How to fill yourself in other ways on Thanksgiving

I love Thanksgiving because it’s about gratitude. It’s a moment to put differences aside, appreciate life, and most of all, appreciate each other.

Sure, I love turkey. But it ain’t about the turkey.

I’ve been listening to a book by Chip and Dan Heath called The Power of Moments. It’s right up my alley. Chip and Dan are the brothers who brought us Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die, which dives into what makes certain ideas memorable.

Anyhoo, I feel like we’re kindred spirits. Can you be kindred spirits with two guys you don’t know? Well, what I do know is that we share the same belief:  you have to create meaningful moments in your life. They don’t always just happen.

Sometimes wonderful moments occur, and we get the opportunity to notice them, and deliberately commit them to memory. But it doesn’t often happen that way. If you want to truly experience a memorable moment, you may need to give it some help.

According to Dan and Chip, a memorable moment is made up of four parts:

1.    Pride ...the moment makes you feel good about yourself and those around you

2.    Elevation ...the moment feels meaningful

3.    Insight’ve learned something about yourself

4.    Connection feel closer to others

(I might just save you from reading the book.)

What if - when you’re thinking about holiday preparations - you put more focus on the experience?

What if - instead of thinking about your grocery list - you think about the conversation at the table?

Those dudes talk about memorable moments as ones that break the script. 

At Thanksgiving dinner in my family, we go around and say what we’re grateful for.  Yes, it’s lovely. But it’s become rote. Family, food, safety. Of course I want my children to be grateful for those things. But come on, let’s go a little deeper this year, kiddos!

It’s time to mix it up. It’s time to break the script.

This year, I’m choosing to create a Pass the Gratitude Hat.

I’ll write our names on slips of paper and toss them in a hat. Each person will pick a name out and tell that person:

1-    what they love about them

2-    one of their favorite stories about that person

3-    why they’re grateful for them in their life

And since every table will have introverts who rightfully need time to process, I’ll pass the hat before we sit down to give us some time to think about what we want to say. What we want to give to each other.

In the outside world, there’s so much focus on our differences right now with the polarizing climate of distrust, blame and fear. We’re hurting. No matter our circumstances.

And we are just getting lonelier. Over 40% of Americans are reporting they feel lonely. (Up from just 20% in 1980!)  We are all longing for deeper connection.

So, whether you’re at the head of the table or showing up as a guest, wouldn’t it be fun to be a disrupter and focus the conversation on what matters: each other.

This also allows for one conversation at the dinner table. You may have to ask Aunt Betty to stop talking over your husband but you can do that!

You can leave the dinner table stuffed with food or full of gratitude and love.

Who am I kidding…I probably will be both.

Think in moments. Because you have the power to make this moment count.


PS I have fun news. My story about my 25 year relationship with my mentor and dear friend ( was featured on Thrive Global this week. Please check it out! Talk about feelin’ grateful!

Katherine Kennedy