Thanksgiving is the time when family and friends gather together to count their blessings. The centerpiece of this holiday is a traditional turkey dinner with all the fixings. In keeping with the theme of this holiday, folks gathered around the table offer up toasts as a way of sharing their good fortune and celebrating the family and friendship ties that keep them together. The toasts can come in the form of time-honored prayers or individual remembrances. Either choice is the perfect beginning of the Thanksgiving meal.
For a toast you'll need to raise your glasses high so make sure the glasses are filled. Unlike a wedding toast which can go on for a bit, a Thanksgiving toast needs to be short. Chances are everyone has been waiting a long time to eat so you want to make sure they'll be able to quickly dig into the meal. To make sure attention is focused on you and stand. This will let everyone know the time has come to begin the meal.
A time honored tradition for Thanksgiving toasts is to allow everyone at the table to say what they are thankful for. If you are leading the toast you should guide the guests with their own mini-toasts of thanks. Keep it moving. If someone can't think of a toast right off the top of their head skip over them but be sure to come back and give them a second chance to offer thanks.
You don't have to be a spiritual person to feel blessed on Thanksgiving. You can offer up your thanks to whatever power you want to but make sure you're aware of your guests' sentiments. This isn't the time to get on a soap box and pontificate. One quick option is to ask everyone gathered around the table to come up with a single word of what they are thankful for. The answers could be revealing and heartfelt.
Absent Friends and Family
Often not everyone can make it to celebrate a Thanksgiving dinner. It might be because of travel, other commitments or a recent passing. Your toast will be a perfect opportunity to remember the absent friends and family members. The key is not to turn the festivities maudlin. Everyone will know who is missing and why. A brief mention in your toast is all it takes to honor those folks.
A lot of work went into the meal you're about to toast. You can't forget the cooks who prepared it all. Before gathering around the table, make sure you know exactly who did what in terms of getting the food ready. Perhaps a guest brought along the pumpkin pie or a favorite Aunt has contributed her stuffing recipe. No matter who did the cooking, a glass should be raised in their honor.
There is no reason that the sentiments behind your toast should stop with the clinking of glasses. As the meal continues, keep the Thanksgiving conversations flowing by asking the guests to share memorable holiday moments. Nearly everyone knows a good turkey cooking disaster story. And since this probably won't be the first time you have gathered with some of these folks, any story that begins with "remember when" is sure to spark good memories.
Too often the young ones are shuttled off to the kids' table so that the adults can eat in peace. This doesn't mean they can't be part of the Thanksgiving toast. Before the meal, you could work out a special toast with all the kids. If they know they're going to be called on they can practice what they might say and not slow things down. Remember that above all else, you want to get everybody eating.