You’ve got the Thanksgiving menu figured out, the table is set, and the centerpieces are arranged. But there’s likely one thing about the fourth Thursday in November that’s still got you stumped, and that’s how to incorporate new Thanksgiving traditions into your roster of fall family activities.
Don’t get us wrong. We know you’ve already got a few beloved traditions of your own: a football game in the mid-afternoon, making your grandma’s famous pumpkin pie recipe the night before, and so on. But there’s something special about adding entirely fun and new Thanksgiving activities into the mix. Here are some ideas, traditions, and suggestions from our friends at DP Air Corporation:
Pass Around a Journal
Simply pass a blank journal around the Thanksgiving table, asking all the guests to write at least one thing that they are thankful for. For kids too young to write, have an adult transcribe. Over the years, fill the book with comments and enjoy reading them aloud at Thanksgiving celebrations to come.
Kick Off the Holiday Season
These days, the December holiday season kicks off the second the last bite of pie is eaten. Don’t try to fight it. Embrace it. Get matching Christmas pajamas for all the kids and have them all get them on Thanksgiving night. This is a fun way to get the kids excited for what’s to come.
Personalize the Table
Making homemade place cards is something everyone can enjoy – and it makes the table that much more special. Have the kids get involved by having them trace and cut out leaves or collect pine cones from the back yard and turn them into place cards. Collecting items for the table will make a myriad of memories to share!
Create a Memento
Lay out a sheet of butcher paper on an unused cabinet or table or hang one on the wall for all of your guests to sign. At the end of the day, ask everyone to write on it what their favorite part of the Thanksgiving festivities were, then fold the paper up and tuck it away somewhere special. Next year, lay the old sheets out along with the new one for everyone to look back on and remember Thanksgiving past, like a time capsule in ink and paper.
Start With a Big Breakfast
If your family eats Thanksgiving dinner a little on the later side, starting the day with a big breakfast can help keep the hangries at bay. In my family, we put the dads/men/boys in charge of preparing and serving a big breakfast. The night before Thanksgiving they prepare a breakfast casserole so in the morning, all that needs to be done, is throw the casserole in the oven and wah-lah! It’s a fun way to start the day and it keeps everyone full until the feast is ready.
Share Your Thanks in Writing
After dinner, pass out thank you cards and pre-stamped envelopes and have everyone write to someone who made a difference in their lives over the last year. Collect them on the way out the door to send on Black Friday. This gives everyone time to reflect on their year, and will serve as a touching reminder for the recipients as well.
Ask the Kids to Serve Dessert
For a new tradition this Thanksgiving, have the younger guests serve dessert. Kids sometimes feel left out of the big day, especially if your family puts a kids’ table away from the rest of the group. Ask the older children to help cut slices of pie or cake to give to the younger ones to serve. This gets the kids involved and the bonus is, the adults get to relax a little longer!
Bring Your Own Container
Is there anything more frustrating than running out of to-go containers when it’s time to pack up the meal? Prevent that problem by asking each guest to bring their own container for leftovers. You won’t have to spend the rest of the year chasing down yours, and everyone goes home happy.
We hope you and yours have a wonderful Thanksgiving and start to the holiday season!