Thanksgiving Traditions to Start

Thanksgiving is a wonderful holiday that encourages us to slow down and remember all the wonderful blessings we’ve shared throughout the year. Like many other major holidays, Thanksgiving is typically one of those holidays that is dictated by our traditions. We do the same things every year and usually with the same people. It doesn’t matter if you are young or old, it’s never too late to find some new Thanksgiving traditions to start.

One of the best things about traditions is the “why;” finding out what motivates certain things is usually pretty interesting and entertaining. Thanksgiving traditions are no different.  If Aunt Betty hadn’t caught that turkey on fire in 78’ there would be no Thanksgiving fish! If you are looking for a change, or perhaps you are just setting out on your own, these are some fun Thanksgiving traditions to start this year.

1. Thankfulness Tree

A fun Thanksgiving tradition to start involves a little bit of crafting and a lot of giving thanks. Set up an area with some leaf cut outs and a large tree cutout so that all of your guests and family members can write what they’re thankful for this year. Hang all of the leaves up on your Thankfulness Tree so that you can all be reminded of the wonderful things that have happened over the past year.

2. Volunteer

Sometimes, in the midst of giving thanks, it can be hard to remember that there are people out there who don’t have a whole lot to celebrate on this holiday. Most of us get to spend the day stuffing ourselves full of delicious food while watching sports and parades on our comfy couches. There are a lot of folks and families out there who spend Thanksgiving in shelters, on the streets, and without a meal, yet alone an extravagant one. If you feel like giving back, an awesome Thanksgiving tradition to start involves moving your feast (or skipping it altogether) and spending the day with your family volunteering in the community. Nothing feels better than giving to those less fortunate on a holiday that is all about sharing, giving, and celebrating blessings!

3. Visit the Elderly

Maybe your family rounds up the entire clan for Thanksgiving so your elderly are already being visited! Lost of people in nursing homes, unfortunately, do not have any family to visit with during the holidays. Spending some time during Thanksgiving to visit with or even share a meal with the elderly in nursing homes can be an excellent way to spread Thanksgiving cheer around. They’ll be glad to see some happy faces on an otherwise lonely holiday and who knows, you might learn a thing or two!

4. Cook What You Like

“Thanksgiving Traditions to Start” lists often skip over the food...we’re all pretty used to the idea of turkey at Thanksgiving but believe it or not, no one will know if you have ham, or fish, or spaghetti! One of the best Thanksgiving Traditions to Start that I can personally recommend is to just cook whatever you and your family love. If you really love duck or tuna salad or Subway then go with the flow. Thanksgiving doesn’t have to be about turkey; sure it’s delicious and it’s a great option but there are no food police out there just waiting to ticket you for starting your own food traditions.

5. Give to Charity

When we hear the word “charity” we immediately think of money. Giving to charity can mean so much more than just donating money. You can volunteer your time, donate supplies, offer your services as a driver, and more. There are so many ways that you can give to charity during the Thanksgiving holiday. One big one that really hits me hard is the families and children who end up spending Thanksgiving (and other holidays) in the hospital. Round up the family and head to your local hospital to volunteer your time and skills! It may seem like odd timing but these people and their families are missing the comforts of home more than ever during the holidays. Any distraction is a welcome one during times like these.

6. Design a Tablecloth

Doodling, coloring, drawing, and writing on the tablecloth is not just fun for’s fun for everyone! Instead of getting out the fancy linens this year just get a plain white linen tablecloth and some fabric markers. While everyone is waiting around the table for the big meal to start they can doodle, draw, and contribute to your selected theme for the year! This is a wonderful way to celebrate and it will quickly become a delightful reminder of years gone past and meals shared with your favorite people.

7. Combine the Families

The older we get the more difficult it becomes to get everyone together in one house for a meal. Instead of splitting up the day into four meals with everyone and their families, just get everyone together. Make it one big, happy, delicious, Thanksgiving extravaganza. This is one of the best Thanksgiving traditions to start because it means spending the entire day with the folks you love most. No more running off to visit the in-laws, splitting the family up to see their significant others and their families, etc. It might take a bit of work to coordinate but with a little planning and a bunch of extra tables you can have the entire family together for a beautiful day of thankfulness.

8. The Thanksgiving Olympics

On a day when we stuff ourselves full of our favorite foods it only seems fitting to suggest an exercise related Thanksgiving tradition to start. Wait until everyone has had time to digest their dinner and then gather up the family for a circuit of fun and Thanksgiving related tasks. You can chuck pumpkins, play touch football, or perhaps your clan would like a pie eating contest instead! The possibilities are endless and supremely entertaining. You can order medals online for the champions and after a few years, I can guarantee your tournament brackets will be a work of art!