Thanksgiving is here. . . and it is my most favorite time of year. For me, it’s the official beginning of the holiday season. It’s a day filled with traditions from the moment I wake up till the hour I finally fall asleep. Where to begin? The day starts with a styrofoam cup of hot chocolate and a Philly soft pretzel that I eat while watching the annual Thanksgiving Parade along the streets of Center City. Then after Santa has officially arrived and thrown me my first candy cane of the season, I head home to thaw out. I snuggle up on the couch and try to begin writing my annual Christmas letter before the hustle and bustle of the season comes upon me and I am feeling not-so-thankful for my crazy busy life. In the afternoon, we have a huge dinner with my husband’s entire family – and we’re not talking a table set for 12. . .try more like 37 people! Picture endless rows of folding tables spilling out of the dining room into the living room and don’t forget the kid’s table out in the kitchen all set with special name tents designed by the once 8 year old who is now about to graduate high school! After the glutonous meal, which by the way, is a tradition in and of itself. Hello? When else would I choose to eat fruit in the shape of a cyclinder (that my mom used to pass off as jello) and think that the meal was not complete without it. Or the turkey, in our house there’s actually two birds to help feed the masses. . so many choices. . . white meat, dark meat, roasted or fried and the legs. . don’t even get me started on how the legs have been claimed by certain members of the family since my husband was a toddler! But, that’s what makes this day great. It is over-flowing with tradition. . . and I have to say my personal favorite one is gathering all the circulars after everyone goes to bed and mapping out my Black Friday Shopping Extravaganza. Yep that’s right. . as if the day didn’t have enough going for it. . I spend hours pouring over the best deals to be had and get only a few hours of sleep before starting the next tradition-filled day of my life!
So this year, consider what traditions your family has. . maybe its jammed-pack like mine or maybe its time to start a few new ones. Here are some ideas to get you started:
Cut out as many leaves in autumn-colored papers as you have guests. Ask each guest to write down what they are thankful for and place them on the tree, or in a basket or bowl on the dinner table. Then, after dinner, take turns reading them as you enjoy that slice of pumpkin pie.
For the young ones in the family, make a home-made turkey craft. Start by tracing their hands to serve as the body of the turkey and then have them fill out five feather shapes and write on them five things they are thankful for. I will be great to capture what the wee-ones appreciate.
Let the games begin. . . start an annual tradition of playing flag football with the family. This tradition is sure to spark the competitive juices in the family! Make it extra special by creating a keepsake with pictures, scores, star players and journal all of the funny stories from the day. Each year add new pages to the book and take time to reflect on the past year’s celebrations.
Thanksgiving is a wonderful time to express appreciation to someone that has done something special for you, or touched your life in some way. It’s often those that we are closest with that we forget to show our appreciation. Create a booklet for each dinner guest with prompts like “ A favorite time with you was. . . What I admire about you is. . . I’m thankful for the way you . . . “ and have guests pick up individual’s books and fill them out in. At the end of the night, guests will go home with a book full of love and appreciation!
Do you have any family traditions that you would like to share? Leave a comment below.
Thanks to Dawn G. for submitting these great ideas for starting fun Thanksgiving traditions