The family is gathered ‘round the table, a beautifully roasted bird at the center, and all eyes are on you to say something – to express thankfulness. It’s Thanksgiving after all, and you’re the host.If the thought of this moment gives you chills of dread, you’re not alone. Lots of people feel this way. Click To TweetIf the thought of this moment gives you chills of dread, you’re not alone. Lots of people feel this way. Even though they’re among family and friends, they don’t enjoy being the focus of everyone’s attention. And the pressure to say just the right thing can make the occasion feel like a public speaking engagement. They’d rather have their teeth drilled.
Or maybe your fear isn’t that severe. You’re simply at a loss for what to say since this social convention is not the norm for everyday meals. Whatever your level of apprehension, here are some suggestions to meet the challenge of how to express thankfulness at Thanksgiving.
Assign The Honor
If the prospect of speaking anything remotely speech-like means there’s a good chance you’ll dead-faint into the mashed potatoes, then defer to someone else. Ask someone who doesn’t mind if they would give a reflection of thankfulness or say grace.
Your stand-in can simply begin with “Our host has asked me to…” That way you don’t have to speak a word as the center of attention, but you still get credit for tending to the duty. It’s a genius solution, actually.
Share The Honor
If you don’t mind saying a few words, suggest that each guest take a turn sharing something they’re particularly thankful for. Set the tone and start them off by saying something you’re thankful for (i.e. your gathered family, a paid-off mortgage, a successful gall-bladder removal so you can enjoy the gravy. Just don’t mention anyone’s 6 months of sobriety or the like. Nothing that could stir stuff up. The airing of grievances is not for this holiday.)
Afterwards, simply indicate to the person on your left they’re next. Progress around the table until each guest has had their turn to express their thankfulness at Thanksgiving.
Give The Honor
Finally, for those inclined to acknowledge God as the source of all blessings, ask those gathered around your table to join you in a simple, heartfelt prayer of gratitude. It may be something like:
God, as we gather around this table filled with food, we thank You for blessing us with abundance. We thank you for blessing us with life, and loved ones, and comforts. And for all these blessings, we bless and honor You. Amen.
(Of course, to fully give honor to God and express our thankfulness, we embrace His gospel.)
If you’re able to take time, before the big day, to reflect on what you’re thankful for, you’ll have a mental list of your own to include.
So often, with all the preparations for the meal, the guests, and the housekeeping, there’s little time for the purpose of the day. This year, deal with any apprehensions and make time to reflect on and express thankfulness at Thanksgiving.