Between the excitement around holidays like Halloween and Christmas, Thanksgiving can sometimes get lost in the shuffle. That said, for many people, Thanksgiving is one of the only times that they get to celebrate with their families or chosen families. Here are some Thanksgiving traditions to start with your kids and family to make this underrated holiday even more special.
As you reflect on all the great things you have to be thankful for, keep in mind that some people are not as fortunate. During the holiday season, consider involving your kids in some volunteer work. Here are a couple of ideas for volunteer work that you can do as a family on Thanksgiving:
- Go to a local soup kitchen and help to serve a meal. While you’re there, encourage your kids to spend time getting to know the people. That way, they can learn the importance of gratitude.
- Head to the grocery store with your kids in tow and allow them to pick out canned goods and snacks to be donated. You can also encourage your little ones to help you clean out the pantry and bring a donation to a local food bank.
- Create hygiene kits filled with essential toiletries and grooming items to hand out to the homeless to help them get through the next couple of weeks. This is a great opportunity to teach your children about giving back.
- Decorate plastic containers and fill them with an assortment of toys and games to deliver to children at hospitals in your area. Not all kids get to spend the holidays with their families, and a small gesture like bringing them toys can make a big difference.
Why not sign up for a turkey trot in your area to get some exercise before digging into a Thanksgiving feast? It’s a great way to jumpstart a day that is focused on food, plus there’s always a positive and exciting energy around these races. You don’t need to be an experienced runner - most participants in such events are simply looking to break a sweat and enjoy each other’s company, and you’ll find that even the spectators are eager to cheer you on.
If running isn’t your thing, there’s always the option to walk. Get your kids involved by signing them up for a kid’s fun run. For an even more festive and fun run, dress up in goofy costumes and laugh all the way to the finish line.
If you’re not up for a run on Thanksgiving, opt to go for a family walk after a hearty dinner to get your blood pumping. Remember to dress warmly if you live in a cold climate and bring a couple of flashlights if it’s in the evening and go for a stroll around your neighborhood. Taking a walk gives everyone the opportunity to catch up and connect, as well.3. Share what you’re thankful for
Historically, Thanksgiving is all about giving thanks for blessings. Take this aspect of this special holiday and encourage your kids and family as a whole to focus on the positive things in your life and to appreciate all the wonderful things they have to be thankful for. Thanksgiving dinner presents a great opportunity to go around the table and have everyone share what they’re most grateful for. You’ll enjoy hearing the different answers, and it may even encourage your reserved kid to talk and participate.
4. Have a special breakfast
The main meal focus on Thanksgiving is typically dinner, which means breakfast tends to take a backseat. If your family gathers for Thanksgiving dinner a little later on the side, a nice tradition to start is sitting down for a heart breakfast in the morning. Some of the breakfast delicacies to stave off your hunger on this festive day include pumpkin scones, homemade pancakes, bagels, quiche and egg casserole, and Thanksgiving-themed pastries, to mention a few.
5. Watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and/or Thanksgiving movies
A fun tradition for many families on Thanksgiving is watching the Macy Thanksgiving Day Parade. It typically features jaw-dropping floats and a host of entertaining performers. Get up early with your kids, snuggle up on the couch, and enjoy the parade. It’s a great way to start your day and something your little ones look forward to every Thanksgiving morning.
After Thanksgiving dinner, you can unwind by cozying up in front of the TV to enjoy some more screen-based bonding. You can watch Thanksgiving-themed movies such as Free Birds and A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving.
6. Assign each child a special task
Kids love being involved, and getting them to help out on Thanksgiving will make them feel special. Get the kids involved in the preparations by having them bring in chairs from the garage or set the table for Thanksgiving dinner while the adults finish preparing the food. When your kids know that every year they have a special task on Thanksgiving, they’ll look forward to helping out.
You can even take it a step further and have the older kids help prepare the Thanksgiving meal. Whether they simply test taste the gravy or season the turkey, they’ll love being an important part of the big day. Plus, it will help them learn just how much work goes into making Thanksgiving special.
7. Celebrate everyone’s birthday
This is a great tradition to start if you don’t get to see family members or friends as often as you’d like. Create decorations and have cake to celebrate all the birthdays that you didn’t get to celebrate as a group, and encourage everyone to sing Happy Birthday. That way, everyone gets to enjoy their special day with their nearest and dearest, even if they can’t be together on the actual date.
8. Make Thanksgiving-themed crafts
A Thanksgiving craft is a great way for the kids and kids-at-heart to keep busy as they wait for dinner. You can set up a station for clothespin, handprint, or paper plate turkeys.
9. Play a family-friendly football game
For many families, Thanksgiving is synonymous with football. Take a break from watching the game on TV to toss the ball around with your kids.
Thanksgiving is a time to spend with family and friends. These traditions can help elevate the holiday and give you something to look forward to other than food.