10 Memorable Thanksgiving Traditions Worth Starting this Year

Written by TYE Medical on Nov 18th 2020

10 Memorable Thanksgiving Traditions Worth Starting this Year

New (or revived) Thanksgiving traditions might be the key to a more joy-filled holiday season this year. If preparations seem overly stressful and your post-dinner Thanksgiving Day feels anticlimactic – then is the year to bring change!

Experts say that family traditions benefit adults and children alike by:

        • Creating life-long memories
        • Nurturing a sense of belonging
        • Strengthening family values
        • Connecting generations
        • Promoting joy and wellbeing

Bring your family together in a deeper way this year by incorporating some of these fun and meaningful family traditions. (And maybe let your kids or grandkids choose one or two!)

1. Enjoy a Pie Breakfast

It’s best to eat something the morning of Thanksgiving to avoid large fluctuations in blood sugar. You’ll also want to prevent getting “hangry” or irritable from hunger. Besides, if you starve yourself for the first half of the day, you’re more likely to gorge yourself at dinner (and then deeply regret it).

So, if you’re going to have breakfast on Thanksgiving morning, why not turn it into a fun family tradition? Kids and adults alike will look forward to a pie breakfast to kickstart their day. Just be sure to make enough pies in advance for both breakfast and dessert! This is guaranteed to be a kid favorite!

Hands held upwards2. Pass a Journal of Thanks

Pass a journal to each of your guests while they’re waiting for dinner and ask everyone to write at least one thing they’re thankful for. Even young children can participate when adults or teens write for them. By the time the journal has been passed to each guest, you’ll have pages of gratitude to reflect on each year.

Additionally, before or after dinner, you can opt to read the journal out loud (with or without names attached). As the years pass, you and your loved one will fill the notebook with “thanks”.

3. Make Place Cards a Kids’ Craft

Let your kids or grandkids take center stage in this Thanksgiving tradition. Provide them with art supplies and let them create personalized place cards for each guest. They can trace patterns to create colorful autumn leaves or collect pinecones from the yard to add a seasonal touch. Younger children will enjoy crafting a Thanksgiving turkey by tracing their hands. Allow them to write each guest’s name on the place cards and invite everyone to take theirs home as a keepsake.

Be Our Guest4. Share Dinner with Others

Not everyone you know likely has a place to go on Thanksgiving Day. Some people are new in town, far from loved ones, or don’t have close relationships with their family. Invite them to join your holiday festivities and make these invitations part of your Thanksgiving tradition each year.

If your would-be guest declines the invitation and decides to stay home, bring some leftovers to their door. To put them at ease, let them know you had plenty of extra food and thought they would enjoy some. Do your best to keep them from feeling like they’re receiving charity.

5. Volunteer Together

This time of year you’ll find many volunteer opportunities that can become Thanksgiving traditions for your family. Serving others together strengthens family bonds and values while also giving back to the community. Research local volunteer opportunities to decide what is most suitable for your family this year. The ages of your children or grandchildren will likely determine where you volunteer. Here are some kid-friendly ideas to get started!

6. Start the Christmas Countdown

As your Thanksgiving Day winds to a close, the rest of the world will be gearing up for Christmas. While you don’t need to rush out to the stores for early Black Friday shopping (unless you want to), you can still kick off the coming season with Thanksgiving traditions. Some simple ideas include an ornament exchange (arranged in advance) or breaking out a set of Christmas pajamas once your guests leave. (If you have room in your budget, spring for a matching set for your family!)

7. Schedule a Connection Hour

If all your family members can’t make it to a shared dinner this year, then connect virtually on Thanksgiving Day. Schedule about an hour when the family can gather around a computer or stop by individually to greet and chat with those who couldn’t join you. Be sure to test your connection and setup in advance. Determine whether before, during, or after dinner will work best for everyone.

A family plays charades together8. Play Charades

If your group is ready for some fun, nothing will generate laughter like an old-school game of charades. It’s a perfect Thanksgiving tradition because it appeals to every age. If your family has some tense relationships, this game will add some lightness as you laugh at yourselves and each other.

You’ll just need a notepad, pen, and stopwatch to play. For family events, playing with teams is a great option. Click here for instructions and charades topic generator.

9. Take a Post-Dinner Walk

An after-dinner walk is a great way to connect and burn off calories. You can vary this Thanksgiving tradition according to how many guests you have. Small families can walk together, or larger ones can divide up into smaller groups. Is there a trail or a park near your house? If not, walk around the neighborhood – and enjoy the autumn weather.

10. Coordinate a Wishbone Scavenger Hunt

Ask teens and interested adults to create scavenger hunt clues that will lead kids to the secret wishbone location. Then have them hide the clues around the house (and maybe outdoors). In this Thanksgiving tradition, the winner gets to take home the wishbone and any other prize you want to include. Seal the bone in a Ziploc bag so they can take it home to dry out before breaking.

Thanksgiving Traditions for Your Family

Choose one or two traditions to try this year and see how your family responds. Next year, you can always something different. You’ll know you have a winner when they’re requesting your new Thanksgiving tradition for next year!

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