Many people have great memories of long-standing family traditions for Thanksgiving. Others remember the meal and that’s about it. Traditions build memories and give something to look forward to. If you haven’t already, why not start some Thanksgiving traditions of your own this year? Build some lasting memories that your family will remember and cherish for years to come using these simple ideas.
9 Simple Family Traditions for Thanksgiving
Thankfulness Tree – Thankfulness Trees in various forms have been all over Pinterest for the past few years. They are easy to create and they let your family think about their blessings in the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving.
Gather a few, small tree or shrub branches and put them in a large flower vase. Next, cut out construction paper leaves. Using a hole punch, make holes in one end of the leaf and loop string through the hole so that the leaves can be hung on the tree. Each day of November, have family members write something they are thankful for on a leaf and hang it on the tree. By Thanksgiving Day you will have an entire tree of blessings!
Share Your Thankfulness – Before everyone digs into the delicious Thanksgiving feast, go around the table and have each person share something they are thankful for. If you have a small-ish family, you could even have each person say something they are thankful for about each person sitting at the table.
Visit a Local Nursing Home – You would shocked at the number of nursing home residents who never get visitors, even on special holidays. Make this Thanksgiving different for them, by stopping by to visit a few lonely residents. Call ahead of time and speak to the facility’s social worker for some names of people you can visit. Have the kids make cards ahead of time to give to them.
Nature Walk – You might not feel like it at first, but after a huge meal like the Thanksgiving feast, a walk can make you feel so much better. Grab the family and take a nature walk. You might go on a local trail or just a walk around the neighborhood. Take the time to notice the nature around you. Have younger kids do a scavenger hunt or begin a nature journal.
Help Feed The Hungry – While you might have an entire feast at your home, there are many who cannot afford that feast or a home for that matter. Volunteer as a family at a local shelter or soup kitchen to serve Thanksgiving dinner to those less fortunate. Get to know some of the people and their stories. Consider making this a year-round (not just at the holidays) tradition. Even younger kids can spoon mashed potatoes onto a plate or make drawings to give as little gifts. If this isn’t possible for you, check with local churches or ministries to see if they are collecting Thanksgiving food baskets. You wouldn’t need to make these about a week ahead of Thanksgiving, but I still consider that a Thanksgiving tradition!
Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade – Since I was a little girl, this has been one of my favorite Thanskgiving traditions. Growing up, we always started Thanksgiving Day cuddled up on the couch with the family watching a national Thanksgiving tradition, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade! Make a special breakfast treat and watch the floats and listen to the marching bands. You may even get to see a band from your own state!
Decorate For Christmas – For many, Thanksgiving marks the beginning of the holiday season and as soon as Thanksgiving Day is over Christmas begins. While you have the entire family assembled, have fun together decorating the house for Christmas. If you’re not quite ready to put up the tree, perhaps spending some time making salt dough Christmas ornaments will work instead.
Board Games – Family members of all ages can enjoy board games together. Gather Grandma and Grandpa, Uncle Joe, and the kids around the table. Play old favorites or buy a new game for everyone to try each year.
Movie Day – After stuffing yourselves with turkey and dressing, you might not be able to move. Roll everyone over to the couch and declare Thanksgiving as Family Movie Day. Have a movie marathon of your family’s favorites or a few that you have all been waiting to see. You can always count on Christmas movies playing all day long on some TV channels, such as Hallmark. Or you could stream from services such as Netflix, Hulu, Pureflix, or Amazon Video.
This is just a beginning list of fun ideas you can use to begin making some Thanksgiving tradition memories. There are many other possibilities, probably some you’ve already considerd.