- Recycle a used aluminum pie plate by affixing candles to it by melting the candle into the plate and pushing the candles into it. (Note: Little ones should make a centerpiece without candles.)
- Surround the candles with natural treasures, such as rocks, leaves or pinecones, in lieu of store-bought items.
- Each evening, light the gratitude candles (or place a small card inscribed with the words “thank you” among the treasures). Each person then takes a turn thanking someone in their life: a friend, grand-parent, co-worker, school bus driver, mail carrier, store clerk… whoever helps make life run more smoothly.
- Take a moment to make peace. If there is a squabble or quarrel between siblings or family members, choose to forgive one another and let go. This can be as simple as saying, “I’m sorry,” and “I forgive you”–hugs optional! This powerful gesture should be encouraged but not enforced; forgiveness works best when modeled sincerely by parents.
This meaningful ritual reminds us of the importance of gathering together at mealtime, sharing our lives with one another, and reassures our children of the strength and comfort the family unit provides. In many instances, beginning a tradition helps reset negative habits of eating on the run or forgetting to stop and listen to one another, and also helps nip sibling squabbles before they escalate.
For more info: Wayne Parker has some great ideas for encouraging the spirit of gratitude.
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