Create Thanksgiving Traditions for Your Family

A Feast!
A Feast!

Thanksgiving brings thoughts of feasts, football, and full bellies for many homes. I sure do love making a huge spread of delicious foods with my mom for our Thanksgiving gathering. I enjoy having the Macy's Day Parade in the background, and I love that my daughter is enjoying watching this on TV just as I did at a young age. I also enjoy our reflective moments as we count our blessings. Some traditions just give me warm fuzzies.

What are you Thankful for?

True the amazing food may honestly be the most thrilling part of the holiday for me, but one of my favorite moments is recalling our blessings in life. Growing up, as we sat at the table together as a family (with special guests depending on the year), my Mom always had us go around the table and share what we were thankful for. This became a reflection time, recalling the year that was soon coming to an end. We remembered the good times and we even noted the rough moments with thankfulness to God and family for seeing us through.

Since having my own children, I find that during certain holidays I want to high-light its importance by creating special activities or teachable moments for my kids. With Thanksgiving, I hope to instill a sense of thankfulness in their hearts.

At preschool ages, we have to be creative. Here's a few ideas to engage little ones in the area of gratitude:

Here's what a Thankfulness Turkey might look like.
Here's what a Thankfulness Turkey might look like. | Source

1. A Thankfulness Turkey: Create the body, head, and feet of turkey from a large piece of paper. Cut out feathers for each member of the family and for your Thanksgiving guests. Each person writes what they are thankful for on the feathers given. Then, tape or glue the feathers to the "Thankfulness Turkey." Want to learn more? Take a look.

2. Alphabet Thanks. Incorporate the alphabet. Print out each letter on a piece of paper and go down the list trying to think of things you are thankful for that start with the corresponding letter. Younger children may need some help with certain letters, but this could be a great teaching opportunity too.

3. Stick the Turkey on Your Blessings. Why not buy some Thanksgiving stickers and let your little ones stick stickers on items or people they are thankful for in life. If your little ones are anything like mine, they would welcome the sticker fun.

How about other ways to creatively reflect on your blessings as a family?

1. A few days before Thanksgiving, create a list of things your family is most thankful for. Then, make "blessings" bingo cards with the squares filled with words you are thankful for. Also make sure you put all of those words individually on small pieces of paper to draw out of a bowl later. A board is typically made up of 25 squares (5 rows down by 5 rows across) with one free square in the middle. I'd guess you'd want to come up with about 50 words for board variations, so make your list specific (ex: Use people's names. Don't just write "home" rather say, "Bed," "A Warm Shower," "A Refridgerator."). Take turns drawing the blessing words out of a bowl and see who gets bingo first. Use pennies or poker chips or pieces of paper to cover your bingo squares. First one with 5 in a row (or diagonal) wins.

2. Give everyone one minute to jot a list of everything they are thankful for. Read through the lists giving legitimate thoughts for WHY you're thankful for the person, place, item, etc. The longest legitimate list wins. OR each person reads through their list and if anyone has a the same item on their list, you both have to scratch it off your list. The one with the most original legitimate blessings on their list wins.

3. On Thankgiving day, jot down things you are MOST thankful for. Often this will include family, home, clothes, food. Then brainstorm ways you could bless others in this area. For example, you could bless someone with food by helping at a local soup kitchen. You could bless someone with clothes by giving away some of your own clothes to a shelter or purchasing coats to give to a homeless shelter that they could pass out for the winter. You could go visit people at a nursing home in order to bless someone that may not have loved ones nearby. Make a list, create a plan of action, and then see to it that you follow through. Perhaps you can set aside black Friday (the most consumeristic day of the year) to give to someone else. OR You could also do this the weekend before Thanksgiving to set the tone for the week.

Other fun Thanksgiving Activities to make the Day Family Friendly:

1. COOK together. Get everyone involved in the kichen fun.

2. Get out card or board games and interact as a family.

3. Weather permitting, play your own game of football (or toss the ball around) in your yard.

4. If you're really ambitious (and have younger children), get your hands on a large box and let your kids "decorate" their own float using streamers, balloons, wrapping paper, tissue paper, stickers, markers... sky's the limit.

5. A craft idea for families with little ones: Create turkeys out of your handprints. Enjoy the various sizes of turkeys represented in your family. Date them and save them to look back on.

6. Pin the feathers on the turkey. Make a version of "Pin the Tail on the Donkey" by making a large paper cut-out of a turkey. Cut out feathers. Blindfold each player who tries to stick the feather in the most accurate spot.

  • Search around the internet for lots of fun Thanksgiving crafts and recipes to share with your children.
  • Here's a Give Thanks Gratitude Board. What a neat idea!

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Comments 2 comments

Sharyn's Slant profile image

Sharyn's Slant 4 years ago from Northeast Ohio USA

Great ideas Ashlea! My family used to all sit together at two long tables and no one could start eating until each person named one thing they were thankful for. I miss those days. Sometimes, because of the little kids, it would get very silly. Great hub!


RTalloni profile image

RTalloni 4 years ago from the short journey

Some very nice ideas for parents to put on their calendar before end of the the year holiday activities fill it up!

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