I adore family traditions. Growing up, I can remember how much fun I had doing the exact same thing every year, eating the same foods, watching the same movies. I loved being able to tell people, my family does this, this, and this and I knew exactly what to expect year to year. The traditions themselves were great, but there’s something about being surrounded by all of your favorite people in the world, that makes any activity so much better. Family traditions should help create memories that bond your family together with love and a sense of belonging, and it doesn’t hurt for them to be fun! As Thanksgiving quickly approaches, we gathered some fresh takes on family traditions perfect for our favorite November holiday.
Acts of kindness should be a part of our daily lives and it’s you’re never too young to learn the importance of helping others. If you want to say closer to home, think about elderly or struggling neighbors who could use a hand. It can be as simple as hanging Christmas lights, making a grocery list, or addressing holiday cards. There are opportunities for the entire family, regardless of age.
One of a Kind Tablecloth
Okay, this one is definitely my favorite. Turn your average tablecloth into a family yearbook, full of signatures and notes. It’s a great way to get all of your family involved and entertained at the table. All you need is a new tablecloth, some sharpies, and willing participants to sign their name at their seat. You’ll have a little piece of each Thanksgiving that will create memories for a lifetime. Don’t forget to designate a different color each year!
While you’re busy cooking, eating, hosting, and cleaning, a recess might not be your first thought. However, a break to get moving is a perfect way to re-energize and have some fun. There’s nothing wrong with a classic game of football, but it’s not your only option. You can take your pup to the park for some fetch, let the kids jump in a leaf pile, or even take some fun family photos! A few minutes of fresh air and some laughter will make a big difference in the rest of your day.
No matter how old you are, you will always have a hero. Someone you look up to, idolize, or just really appreciate. So what better time than Thanksgiving to let them know they’re important to you? This can be a celebrity, a soldier, a teacher you haven’t seen in 20 years. Let them know why you consider them a hero, and how they’ve made a positive impact on your life. Tell them what you admire and why you’re grateful to have met or known them. It will brighten their day as much as it will brighten yours, and you never know who might write back!
Don’t forget to let your family know you appreciate them, too. You can create a gratitude jar and fill it all year, starting on the first of November, or on Thanksgiving morning. Have everyone write on a slip of paper what they’re thankful for – no matter how large or small. Before starting dinner, evenly divide the papers from the jar, amongst your guests. Have everyone read them out loud and share. Not only will it make people feel good, it will encourage them to help others feel the same.
Food is a HUGE part of Thanksgiving. I’m lucky enough to have a huge supply of cherished family recipes that vary from many generations. I love the fact that I’m able to make my great-great grandmother’s pecan pie, even if her version will always be better. Try to create some classics with your family and put the old and new ones in a book. It’s simple and something the whole crew will enjoy. You can always make a few extra copies to gift to extended family!
Whether you choose to wear matching pajamas and take family photos or have an annual water balloon fight, treasure your traditions. Have fun, laugh together, and enjoy each others company. Tell stories about your experiences and let your kiddos know why these traditions mean so much to you, and why you hope they will feel the same way growing up. Family traditions are a big part of our lives and we wouldn’t have it any other way. What are some of your favorite family traditions? Leave your comments below!