Thanksgiving is a a time in which we reflect upon and express our gratitude. One way to make this gratitude manifest - to give it a physical expression - is to have a Thanksgiving altar (or table or mantel or whatever more secular expression fits.) The point is to have a dedicated area where objects are placed to express gratitude for someone, or something, or a situation, or a dream that came true, or even just a representation of gratitude in a more general sense.
Another way to work with the altar is to bring a photo of a person that is missing from the gathering, either because they cannot make it or perhaps because they've passed away. Or maybe it's someone you are just grateful for or want to remember. Some people I know do harvest altars that solely focus on the abundance of the fields and have guests bring non-perishable food that is later donated to shelters.
You can even include a 'ceremony' in which your guests are invited to place the object on the altar and tell a little story about why they brought it. This is a wonderful way to share stories, to laugh and cry together, and to appreciate each other and our lives together.
Reflecting on your life and what you are grateful for is a good way to align your heart and mind with the Thanksgiving holiday.
(Image: Dana Velden)