"21 Conversation Starters on Gratitude" by Theresa Cenniccola (CatholicMom.com) Image via Deposit Photos. Licensed by author. Text added by author.

It seems like everywhere I turn, folks are talking about gratitude. In fact, I did a Google search on gratitude that yielded 88,100,000 results. That’s a lot of thankfulness! But what exactly are these “grateful people” talking about? Well…they’re sharing tips and strategies for creating a practice of gratitude. And they’re explaining the benefits of assuming an attitude of gratitude. If you’re like me, you are 100% on board with all that gratitude talk. But…when it comes down to it…and the mashed potatoes are getting cold…you’re in favor of saying grace and digging in, instead of sharing the long list of things you are thankful for. (Please tell me I’m not the only one who feels that way!)

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So, this year, instead of cramming all our gratitude into a 20-minute prayer before dinner, I thought we could discuss gratitude all day long. Or maybe even all week long! Instead of just listing or naming the things we’re grateful for, I thought maybe we could go deeper…and really share the things in our lives that deserve our thanks. Because I believe gratitude requires more than a passing nod or a brief mention at the dinner table. I believe we need to celebrate gratitude by devoting entire conversations to it. After all, we are throwing an entire party in the name of gratitude! Don't you agree?

Then, print the following conversation starters and pass them out at Thanksgiving dinner. Ask your family and friends to use them to generate meaningful discussion about the things they are most grateful for. And let's have a gratitude party together!

21 Conversation Starters on Gratitude:

  1. What is your favorite childhood memory and why are you thankful for it?
  2. Name someone who helped you become the person you are today. What do you appreciate most about that person?
  3. Look beyond the stained carpet and outdated appliances and tell me one thing you love about your home and why.
  4. If you had to give an acceptance speech for a life achievement award, who would you recognize and why?
  5. What is the first real accomplishment you felt proud of? What was it about the experience makes you feel grateful?
  6. If you could spend a day off work doing one thing that you love, what would it be and why?
  7. What three words do you hope people use to describe you and highlight your most positive character traits?
  8. Have you ever escaped death, injury or failure in a way that made you pause and take notice? Tell me about the experience.
  9. Without complaining about your physical appearance in any way, name one part of your body that you appreciate and tell me why.
  10. Have you ever received a blessing from a total stranger? Tell me about that experience and how it made you feel.
  11. What is one choice you made in your life that led to more joy and happiness than you could have ever imagined?
  12. Tell me about a time you prayed for something and your prayer went unanswered – which proved to be the greatest blessing of all.
  13. What is your greatest talent or skill?
  14. Who is one person you love and trust more than anyone else in the world? Tell me three specific things you admire and appreciate about this person.
  15. Name three people you don’t talk with or see often but you know they would be there for you in a heartbeat if you ever needed them.
  16. What (or who) makes you laugh out loud – a deep belly laugh that makes you cry?
  17. What is your favorite outdoor setting? Describe your “happy place” in nature and tell me what you love most about being there.
  18. If there is someone in your life who is driving you crazy right now, name three things you love or appreciate or admire about them.
  19. Think about a place or a group of people that make you feel “at home.” Tell me why you feel comfortable and accepted there.
  20. What’s the best thing that happened to you today?
  21. Have you ever received something wonderful that you felt you didn’t deserve? Tell me about that experience.

How great is my gratitude. What is He reserving for us in heaven if here below His love dispenses surprises so delightful? – St. Therese of Lisieux

Now, who wants to volunteer to go first? Pick a conversation starter and talk to me about gratitude below! Not that into talking with people about gratitude? Try using these conversation starters as Gratitude Journal Prompts and give thanks with pen and paper.

Copyright 2016 Theresa Ceniccolla