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9 Thoughtful Thanksgiving Conversation Starters

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How often do you connect with your family members?

While it can be challenging to keep up with everyone’s lives, Thanksgiving gives us the opportunity to connect with our loved ones in a meaningful way and engage in family traditions. Whether it’s traveling to an out-of-town family member’s home, gathering for the annual family football game or sharing what you’re thankful for around the table, many of us look forward to the comforting traditions of Thanksgiving.

As you gather this year, consider adding a new family tradition to this list by discussing some of life’s most important questions. When you engage in meaningful dialogue with the people closest to you, you have the chance to learn what makes them truly special.

Below, we outline nine Thanksgiving conversation-starting questions for around the table.

1. What is your favorite memory from this year?

As we gather, use this time to focus on positive memories or shared special moments. Consider the following:

  • Did you celebrate a special milestone like an anniversary or retirement?
  • Did you drive to another state for a vacation?
  • Did you pick up a new hobby?

Use these questions to learn about each person’s accomplishments. The joy brought on by these memories will help ease the flow of conversation.

>>>Related Resource: 4 Meaningful Conversation Topics to Add to Your Holiday Traditions

2. What is your favorite family tradition?

Thanksgiving is a holiday centered around tradition, so make it a point to discuss everyone’s favorite traditions. Your favorite traditions might include using your grandmother’s secret recipe to make stuffing or playing in the annual family football game. Whatever it may be, no tradition is too small to share and enjoy with your loved ones.

3. What is your favorite Thanksgiving dish?

Some of life’s fondest memories form while enjoying a meal with the people we love. And for a holiday that’s celebrated with food, this is a great question to transition into deeper discussions with friends and family.

By asking family members about their favorite Thanksgiving dish, you can delve deeper into the origins of the dish, including its heritage and who the recipe came from. Then, make it a point to add these recipes to next year’s Thanksgiving menu to take the conversation a step further.

4. What are you most grateful for?

True to the holiday’s namesake, ask everyone around the table to name what they’re most grateful for this year. Was it a new job, or moving in with a loved one to a new house? A vacation or the comfort of a new pet?

As an alternative to speaking aloud, have each person write their answer on a slip of paper and take turns guessing who wrote what. Once everyone has had a chance to talk, collect the slips of paper to store away until next Thanksgiving. With each passing year, you can revisit your answers.

>>>Related Resource: 5 Ways to Live Graciously This Thanksgiving

5. Who are you most grateful for?

Similar to the question above, ask your loved ones who they’re most grateful for this year. This is a simple way to recognize the people in our lives that make a difference to us and to let them know how much they mean to us.

As you gather around the table, allow yourself to be open and honest with the ones you love. If a particular friend or family member at the table comes to mind when asking or answering this question, tell them.

6. What are your goals for the new year?

Thanksgiving is usually the kickoff to the holiday season, with a new year on the horizon. Find out what your family members’ goals are for the upcoming year. Ask if they have a bucket list or way of tracking their accomplishments.

By asking this question, you’ll get a better understanding of each other’s life goals and dreams and how you can support each other as you pursue them. Perhaps a few of you have a similar item on your list that you can cross off together. You can hold each other accountable, increase your odds of success and bond in the meantime when you share your goals.

7. What are some valuable lessons you've learned this year?

Though life challenges can be difficult to discuss, they also help us learn more about ourselves. Add a positive spin to these life experiences by expressing the valuable lessons you learned from them. Sharing these lessons may also help family members navigate through similar situations, or even help you find common ground with family members you don’t connect with often.

8. What was your favorite book, movie, TV show or podcast this year?

We all engage in some form of entertainment, whether it be streaming TV shows or reading a good book. While this topic can be more lighthearted, it can also help you reconnect with family members down the road as you give and take recommendations. You may find that you and a distant family member both enjoyed the same book, which could lead to a more meaningful friendship as you begin sharing book suggestions and having conversations about them.

9. Who has made the greatest impact on your life?

Have you ever been asked this question? Although personal, it presents the opportunity to thank those who have been there through life’s triumphs and tribulations.  

As you gather around the table, allow yourself to be open and honest with the ones you love. If a particular friend or family member at the table comes to mind when asking or answering this question, tell them!

How to Initiate Meaningful Conversations With Your Loved Ones

These questions are just a start to liven up conversation around your Thanksgiving table. In our downloadable ebook, “Busch’s Essential Guide to Meaningful Conversation,” you’ll get access to 25+ conversation-starting questions and tips for in-depth discussions with your loved ones. Download a copy today as you prep for the holidays.

Download our essential guide to meaningful conversation

Jim Busch
Jim Busch
Owner and president of our firm. Fourth generation funeral director and certified crematory operator, Jim is guided by his principles in faith, family and friends. He loves to hear feedback from our families. Proudly serving Busch families since 1986.

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