Want to make Thanksgiving more special and meaningful? Incorporate some of these traditions into your family Thanksgiving!
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I sometimes wonder whether Thanksgiving gets its fair dues.
It’s so easy in our anticipation of Christmas – the decorating, the baking, the shopping, oh my! – to lose Thanksgiving in the shuffle.
It’s so easy to let all the planning and preparation of the day overshadow its significance.
It’s so easy to jump right into sales and deals before the turkey has even cooled.
None of us mean for it to happen, but it happens just the same. So, what can we do about it? How can we give Thanksgiving a bigger seat at the holiday table?
By establishing meaningful Thanksgiving traditions for our family.
10 Family Thanksgiving Traditions to Make it More Meaningful
Want to make Thanksgiving more special and meaningful? Here are some Thanksgiving traditions you can do as a family:
1. Express your gratitude
Foster grateful hearts in your kids (and yourself!) by taking turns reflecting on what you are thankful for. Use these gratitude prompts to teach and model thankfulness.
2. Keep a Thanksgiving journal
I read about this idea somewhere and LOVED it! Buy a journal and pass it around the room for everyone to write down what they’re thankful for. Keep the journal and use it year after year. Each Thanksgiving, go back and read through some of the previous entries – it will be a precious memorial of your blessings over the years!
3. Look through family photo albums
Thanksgiving is the perfect time to go through family photo albums and remember life’s greatest blessings. And what a special thing to do as a family! Not only will it put you in a thankful frame of mind, it’s a great bonding activity, as well.
4. Open your home
Cultivate a family culture of hospitality, service, and welcoming others into your home by hosting a Friendsgiving celebration. You might also look for people who may not have a place to go for Thanksgiving, and invite them to your family dinner.
Related Post: 5 Ways to Build the Family Culture You Want
Start a Thanksgiving tradition of using your time and resources to serve others. Soup kitchens and the like are great, but they’re usually overrun with volunteers on Thanksgiving Day. As an alternative, you could help an elderly neighbor, organize a neighborhood clean-up, or donate food/clothing/supplies to a pantry or shelter. You could also make plans to volunteer on a different day!
6. Involve your kids in the prep
I know, cooking, cleaning, and setting up a table are 100x easier without kids underfoot. But instead of shooing them OUT of the kitchen/dining room, consider drawing them IN. Have each kid choose a simple dish to make, or give them a special job to do, such as setting or decorating the table, making name cards, or greeting and entertaining guests when they arrive. They’ll love feeling important, and the connections you’ll nurture will be well-worth the added time and energy.
Related Post: The Ultimate Thanksgiving Round-Up
7. Make your own meaningful decor
Instead of buying the “perfect” Thanksgiving decor, consider making your own! Use a large piece of butcher paper as a tablecloth, and let everyone write down what they’re thankful for. Make homemade place cards for each person with notes (or pictures) describing what you love about them. Or make a Thanksgiving centerpiece that exemplifies certain aspects of your family or highlights from the year.
8. Share family stories
Family stories are so precious, and Thanksgiving is the perfect time of year to share them. Ask older family members about their childhood, share some of your own favorite moments, or reflect on some of your family’s highlights from the past year.
9. Write thank-you notes
This is another idea I read and loved because it really gets to the heart of Thanksgiving. Place a thank-you card and envelope at each seat (or pass them around after dinner). Have each person write a note to someone who has impacted his/her life. Collect the cards and mail them the next day.
10. Do a fun activity
Make sure your Thanksgiving is more than frenzied preparations and post-feast naps. Resist the urge to crash on the couch with your noses in your phones, and do something as a family! Go for an after-dinner walk, play a game of football, participate in a local Turkey Trot (though that’s more than likely a morning activity), play board games, or watch a Thanksgiving movie together.
Related post: 30+ Movies to Watch As a Family
SHARE WITH US: Do you have any other fun family Thanksgiving traditions to make the day more meaningful? Share them in the comments below!
YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE:
- 10 Ways to Practice Gratitude All Year
- 5 Ways to Cultivate Gratitude in Kids at Christmas
- The Ultimate Thanksgiving Round-Up
- 25 Family Christmas Traditions
- How You Can Make Your Holidays More Sacred (And Less Stressed)