7 Unique Thanksgiving Traditions

Thanksgiving is one of the most truly unique days of the year. Almost every family in America is eating pretty much the same meal, at about the same time, and doing a lot of the same activities. To my husband, the three things that make his Thanksgiving complete are the 3 F’s: food, family, and football. Whether we are with his family or mine, he is sure to tell me every year that these three things have got to happen for him to make it feel like Thanksgiving to him. He loves to play a Turkey Bowl football game in the morning with his friends and then watch the football games on tv throughout the day. Football was never part of my Thanksgiving traditions growing up at all, so this was new for me. My Thanksgivings growing up were usually done with TONS of extended family, upwards of 100 people so we would usually do it at our church. Since we were in a gym, there was basketball and we’d utilize the stage for the kids to sing and perform skits. Now that I have my own little family, it is fun to combine different traditions from both mine and my husband’s families, as well as start some new ones of our own. Here are seven fun Thanksgiving traditions for you to try with your family.

Turkey Day Awards

Break up the feasting with an annual award ceremony. You could celebrate everyone’s achievements over the year, or give out awards based on why you’re thankful for each family member.

Gratitude Rolls

As your guests come in, have them write what they’re thankful for on small strips of parchment paper. Then lay each strip on top of store-bought crescent dough before rolling it up and baking. When dinner’s ready, family members can read out loud the messages of gratitude, in a creative twist on the “what are you thankful for” question that traditionally loops around the table. Tip: Leave them anonymous for a “guess who’s grateful for this” game.

Thankful Tree

Have kids write why they’re thankful on leaves and add them to the tree each day.

Give Thanks Thanksgiving Countdown

Rather than share your reasons for gratitude, teach children the principle of gratitude with a 30-Day countdown that reveals a different activity each day — like “Make pumpkin bread for your neighbors,” or “Go on a family walk.”

Turkey Trivia

If there’s a competitive gene that runs in your family, have an annual Turkey Trivia game — filled with educational tid-bits, fun facts, and high-spirited, memory-building moments.

Thanksgiving Journal

If your family isn’t comfortable sharing their deepest gratitude with the class, why not pass around a Thanksgiving Journal that gets added to each year? Then you can flip back and see how your family has grown and changed throughout the years.

Do Unto Others

Whether you decide to help out at a local shelter, collect food for a food bank, or do a big family donation for those less fortunate — teach kids the importance of doing good for one another on Thanksgiving.

I’d love to hear your Thanksgiving traditions or let me know if you already do any of these in the comments below :)

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    Mary Richardson
    Weekly Newsletter Contributor since 2014
    Email the author! mary@dvo.com

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