Here are some fun and creative Thanksgiving Traditions Old and New!
Traditions enrich our lives and can create meaningful moments and lasting memories. Traditions help preserve the family values we want to pass down to our children and our children’s children. With that said, I wanted to share a few Thanksgiving Traditions old and new that will help your Happy Home experience real gratitude amidst the food and fellowship of the holiday.
Our world is moving faster and faster and this Thanksgiving it time to stop and give thanks for all our blessing. It’s been crazy year and just in this week we’ve suffered the relentless fires here in California and the increasing numbers of mass casualties. It’s a time to reflect on gratitude, thankfulness and love of life this Thanksgiving! Hopefully, you’ll find one of these ideas helpful in incorporating into your own tradition for years to come!
Thanksgiving is the time to hang with family, friends, eat, drink, watch sports as much as your hearts desire and most of us already have our “ways” of doing Thanksgiving. They way our mother did it, ways our extended family did it, ways our neighborhood did it. Thanksgiving doesn’t lend itself well to trying out new things, but sometimes the situation calls for new decisions. It’s time for my family to incorporate some new Thanksgiving traditions now that the kids are getting older and we’ve moved to a new neighborhood in Chatsworth. So what can you do to heighten, deepen, and extend Thanksgiving to its most memorable end?
1. Start the day with an indulgent, relaxing breakfast. While some people are firmly in the “no breakfast” camp to save room for the big meal later, we love the idea of starting the day in such a festive, delicious way! Pancakes, waffles, eggs and even pie, it’s all good.
2. Designate “Me Time”! Thanksgiving is all about the people you love, which can be as wonderful as it is exhausting. Before the house is flooded with the sounds and smells of the holiday, deliberately set aside an hour for everyone to do their own thing with no obligations to cook, clean, or make conversation. Trust us, everyone will be in a better mood for it by the time the celebration really kicks into gear.
3. Create a Memento. Lay out a sheet of paper or sign in book on an unused cabinet (if you have one of those with all the feasting going on) 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 Thanksgivings past, like a time capsule in ink and paper.
4. Pass Down a Family Recipe or Make a New One. If you’ve inherited old recipe cards or cookbooks from family members, there’s no better time to dig into these archives than on the biggest noshing holiday of all. Pick out something in the holiday theme, something that sounds delicious, or just something unusual from a time gone by even if the recipe doesn’t become an immediate hit with your crew, the adventure of trying them out is half the fun. Don’t come from a family of cooks? Not to worry. Take the chance to try something new, like a gluten-free dessert you’ve been dying to try or an ultra-luxe black truffle stuffing, you never know what’s going to become the next family favorite.
5. Teach Each Other. Everybody has a special skillset; from my husband juggling skills, to my son memorization of every states capitol, to your cousin who memorized the one thing you should never drink on a plane. Whether it’s around the table or after clean up, go around and give everyone five minutes to teach the group something from their own repertoire. It doesn’t need to be Earth-shattering or even useful, the point is to learn something fun and new from each other.
6. Remember Lost Loved Ones. On a day made for spending time with the people you care about most, set aside a little of it to think of loved one who have passed on. Get everyone to gather together and share a story or a special moment they remember; through those memories, you keep your loved ones alive in your hearts and can pass on important family legacies to the next generation.
7. Let everyone toast! Another way to make gratitude gushing even more festive is to let everyone make a toast. Raise your glass to the year, to your family, to your friends! “Our family makes toasts for what they are thankful for over the past year during the course of the meal. No one can leave the table until everyone has made a toast. It slows everything down and truly grabs the spirit of the day.”
8. Give the Gift of Tupperware. We’re all for Thanksgiving hostess gifts, and it’s great to bring a potluck item or bottle of wine to contribute, but the number one thing that your average Thanksgiving host runs out of? Food containers. This year, instead of contending with the awkward “what can I bring” quandaries, start the tradition of giving the host what they actually need most and a way to send everyone home with all of those holiday leftovers. Have everyone bring at least one container (preferably labeled to prevent squabbles) to carry their helping of turkey and dressing home in at the end of the night and we promise that your host will really have something to be thankful for.
9. Take a Hike! After eating everything you can possibly put in your mouth and then some. Why not give yourselves a break from the food fest and head outside for a walk instead? The fresh air will help ward off the post dinner urge to snooze, you’ll burn off at least a couple of calories, and it’s the perfect time to enjoy the beauty of autumn before winter slips up on you.
10. Have a Movie Marathon. Prefer your after dinner activities more subdued? Stick to the indoors by picking out a few family favorite Thanksgiving films and really settle in. It may not be the most over the top holiday tradition, but it’s sure to be one that everybody will look forward to.
11. Play a Thankful Guessing Game. At the start of the festivities, have everyone write a few things they’re thankful for on slips of paper and place them into a jar. After dinner is over, let everyone take turns drawing a slip out and try to guess who put which “thanks” into the jar. Not only is it a fun way to see how much you all know about each other, it also encourages everyone to get creative about what they’re tankful for this holiday.
12. Do Good in the World. Counterintuitive as it may seem, Thanksgiving isn’t actually the most helpful day of the year to volunteer at your local soup kitchen; many charities find themselves flooded with one-time volunteers without the space or time to teach them how to help. But that doesn’t mean you can’t make the world a better place on Thanksgiving. Instead of the usual wine or flowers, ask each of your guests to bring canned goods or clothing that you can donate to a local shelter after the holiday. Or sit down together and plan out a day in the future for the whole family to volunteer for a charity.
I’m writing this blog as helicopters are dowsing water on the hills behind my house because of the fire flare ups in Simi Valley. We all have our challenges but Thanksgiving to me is the time to stop, gather with family and friends to give thanks for the many blessings!
I hope you too can incorporate some of these fun traditions into your Thanksgiving day and please let me know what traditions does your own family practice for Thanksgiving?