then, once everyone has arrived, have the kids go around to each guest and ask them to write something they’re grateful for on the back of a place card (ideally not their own).

~Set the place cards around the table however you’d like your friends and family seated.

~Before the feasting begins, invite everyone to take turns reading aloud the gratitude notes on back of their place cards (kids included, of course).

Sweet, huh?

What are some of your family’s favorite Thanksgiving rituals?