Thanksgiving Memories

Has it been a while since you’ve looked at your old photo albums, high school yearbook, or even scrolled all the way back to the beginning of the photos on your phone?

Are those pictures of your college road trip, or favorite fishing expedition collecting dust?

This Thanksgiving season invite your family or friends to get together and take a trip down memory lane. Ask everyone to bring their photo albums, scrapbooks, selfies, and yearbooks to your family gathering. After your meal, reminisce together about some of your favorite memories.

Make this an occasion to reconnect around the times you have shared together and cherish the memories you’ve made. Make it a celebration of your relationships!

As you look at your photos, reflect on why you’re grateful and then share these responses with family and friends:
  • I am particularly grateful for that memory because . . .
  • That day was special to me because . . .
  • I smile every time I see that picture because . . .
As each person shares his positive feelings, respond with emotion in return! That might sound like:
  • I’m so happy you had that day because . . . 
  • I feel a lot of gratitude as well. We were really blessed by . . .
  • It makes me smile, too, when I remember how you . . . 
  • Wasn’t that incredible?! I still feel excited when I think about . . .
  • I’m glad you and I could experience that together.

As you come across pictures or memories that are associated with painful memories, be sure to acknowledge and respond to those too. You might come across the picture of a loved one who has since passed away or a family photo from a previous marriage. Don’t ignore the memory, or the feeling. Instead, encourage one another to talk about the emotions that are prompted.
  • I am kind of sad when I look at this picture because . . .
  • That day was hard for me because . . .
  • My heart hurts every time I see that picture because . . .
As family members share their painful feelings, respond with compassion. That might sound like:
  • I feel sad with you. I know that time was so tough.
  • My heart hurts for you. I know that picture reminds you of a lot of difficult emotions.
  • I am so sorry that you went through that. I know that was a sad time for you.

As you share both positive and painful memories, and then respond to one another with celebration or compassion, you will be strengthening relationships that mean the most. There will be more smiles (and perhaps more tears) and a deeper connection with some of your greatest gifts. That’s a lot to be thankful for!

Relationships are strengthened when we remember who and what we are thankful for and then verbalize that gratitude with one another. Let a trip down memory lane pave the way for a special time of gratitude this Thanksgiving season!

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