Thanksgiving dinner is often spent among family, friends, and lots of food. But between the mountains of mashed potatoes and too much turkey, it’s easy to forget that this holiday is rooted in simplicity and gratitude. To help you make this Thanksgiving more meaningful, try one of these fun and memorable activities that bring the whole family together.
Gratitude Jars are a popular and simple way to get your family thinking about the meaning behind Thanksgiving all month long. Set an empty jar out in early November, along with some note cards and pens or pencils, and leave it out until Thanksgiving Day. Encourage your family members to write down something they’re thankful for each day: their home, their siblings, the family cat - anything! Have them slip their response in the jar. After Thanksgiving dinner, pass around the jar and read your responses aloud over pumpkin pie. Giving thanks as a family will be an inspiring bonding experience - one that will lead to countless smiles and laughs, and remind you and your family to take time to appreciate the little things.
Another tradition to try this holiday - start your family’s very own Book of Thanks. Gather your family and friends together before dinner for a quick photo. Afterwards, pass around a blank scrapbook for everyone to sign and write down what they’re thankful for (don’t forget to leave room for the photo to go in after it’s printed). Each year, keep the tradition alive by taking a photo and having your guests sign the Book of Thanks. It’s a great way to look back and relive all your Thanksgiving memories, and will make for a touching family keepsake. (Credit: Eighteen25)
This Turkey Table Runner will double as an adorable Thanksgiving dinner decoration and a fun family tradition. With some acrylic paint, paint your little one’s hands to have them stamp along a table runner (you can find simple ones at IKEA or your local craft store). Then, have them embellish their prints with a beak and some feet or feathers to make them look like turkeys, and have them sign their names. Be sure to record the year next to their “turkeys” and let dry. Once it’s finished, you can set out your runner for Thanksgiving dinner. Your family and friends will love looking at your little ones' masterpieces. Keep the tradition alive by having your children stamp and sign every November, just in time to set out the runner for your Thanksgiving feast. Looking back on how their handprints and handwriting changed through the years will make for a great conversation starter at dinner and lots of heartwarming memories.
Have a big family? Get to know each other on a new level with a game of Family Trivia. Before dinner, have everyone write down a fun fact about themselves and stick their responses into a hat or bag. Playing family “Guess Who?” is a fun way to reintroduce older family members to the little ones and learn something new about your relatives. “Aunt Debbie rode an elephant in India?” “Wait, I didn’t know Grandpa Joe won the state championship in basketball, did you?” Kids of all ages will be stunned by the adults’ interesting former lives, leading to lots of entertaining stories. Plus it’s easy to play during dinner or dessert. To add to the fun, break out your old family photo albums and home videos after you play.
Whichever new tradition you decide to try this Thanksgiving, you can incorporate family fun and gratitude at the same time - and that's what this holiday is all about.
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