Creating Meaningful Thanksgiving Traditions with Children

As my kids have gotten older, I have realized the importance of creating meaningful family memories and traditions, especially on Thanksgiving. This is a great way to give back to your children and reinforce the meaning of family. Here are some ideas that my kids have enjoyed which I recently shared with Honeysuckle White and Shady Brook Farms. Now, I thought I would share them with you.

1. Thanksgiving Eve Meal – Since most moms, like me, are so busy cooking the day before Thanksgiving, make a tradition to do something fun, casual and memorable the night before. Is it pizza night, Mexican night or Asian? We usually visit our favorite local pizza restaurant. If you have been in the kitchen all day, this is a good way to take a break.

2. Create a “Thanksgiving Box” – I love the idea of creating a “Thanksgiving Box”. Choose a special box to be the “Thanksgiving Box” and have your kid’s help you pick out the “special” one. Every week or month during the year, have each family member write down on a piece of paper something they are thankful for. Each slip of paper is deposited in this box. During the week of Thanksgiving or during Thanksgiving dinner, read aloud the slips of paper.

3. Children’s Thanksgiving Craft – Create a kid’s corner or workspace with a small table where children can make a special craft and share with the elderly or someone in need. Deliver it with a small food gift teaching kids the idea of “giving back”.

4. Thanksgiving Games – On the afternoon during Thanksgiving, my family has the tradition of having a family-touch football game as well as taking our holiday card pictures on that day. We also like to go around the table and answer the question, “What are you thankful for?” Sometimes we make a game out of it, and vote for our favorite answer.

5. Create a Thanksgiving Scrapbook – Kids love art projects, and this is a great way to keep memories. Prepare a page for the Thanksgiving holiday and include pictures and papers from your “Thanksgiving Box”. This book makes a lifelong treasure that kids love to look at throughout the year.

6. Book & Hot Cocoa – Spend part of the morning or the day after Thanksgiving with hot chocolate and a good book. Spread out blankets and pillows in front of the fireplace for “reading time,” creating a warm memory.

7. Macy’s Day Parade – We love to spend the morning of Thanksgiving in our pajamas eating breakfast while watching the Macy’s Day Parade. It’s something my kids look forward to every year, and it’s great quality time spent together.

8. Afternoon Walks/Hikes – If you eat a Thanksgiving lunch, it’s always fun to take afternoon walks or hikes with the kids. It feels great to be together in nature, and this is also is a wonderful time for talking with no distractions of TV, computers, phones, etc.

9. Sharing – Since many people (college students, elderly singles, widowers etc.) do not have family or loved-ones nearby, why not invite them for the Thanksgiving meal? You can also invite them just for informal time, playing games, putting together puzzles and working on crafts with the children

10.  Disconnect for Game-Time – This is a great family-time idea, which is easier said than done. Disconnect from cell phones, computers, video games and television for an hour or two and play a board game, card game or put together a puzzle. You’ll be amazed at how wonderful the laughter and conversation will be.

I feel so fortunate this year to have the incredible opportunity to work with Honeysuckle White and Shady Brook Farms who I wrote this article for originally. Hopefully, you can find some inspiration here for your holiday and family.

7 thoughts on “Creating Meaningful Thanksgiving Traditions with Children”

  1. We have a Thankful Jar for the month of November where each person writes down things that are meaningful to them this particular year. Then we look over them that afternoon as well as previous years if we want.

    We also started a tradition of going to a Thanksgiving Day parade even before our children were born and made it to NYC last year for the Macy Day Parade.

  2. Thanks for all the great ideas Alison. Picking just one or two of your ideas will help make Thanksgiving more meaningful and memorable for the whole family. Thanks!

  3. What a great picture! As you know, I LOVE Thanksgiving. You have the best three “F’s”: Family, Food and Football. I cannot wait for the weekend with the family. You have done an outstanding job with Ingredients, Inc., your book, your blog, and Thanksgiving preparations. What an amazing woman! I’m thankful to have you!

    Jon

  4. Thanks for all the great ideas Allison! Those sound so fun. My mother used to make us all put what we were thankful for in a bowl and everyone would have to guess who wrote what. Happy Thanksgiving!

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