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One of the best parts of this season are the family traditions we have created and enjoy year after year. My daughters and I have several traditions around both the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. These are things they will remember for their entire lives, and when they are grown they will create their own traditions with their families.
Family traditions are important to us; they help to define the special feel of the holidays. And family traditions help our children to feel a sense of community and belonging within a family unit. So here are some ideas to expand your current traditions for this Thanksgiving Day.Family traditions are important to us; they help to define the special feel of the holidays. Click To Tweet
Before The Meal:
- Buy a simple white tablecloth and some different colored permanent markers, then have every person sign their name and the year on the tablecloth. Use this tablecloth again over the years, adding to the signatures each year.
One Missouri woman came up with a unique way to cherish her family’s Thanksgiving memories each year — and she couldn’t be more grateful that she did. In 2000, Deb Mills of Clinton began the holiday tradition of having each person who joins her family’s Thanksgiving dinner sign her white tablecloth.
- Buy a simple table runner and let the kids make handprint “turkeys” on the table runner, along with their name and the year, and decorate your holiday table with it.
- Have each guest/family bring a special recipe, then make copies for everyone to take home; or compile all the recipe over the years into a family recipe album.
- Create a Book of Thanks; buy a simple blank, lined book and have everyone write what they are thankful for each year. Bring the book out each year, and reread items.
- Encourage the youngsters to help with the decorations; give them items to create a centerpiece for the dining table – candles, basket or large bowl, dried Fall leaves, mini pumpkins or squash, nuts, pinecones, etc.
- Give the kiddos construction paper and other craft items and have them create place cards for your table.
These crafts are a fun way to get your kids involved with Turkey Day prep. When you’re done making them together, ask them to help set the table too.
- Gather ’round the TV and watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade in your jammies in the morning, with hot chocolate and pancakes.
For The Meal:
- Choose a type of cookie that you make special, only for Thanksgiving. Or make a special dessert that is your signature offering for Thanksgiving.
- Invite someone who has nowhere to spend Thanksgiving to share the day with you and your family.
- Serve at a shelter or soup kitchen as a family, and volunteer time to help others less fortunate. This is a great tradition to establish with your family, and can be one of the most meaningful events of your holiday.
My daughter and I volunteered with Mission of Hope, one of the outreaches of our local church, to help feed the homeless under a bridge in a nearby city.
After The Meal:
- Gather the group for some after dinner exercise; go ice skating, hiking on a local trail, walk the neighborhood, a little backyard football, etc. Choose something fun for everyone to participate.
- Play games – board games, Pictionary, etc. Set up card tables for various types of games that folks will want to play. Once the dining table is cleared, set up a big game of Uno or card games.
- Indulge in a Netflix marathon of holiday movies or a favorite TV series.
- If you are an Amazon Prime member, stream holiday movies.
- Go to the movies; put the clan in the car and drive to the theater.
What are your favorite family traditions?
Each family has their favorite family traditions. Choose what works for you and your family. And do not try to make things perfect! Don’t stress about imperfections. Sometimes the best time spent with family includes things that are imperfect and messy. The most important aspect is the time spent with family and friends.