Somewhere around the age of 27, I decided to look past the pilgrims, stuffed turkeys, and football games to find what Thanksgiving really meant to me. While the food was always good, and it was nice to see relatives and friends, there always seemed to be something missing. On a day that is expressly about giving thanks, I often ended Thanksgiving Day full of stuffing but with plenty of room still left in my heart for what I think every human being could use three, four, even infinite helpings of — LOVE.

So I decided to shake up the old traditions, shake off the stuffing and turkey malaise, and experiment with new, daring gratitude-filled Thanksgiving traditions. Following are three of my favorite ways to stuff myself with LOVE during the Thanksgiving season. Give them a try, and give yourself (and others) the gift of a heart full of love this holiday.

1.    Be A Gratitude Generator. Make a list of all the people in your life for whom you are grateful, and next to their name write down specifically what you are grateful for. Buy yourself a bunch of flowers that can easily be separated into single stems. You can also pick up some small note cards and write one for each person, including why you are grateful for them. Over the course of a week, one by one, give a flower and the note card to these special people, and shower them with gratitude. Do at least 3 people, or for a double-dog dare, pick at least 6 people. Watch what happens; it’s an experiment in love.

2.    Make Grateful Graffiti. This is perfect for any gathering, and you don’t even have to wait for Turkey Day to do it. Plan a party and get your Grateful Graffiti on! As your guests arrive, give each one a marker and a colored pad of sticky notes instructing them that their goal is to leave the night with no sticky notes left on their pad. Their assignment? To spontaneously write all the things they’re grateful for on the stickies (one per sheet) throughout the night, giving them liberty to put the stickies wherever they like (walls, ceilings, cupboards). Toward the end of the evening, gather the group and invite people to choose three gratitudes from all the postings that they would like to be able to say they’re grateful for next year. As a special surprise, as each guest shares their gratitude, gift them with a flower from that evening’s floral centerpiece. It serves as a beautiful reminder for them to keep their hearts open to love. Tell them they can take the postings and flowers home with them. Best of all, if you are the party host, you will be finding gratitudes all year long.

3.    Give Surprise Gratitude. Headed to a holiday gathering, and know you need to stop by the store and pick something up to thank the host? Pre-plan your gratitude and make an even bigger impact on your host by picking up the phone, calling the local florist and having your gratitude sent ahead of time, thanking your host for all of her/his care and effort to put this gathering together. Can you imagine the hug you will be greeted with at the door? Can you imagine how touched the person who receives this sentiment of gratitude will be? They will feel so much less stressed every time they see your flowers, knowing that their gathering has already been a success. Talk about wild gratitude creating Big Love!

What are the special ways you’ve thanked others?