Because our Thanksgiving celebrations look somewhat different from year to year, I have been lax in creating traditions for this particular holiday. Sometimes just our family of four have Thanksgiving dinner at home or we choose to eat out (yes, there’s something to be said for taking a break from cooking and cleaning up and making the drive to Cracker Barrel). There have been years when we traveled to be with family or when they have come to visit us. This year we are actually celebrating with friends at their home.
However, I want to make an effort from now on to create just a few traditions that we can include in our future Thanksgiving celebrations. Here are a few ideas that came to mind.
- Serve a few of the same traditional foods each year. I covered my favorites in a post last week. Alternatively, celebrate your regional or ethnic cuisine by making one of your special meals.
- Allow the children to help set and decorate the table. Have them make place mats, name tags or napkin rings for each person.
- Find a concrete way to express gratefulness. Have each person write down on slips of paper things for which they are thankful, then read them aloud after everyone has finished eating. You could also take turns going around the table and having each person share their blessings.
- Include giving to charity in your plans. Each year our daughters’ school collects canned goods and other staple items for a children’s home in our town and we take a bag of things we have purchased to share.
- Attend a Thanksgiving church service. Our church meets on the Tuesday night of Thanksgiving week for a special time of Thanksgiving testimonies and songs.
- Plan some physical activity for after the big meal. Take a walk, play touch football or try some other outdoor game with the kids to get yourself moving. One year when we were visiting my parents, we all went out in the back yard where my brother-in-law raked up large piles of leaves for the kids to jump in!
- Watch something together as a family, anything from a Thanksgiving parade to a holiday movie to a football game. This year we are going to watch A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving together on Wednesday night.
- One tradition that we do already have in place is that of going and buying our live Christmas tree the day after Thanksgiving. We do this as a family and it’s a fun way to mark the beginning of the Christmas season.
I have fond memories of my own childhood Thanksgivings and hope to build special memories for our daughters to treasure. If you have traditions that you share with your family during this time of year, help me add to my list by leaving your idea in the comments!
photo courtesy public domain pictures