15 Questions to Put the “Thanks” in Thanksgiving

Posted by: Shel 12 Comments

15 Questions to put the THANKS in ThanksgivingHave you ever tried to stir up some “what we are thankful for” discussion at Thanksgiving dinner, only to be met with blank faces? Or the spouting of obligatory mini-lists such as: “I’m thankful for my spouse. And my children.” Which are not bad things to express thankfulness for – especially if the spouse and children are present – but it doesn’t inspire further conversational contributions. If you’re looking for friends and family to go a little deeper – to evoke a memory of person or place each is grateful for – lose the generic (and somewhat tired) request. To get the gratitude flowing along with the feast, get specific. You can toss out topics or pass around a bowl containing slips of paper with topics for dinner attendees to draw from. Here are 15 questions to help put the “thanks” into your Thanksgiving dinner conversation.

  1. What school subject are you glad you took?
  2. What kind act was shown to you that you are thankful for?
  3. What book are you grateful you read? Why?
  4. What movie or TV show was meaningful to you? In what way?
  5. What is something in the kitchen that you take for granted but really appreciate?
  6. What color are you grateful exists?
  7. What season of the year do you most appreciate? Why?
  8. What person whom you never met (living or dead) are you thankful existed?
  9. What fictional character are you grateful you learned about? Why?
  10. What teacher are you most thankful for? Why?
  11. What local business do you really appreciate?
  12. What life-lesson are you grateful you learned?
  13. What place are you thankful you got to visit or experience?
  14. What job does somebody do that often goes unnoticed but you are grateful it gets done?
  15. What negative experience turned out to have long-term positive benefits that you appreciate?

It may seem like the word “favorite” could be substituted for some of the “thankfuls” and “gratefuls” – but that might be a different discussion. For instance, my favorite teacher – the one who made class so enjoyable – is not the teacher I’m most grateful for. While I certainly appreciated the fun teacher, the one I have gratitude for is the one that saw something in me and required me to improve and grow. Asking specific questions can generate meaningful conversation that puts a spotlight on the “thanks” in  Thanksgiving.

For more Thanksgiving Table Talk ideas, click HERE.

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  • Cathy

    I tried this before and it was a great success. This year I have a lot more people and so I searched around and came upon this site . I now will have more great questions than I need!!

    • Shel Harrington

      Excellent! Hope you and your family and guests have a wonderful Thanksgiving, Cathy!

  • Exellent questions! 🙂

    • Shel Harrington

      Thanks! Let me know if your dinner mates enjoy them! 🙂

  • Excellent suggestions, Shel. Last Thanksgiving when all the young cousins were together (ages 8-13) Jim started a Thanks For… game as we were fixing the dessert: The first child turned to the one on her right and said “I’m thankful for you because…” and then that person did the same for the next person, and so on. We were amazed at how thoughtful and real their answers were. Happy Thanksgiving!

    • Shel Harrington

      Yay, Jim! What a lovely way to lift each other up and get everybody focused on what the celebration is really about! Happy Thanksgiving to you, too!

  • Great ideas to spark conversation, Shel. I’ve missed your suggestions.
    Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

    • Shel Harrington

      Thanks, Jill! Yes, I’ve been off the grid for a bit – hoping to get back in the groove in the near future! Hope you and yours have a wonderfully blessed holiday!

  • Great ideas! Life can be too busy and we don’t take time to reflect on all the things we have to be thankful for! I plan to try these out and get away from the routine answers! Thanks so much!

    • Shel Harrington

      You’re so welcome, Debbie! Hope you and your family have a wonderfully blessed Thanksgiving!

  • Debbie Gorden

    These are great ideas. After having this conversation with you this week, there are some of these questions I’m not sure I can put in the jar. Read a book? Duh. Life-lesson, like what is that supposed to mean? But, it could be fun to hear the responses.
    Have a wonderful Thanksgiving! I’m grateful for people like you in my life!

    • Shel Harrington

      Thanks, Debbie – the feeling is definitely mutual! Hope your holiday is especially blessed! btw – I happen to know for a fact that you’ve had more than a life-lesson or two that would be fascinating to hear about!!

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