My Australian Thanksgiving Experiment

We don’t celebrate Thanksgiving in Australia. But given all the evidence of the benefits of gratitude, maybe we would be happier if we did.

Australian Thanksgiving Experiment

Last year we did a little experiment in our house and created a “thanks-giving turkey” so we could all add feathers of thanks until we had the fluffiest turkey possible. My family all liked the idea and filled the turkey plumes quickly. But then my daughters invited visitors to add their thanks-giving feathers, too, and soon our turkey was looking VERY well endowed.

Australian Thanksgiving Turkey Feathers

My feathers: Thankfulness Feathers on a Turkey

  • the garden outside our window that my husband has been planting this weekend
  • the hugs in bed from my daughters that start every weekend on a high
  • slowing down and tuning in to the everyday joys of life that I now remember to appreciate
  • my work
  • love, laughter, libraries and little feet

My husband’s feathers:

  • sleep
  • gardening
  • cooking (yep, he’s the weekend gourmet)
  • date night
  • our dog

My daughters’ feathers:

  • hugs (yeah!)
  • Noodle (our dog)
  • ice-cream
  • swimming
  • Mummy and Daddy
  • Grandma and Grandpa

What ideas do you have for getting more “feel good” value from your Thanksgiving?


Gratitude is one of life’s most vitalizing ingredients. Research has shown that practicing gratitude can have dramatic and lasting effects in a person’s life.  And it feels good in its own right to appreciate something we have been given!

Look at all these research backed benefits of gratitude:

Physical Benefits:

  • Stronger immune systems
  • Less bothered by aches and pains
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Grateful people exercise more and take better care of their health
  • Sleep longer and feel more refreshed upon waking

Psychological Benefits:

  • Higher levels of positive emotions
  • More alert, alive, and awake
  • More joy and pleasure
  • More optimism and happiness

Social Benefits:

  • More helpful, generous, and compassionate
  • More forgiving
  • More outgoing
  • Feel less lonely and isolated

(List is  from Robert Emmons, “Why Gratitude Is Good.”)

Gratitude - Kids Activities Blog

No matter what your style, you can find a way to milk this positive emotion for all its worth. A friend and I list three things we are grateful for every time we walk around the local park. My children tell me WWW (What Went Well) every night before going to sleep. I have a daily alarm on my iPhone that reminds me to savor what’s good in my life right now.

May you have a Happy Thanksgiving, brimming with gratitude.

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Kellie Edwards About Kellie Edwards

Kellie Edwards is a facilitator of mindfulness in the family, the workplace and beyond. She runs group workshops and individual coaching sessions integrating mindfulness practices and the psychology of flourishing. She writes a blog with Huffington Post, Psych Central and also other guest blog spots. She is a qualified meditation teacher, a registered psychologist and a member of the Australian Psychological Society. She has also completed the world renown Cultivating Compassion Training with Stanford University faculty. The mother of two girls, Kellie lives in Melbourne, Australia. Find out more at