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Thanksgiving Traditions to Treasure

Thanksgiving Traditions to Treasure

Thanksgiving is a season for tradition. Every year, families gather, eat turkey, watch a little football, and give thanks for their blessings. But have you ever considered building on these traditions with other meaningful activities? Here are a few ideas to inspire you.

Thanksgiving Eve Meal
Begin the celebration the night before with a simple meal such as pizza or Chinese food. Or make a meal off everyone’s favorite appetizers.

Help the Needy

Why not ask family and friends coming over for Thanksgiving dinner to bring a bag of canned goods for a local food pantry. Or suggest your family volunteer together at a soup kitchen over the holiday weekend.

Thankful Box
Have each person write what he or she is most thankful for on a slip of paper and place it in a box. Ask the children to read these to everyone after the meal.

Invite New Friends

Reach out to those without family close by and invite them to share Thanksgiving with your family. Singles, college students, widows, and widowers will be thankful to have people to celebrate the holiday with.

Crafts for Shut-Ins
Stock up on craft supplies and let the kids make cards, pictures, and decorations to take to the local nursing home or a home-bound neighbor.

Thank Those Who Serve the Community
Deliver a basket of fruit or tray of goodies to a local hero, such as a firefighter, police officer, or military member.

Game Time
Pull out the board games or a deck of cards for family fun. Or create your own game such as “Name That Family Member.”

Draw Names for Christmas
Take the opportunity while everyone is together to draw names for Christmas. Have each person write their name and a short wish list on a slip of paper, then collect in a hat for the drawing. Then everyone will be ready when they hit the stores on Black Friday!

Deck the Halls
Go for a walk in the woods and collect greenery for wreaths and garlands for holiday decorating.

What are some of your traditions?

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  • william Emmons says:

    Each Thanksgiving my wife and I invite our own kids and grand kids, and those from church who are single mothers, the elderly and those who have no family near by. We set up the menu and ask those coming to bring a single item on it and a favorite traditional dish from their own family. We always do the turkey! Before we eat each person gets to say what they are thankful for and then as the head of my home I have the privilege to pray for those gathered and to ask God’s blessing on our meal and those around our table. There is never a dry eye by the time we begin to eat!

  • WandaF says:

    All of you who have commented thus far have some really nice traditions. In my family, we like to observe a few moments of silence before we sit down to eat. I’m thankful for every meal everyday, but on Thanksgiving, it’s just so sad to think of how many people the world over who can’t gather around a table and enjoy the holiday meal with their friends and/or family. My children and I take time out to remember the less fortunate like the lost & missing, the homeless, the sick & shut-in, those who are having to rebuild their lives in the aftermath of a natural disaster, the families of murder victims, military personnel, etc. We hope that somehow they’ll know that people remember and care everyday, but especially on Thanksgiving Day.

  • Patricia Chace says:

    My husband and I now reside in Florida. We always had a very traditional Thanksgiving.With us being in Florida, do not get back to Ma. we do go in summer for a family vacations. I passed on the tradiotional Torch so to speak to our oldest daughter who lives in Ma. South of Boston and carries on the family tradiotion with siblings, her and hubby’s sons, Sons wives, and twin boys granchildren.
    I miss that but we keep in contact being a close family.

  • xlncc says:

    I teach 2nd grade, and at school we celebrate Wampanoag style. There will be many years to learn about, and celebrate the Pilgrims. But in my class, we make a Wampanoag-style meal. My whole grade level has embraced the idea, and up and down the halls waft the delicious aromas of bean and turkey stews.

  • Claire says:

    I create my own word search puzzles for family and friends to do. The puzzles have whatever holiday themed words appropriate for that day. We already had started the Thanksgiving eve tradition. I like the craft ideas.

  • Hillbilly Gardener says:

    Besides the usual gathering of family and the over-consumption of food starting long before the full meal is complete, it has been a family tradition to light the outside Christmas decorations at dusk on Thanksgiving Day. This tradition began when I was a child and is now carried on by our children and is being taught to our grandchildren. However, this year our tradition is being broken in that we have lit the outside decorations for the benefit of an elderly neighbor who enjoys the decorations of this season so much and we do not expect her to be able to enjoy them beyond this Christmas. Another reason for this break is for the benefit of her in-home caregiver, who lost her daughter at this time of year and receives a much-needed pick me up when we light the outside decorations.

    Another tradition for us is to make Thanksgiving more than a single day of the year in which to enjoy a day off work, a lot of food and perhaps a parade and a football game. Thanksgiving for us is a way of thinking that results in weeks of anticipation culminating in 2 weeks of festive activity that includes putting up the outdoor Christmas decorations in the week or two prior to Thanksgiving through the Thanksgiving day itself. This then concludes in putting up the Christmas decorations indoors during the weekend after Thanksgiving day. In years past, these activities were enjoyed by my wife, myself and children and now our grandchildren are joining in with this tradition.

  • Donna says:

    Each Thanksgiving, I write a poem, and paste it to a picture of a turkey. I then hide the “turkey” under someone’s plate and before we sit down to eat, everyone has to check under their plate to see who gets to read the poem!

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