Emphasizing the “Thanks” in Thanksgiving

by Chris Bjorklund



Let’s face it—this Thanksgiving is going to be really different for most of us. My family started talking about how we might safely get together for the holiday back in October. All options were discussed, ranging from everyone doing their own “thing” to having a socially distanced barbecue outside. We also thought people could stagger their visits and stay outdoors (there are only nine of us) with some overlap. We all agreed on the main thing: it’s a pandemic Thanksgiving, so everyone has to be flexible. The final plan isn’t finalized and it will most assuredly evolve until we get closer to the holiday.

Meanwhile, gratitude is always top of mind this time of year. It’s important to acknowledge that we simply can’t get through these difficult times alone. Given my own personal challenges in 2020, my heart is full of thanks for the first responders, doctors, nurses, physical therapists, caregivers, friends far and near, and family members who helped me and my husband get through a very difficult summer and fall. You probably have your own list of people to thank for kindnesses big and small.

If you’re looking for a fun and creative way to celebrate gratitude this Thanksgiving, I have a simple game to share with you that I found on a website called Teach Beside Me. It’s called the Gratitude Game. It’s simple enough that just about everyone can play it, either in person or on Zoom.

Here are the rules according to the website. All you need are colored straws, Pick-Up sticks or painted popsicle sticks. You hold the sticks in your hand and drop them on the table. Every person takes a turn pulling a stick out of the pile. If you move another stick, you lose your turn and can’t keep the colored stick. If you don’t move another stick when it’s your turn, you keep it and, depending on the color, tell the group something you’re thankful for. For example, red stands for people you’re thankful for, green stands for foods, yellow stands for places and so forth. You can even add a color for an “anything goes” category. The winner is the person who ends up with the most sticks, but in truth, everyone wins by making the conversation about the many things we all appreciate.


With gratitude,

Chris Bjorklund