Thanksgiving is almost here, bringing with it many traditional family activities. This American holiday is the perfect opportunity to rest, see family, and enjoy some fall-themed fun.
While age-old traditions are valuable, it’s never a bad idea to look for new ways to celebrate this special time of year. Here are seven fun Thanksgiving traditions that are perfect for the whole family:
Eat Pie for Breakfast
Many families gather over Thanksgiving to share a large, delicious meal. If you include the traditional turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes, sides, and desserts, there’s no way you can eat all that food at once. So why not relax usual dining etiquette and have dessert first?
Start the day with your family’s traditional Thanksgiving pie – be it pumpkin, cherry, pecan, or apple. This break from your usual routine will be fun for your kids and give them another happy holiday memory.
Have a Cleaning Party
If you’ve had family over for Thanksgiving or decided to use your Grandmother’s fancy china to serve the meal, you likely have a lot of cleaning up to do after everyone’s eaten. Turn this chore into a family party, and get your kids involved with sorting, stacking, and wiping.
Turn on some fun music (Charlie Brown, anyone?) and get everyone involved. You can handle the delicate china while your kids wipe counters and pick up anything that’s fallen on the floor. You’ll finish before you know it, and your group “cleaning party” may actually become an anticipated part of your annual gathering.
Go for a Fall Walk… or Sleep
After eating the Thanksgiving meal, you have two options – you can take a nap or go for a walk. A nap may be the perfect way to unwind after so much activity in you have young kids. However, it could interrupt your kids’ sleep patterns, and ultimately a walk will do more to help you digest your meal.
Walking helps to wake up your digestive system and regulate your blood sugar. It’s a good idea to wait a short amount of time before walking if you’ve just had a large meal like Thanksgiving dinner (cue cleaning party!). However, taking a family walk after about an hour can be a wonderful family tradition and is another way to celebrate the beautiful fall weather.
Revisit Thanksgiving History
This holiday is the perfect opportunity to revisit some history with your kids. Thanksgiving as a practice is older than the United States – the first American Thanksgiving celebration was given in 1621 when European colonists and Native Americans from the Wampanoag tribe shared a meal.
After arrival in America, the colonists initially struggled to cultivate food and dealt with many hardships. However, with the Wampanoag tribe’s help, by 1621, they had an abundant harvest and had regained hope for their futures. Thanksgiving was declared a national holiday by President Lincoln in 1863 during the American Civil War.
Give Thanks Together
While everyone’s gathered and before you eat, consider going around the table and sharing what you’re thankful for. Some years are hard, but practicing gratitude increases joy and can change your whole outlook on life. Gratitude is an excellent skill to practice with your children!
You could also incorporate a thankful tree or jar into your Thanksgiving holiday. Have family members write down things they’re grateful for, and display them either on a wire tree or in a decorative jar. At dinner, you can go through these notes together – or save them for a family scrapbook.
Share Your Bounty
For people who have just moved or are missing loved ones, Thanksgiving can be a lonely holiday. Think about the people you know and who you could invite to join in your family traditions. Thanksgiving is an excellent opportunity to teach your kids the value of sharing blessings with others.
Another way to care for others over this holiday is to donate to food drives or charities that address hunger. Thanksgiving traditionally includes a huge meal, and it’s fitting to celebrate your good fortune by doing what you can to feed others. Your kids may have a greater appreciation for their blessings if they realize not everyone shares them.
Create a Unique Tradition
Thanksgiving looks a little different for everyone. Take this opportunity to brainstorm some new ideas for how to celebrate with your family. Ask these questions to help craft the perfect new tradition:
- What makes your family unique?
- What is your favorite fall activity?
- What does “relaxing” mean to you?
- What is your favorite way to make memories?
- What is something fun you’ve always wanted to do?
Get your kids involved in this, and have everyone share their thoughts. With some time and conversation, you can design the perfect Thanksgiving tradition to reflect your family values.
Time to Carve the Turkey
Remember, traditions are things you do every year because they hold meaning for you and your family. If you try something new and it doesn’t stick, you can always try something else next year.
The most important thing is that you’re reflecting on your blessings, and you’re doing it together. Happy Thanksgiving!