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15 Thanksgiving Toast & Speech Ideas That Actually Aren’t Cheesy

Ah, Thanksgiving. Typically a time to gather with family and friends to engage in merriment and passive-aggressive squabbles. This year, our celebrations may look different as many reunite with family they haven’t seen in nearly two years, others get together with a smaller crew, and some sign on to Zoom for the occasion. But one thing that doesn't need to change this year? The tradition of the Thanksgiving toast. If this year has you feeling less than thankful, these Thanksgiving toast and speech ideas will help provide you with plenty to say if you get nominated to give a Thanksgiving toast.

Regardless of how you'll be celebrating this year — your usual big family party, trying out a solo holiday dinner, hosting a Zoom Thanksgiving, organizing an outdoor gathering for a handful of friends or family — one thing is for sure: Thanksgiving is never dull. Even if 2021 wasn’t your favorite year, there is always something to be grateful for. This isn't to say you need to go full toxic positivity. But taking a small moment to recognize the things that got you through the year — whether that's friends, family, your pets, or Postmates — can feel kind of good. If you're at a loss for words this year, these 15 Thanksgiving toast and speech ideas will have you covered.

Thanksgiving is the perfect time to express your gratitude to family and friends for standing by your side this year. Consider this quote from Marcel Proust: "Let us be grateful to people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom."

If you’re making a speech during your Friendsgiving, try this quote about friendship from Marilyn Monroe. "... Always remember your friends will be there quicker than your family. Learn to remember you got great friends, don't forget that and they will always care for you no matter what. Always remember to smile and look up at what you got in life.”

Lady Gaga is always good for quotes about love, tolerance, and kindness — which are relevant themes for Thanksgiving, and the double meaning of feeding your family and friends and feeding community is perfect. Try this quote of hers about acceptance: "I believe in a passion for inclusion... I think tolerance and acceptance and love is something that feeds every community ... You can try to find something beautiful in every single person, no matter what."

If you’re looking to express gratefulness in your Thanksgiving speech, try this quote from Eckhart Tolle’s A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life's Purpose: “Acknowledging the good that you already have in your life is the foundation for all abundance.”

Maya Angelou’s quote is the perfect Thanksgiving blessing. “When we give cheerfully and accept gratefully, everyone is blessed.”

Looking for a lighthearted toast? Try this quote from Ellen DeGeneres in The Funny Thing Is... on gratitude that’s sure to make the crowd chuckle: “Gratitude is looking on the brighter side of life, even if it means hurting your eyes.”

This excerpt from Ralph Waldo Emerson’s We Thank Thee is a simple but effective Thanksgiving toast.

For each new morning with its light,

For rest and shelter of the night,

For health and food, for love and friends,

For everything Thy goodness sends.

Author Sarah Ban Breathnach’s quote on grattiude is a great reminder for the table. “Real life isn’t always going to be perfect or go our way, but the recurring acknowledgment of what is working in our lives can help us not only to survive but surmount our difficulties.”

If your Thanksgiving crew is there for the food and the food only, let this Nora Ephron quote be heard loud and clear. "The turkey. The sweet potatoes. The stuffing. The pumpkin pie. Is there anything else we all can agree so vehemently about? I don’t think so.”

If you’re getting over a tough year, try this uplifting line Christopher Robin said to Winnie the Pooh as your Thanksgiving toast: "You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think."

If you’re looking for a Thanksgiving speech that highlights the real meaning of gratitude, try this quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson: “Cultivate the habit of being grateful for every good thing that comes to you and to give thanks continuously. And because all things have contributed to your advancement, you should include all things in your gratitude.”

Charles Dickens’ quote will remind the table to pause and reflect: “Reflect upon your present blessings — of which every man has many — not on your past misfortunes, of which all men have some.”

If you want to focus on how thankful you are to be surrounded by family and friends after a rough year, try this Maya Angelou quote: “Be present in all things and thankful for all things.”

Henry David Thoreau’s quote on gratitude Thanksgiving is a simple but effective toast: "I am grateful for what I am and have. My thanksgiving is perpetual."

Make your Thanksgiving toast participatory by reading this gratitude quote by William Arthur Ward and asking everyone to go around the table and state one thing they are grateful for:

“Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.”

This article was originally published on November 10, 2017