Thursday, November 8, 2012

Thanksgiving Traditions

I love Thanksgiving. Sadly, it gets overlooked sometimes because it's sandwiched between two other great holidays. Here are a few ideas to really help celebrate the Thanksgiving season!!

What do you do to make Thanksgiving important and special for your family?

Photo by Oh SO Savvy mom

Nancy: I like to start a "thankful project" with my kids 10 days or so before Thanksgiving. Sometimes we make a paper chain and write all the things we are thankful for on each link of the chain. Other years we make a tree out of a branch and construction paper for the leaves on which we write the thankful lists. This year I'm going to have my children write or draw what they're thankful for on our cupboard chalkboard. I love kids' handwriting and spelling. That's one thing I'm thankful for - so why not make it decor :).

 I also like to do different things every year to make it fun. Last year we went to the zoo to watch the elephants eat their pumpkin breakfast and then we went out to eat... Lest you think I'm a heathen for being "nontraditional",  I did not have to cook or clean or even wash a single dish. It was heavenly, and I got to spend every minute with my family. No stress at all, and we even spent waaaay less $$ than the years we've hosted it for the extended family. The most important part to me is having fun and happy memories with my family.

photo by Martha Stewart
 Jenn: One tradition our family has started within the last few years is having a pie eating party. Sometimes we have it the night before Thanksgiving, and other times we do it that night.  We all bring one or two different kinds of pies and sample them all. It's almost more fun than the actual Thanksgiving dinner!! 


Jan:  For the first seven years of marriage we went to Arizona with my husband's family to a Cabin.  We would usually spend  four or five days there with all of the Aunts, Uncles and Cousins.  We ate great food, played games and just relaxed in the Cabin.  Since then we have switched back and forth with each others' families.  The day is usually spent eating and playing games.  As for our little family,  if the weather is good we like to take a family bike ride before we go get stuffed.   This year we started November with our Give Thanks notes.  We have also done a paper chain like Nancy and write on the strips of paper what we are thankful for.

photo by Lidbeck-brent
Maren: Every Thanksgiving my dad stands up before we bless the meal and gives a little speech. Sometimes he talks about the origins of the holiday, past Thanksgivings or blessings and things he's grateful for. He is a great orator and it really sets the tone for the rest of the day.
Our family is massive (I'm the 15th child and the baby) and so the only place that can comfortably hold us is the church. One of my favorite memories was after the meal everyone was scattered throughout the church, playing basketball, tag, whatever and a bunch of us adults somehow ended up in the nursery with all the babies and toys. We just sat in a circle and told stories and talked for hours. It just goes to show that it doesn't matter what you have or don't have (a mansion to hold all my kin) having your family is the best blessing of all. 

What are your Thanksgiving traditions? Or what do you want to try this year?

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