When it comes to hosting holiday gatherings, it can be difficult making sure everyone feels involved and occupied while they eat. That’s why I’ve put together a few ways to entertain your guests—both children and adults—during your time together. Even better? These activities are more than just entertainment; they’re the perfect way to show gratitude for one another as the year comes to an end. Enjoy!
Create a Gratitude Tree
Find a branch from outside and place it in a vase filled with rocks. Provide cut-out leaves and markers, then invite guests to write down the things they are most grateful for on the leaves. Punch a hole in the leaf, thread it with a string, hang it on the branches, and wah-lah! Your gratitude tree is born. Everyone can participate, and the number of leaves is limited only by the size of your branch!
At many gatherings, people around the table are invited to share something they are grateful for. Hate to say it, but these thoughts can become a bit banal and rote—so, why not change it up with gratitude prompts? Try writing a few prompts on slips of paper, then place them in a box or basket and pass it around. The idea is for each person to pull out one slip and respond. Be creative! Phrases like “I am grateful for these three things I see on the way to work” or “I am grateful I heard...” are a great place to start. For a longer list of prompts, check out some of these Gratitude Exercises.
The Gratitude Walk
Turn your post-dinner walk into a gratitude walk. Walk mindfully. Really look at the world around you, hear the sounds, and feel the breeze on your face. Don’t spend this quality time thinking about the next thing to do, or the mess to clean, or what you’re going to do with all those leftovers. For a few minutes, just walk and breathe. And be grateful.
Send Your Guests Home with More than Turkey
Speaking of leftovers, if you’re sending your guests home with your scraps, why not include a gratitude worksheet to keep the good feelings going? A gratitude worksheet offers specific prompts to help people think creatively about what they are grateful for. You can find an example here!
Write a Thank-You Note
Whether you’re thanking your host, or someone who made your day a little easier (you know the one), or your partner for putting up with your relatives, a thank-you note is an amazing way to end the day. Not only is it a chance for you to voice your appreciation, but the recipient will feel the glow once they receive your letter of gratitude. And yes, you may choose to email your thank-you, but there’s really nothing better than an old-fashioned handwritten note.
What traditions do you and your family practice around the holidays? Leave a comment below!