Thanksgiving session plan starterEver notice how little music is specific to Thanksgiving? It makes creating a Thanksgiving theme a little more challenging. Whether you purpose is to elicit memories of Thanksgivings or to express gratitude for aspects of life, here are a variety of resources for you to use.

Songs to sing related to Thanksgiving

Though it is not a religious holiday, many Christian hymns are related to the holiday. There are some other songs that tie in nicely with the day.

Religious songs

  • “Come Ye Thankful People Come”
  • “Bringing in the Sheaves”
  • “Count Your Blessings”
  • “We Gather Together”
  • “Now Thank We All Our God”
  • “Simple Gifts/Tis a Gift to Be Simple”
  • “Morning Has Broken”

Non-religious songs

  • Over the River and Through the Woods
  • Turkey in the Straw
  • Harvest Moon
  • Under “Discussion” you will also see an option for singing about things for which people are thankful.

Music for Movement

  • “Simple Gifts” (Your preferred arrangement)
  • “Mash Potato Time” – Dee Dee Sharp
  • “Food, Glorious Food” from Oliver
  • “Thanksgiving Song” by Mary Chapin Carpenter
  • “Sweet Potato Pie” – Ray Charles & James Taylor
  • “Thanksgiving Prayer” by Johnny Cash *This one is not currently on Spotify.

Song writing and Drumming

Early on my go-to songs for sharing gratitude is Hap Palmer’s “Things I’m Thankful For”. Often I would change the repeated part to include the name of each group member and their item. It would go something like this:

Mary ‘s thankful for her daughter. Sue ‘s thankful for a bed. George is for a cold beer. We’re all thankful they are here.

With chants and drumming gaining acceptance, Karen Drucker’s “Thank You for this Day, Spirit” is easy to adapt to groups. If the word “spirit” is not appropriate in a setting, drop that word and extend day. Keep the drumming going between verses asking a person about what they are thankful for. Then insert it in place of “this day” in the next verse.

Other items for other senses

  • Pumpkin scented candle
  • Cranberry scented candles
  • Pictures of a cornucopia
  • Pictures of pumpkin pie
  • Dried ears of corn
  • Nuts in shells
  • Dried shock of wheat
  • Share the singable book Grateful: A Song of Giving Thanks (Affiliate link)

Thanksgiving related discussion

Here are some questions to get you started.

  1. What did you usually ear on Thanksgiving?
  2. What food was served on Thanksgiving?
  3. What kind of dressing or stuffing did your family eat?
  4. Who usually came to your Thanksgiving dinner?
  5. Who washed the dishes?

Ask people what they are thankful for and find a song that relates. Here are a few to get you started. (These are not on the Spotify list.) 

  • Sunshine – “You Are My Sunshine”
  • Music – “Music, Music, Music”
  • Love – “Love Me Tender”
  • Food – “Hey Good Lookin'”

Please add your suggestions in the comments below.

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