As Thanksgiving becomes more commercialized each year, I think it’s more important than ever to keep the holiday as what is meant to be, a celebration of loved ones. I’m especially excited for Thanksgiving this year. Ryan and I will celebrate our first Thanksgiving married, and we will have a blended Thanksgiving with both of our families. As the holiday approaches, I’ve been brainstorming and scouring the internet for new Thanksgiving traditions that we can start together. There is so much comfort and joy to be found in tradition, that’s why people repeat them time after time, right?
I have found so many creative new ideas for Thanksgiving traditions, I will absolutely be integrating some of them in to our day. I hope one or more of these traditions can bring comfort and joy to your holiday this year! (Contains affiliate links).
1. Express Gratitude
In my family, like many others, we have had a special tradition of going around the room before dinner and sharing something that we are thankful for. I love this tradition because it reminds us to slow down and recognize how blessed we truly are. I love the below ideas to carry on this tradition, and have mementos to archive our gratitude each year.
I found this idea for printable Thanksgiving Placemats (on the left) on Ella Claire Inspired by Vintage Charm. What a great idea! It would be fun to combine them in to an on-going Thanksgiving scrapbook to look back on each year. I also thought about laminating them and using sharpies so that they could be used again next year.
On Eighteen 25 I found the idea for a book of thanks (above center). Using a blank page notebook, everyone writes in the book what they are thankful for that year. The same book is taken out every year to add upon. What a special way to document blessings. I love how Jen from Eighteen 25 displays the book on a plate stand; a treasure so special shouldn’t just be shoved in to a drawer only to be taken out for one day a year.
This “Always be Thankful” frame (on the right) from Tried & True is another creative way to share our gratitude. It would be super easy to make with a shadow box and some letter stickers or stencils with glass paint. Everyone can put something they’re thankful on a piece of paper and drop it in the frame, and at the end of the day they can be taken out and read aloud.
2. Thanksgiving Recipe Sharing
I love this idea! I found these printable Thanksgiving recipe cards on Catch My Party, along with a host of other fun Thanksgiving printables. Everyone can bring their favorite Thanksgiving recipe, and the host/hostess of Thanksgiving can make copies for all of the guests.
3. Make a Thanksgiving Family Cookbook
Another fun project to do with all of the family recipes, compile them in to a cookbook! This would be such a special Christmas gift, and a wonderful keepsake. I found the 2 above on My Sweet Savannah (left) and La Cucina di Kat (right).
4. Appetizer Cook Off
This idea came from Today’s The Best Day blog and would be so fun! Everyone brings food to a Thanksgiving celebration anyway, why not make it in to a fun little competition? After the taste test, eaters vote for the best appetizer, and a winner is announced. The best part, everyone wins because everyone gets to share the delicious entries!
5. Take a post-meal walk
Now that numbers 2 -4 have been all about food and eating, lol, I’m already feeling the turkey coma onset! If you’re in a climate that allows, why not get out and take a walk? Everyone can get some exercise in while talking about how full they are, what their favorite float was in the parade, or who will win that night’s football game.
6. Go to a movie
This is a Thanksgiving tradition that many families partake in, but I have never been to a movie on Thanksgiving. There are so many movies that come out around Thanksgiving and Christmas, it’s a good time to check them out, and could be a fun new tradition. You can find movie info, reviews and listings for any area on Fandango.com.
7. Decorate for Christmas
Thanksgiving is the official kick off to the holiday season, so I intend to start the Thanksgiving tradition of decorating for Christmas!
When I started to think about decorating our new house for Christmas on Thanksgiving, I thought of our Christmas decor from last year and it brought a big smile to my face (see below picture) so I had to share. Last year we were packing up my condo in preparation to move in to our house, so we didn’t want to unpack all of the Christmas decorations and tree trimmings. I couldn’t stand the thought of not having any kind of tree, for me it’s what makes the house feel like Christmas. My dear friend Heather had sent me this Charlie Brown Christmas tree (my favorite Christmas cartoon), so we put it up on a side table to have something to put the presents “under.” That will always be a fond memory.
8. Netflix marathon
If you have never indulged in a Netflix marathon, this would be a fun time to try it! For me, a Netflix marathon is when you find a genre of movies, or a new series that you have been wanting to watch, and cozy up for a binge of several movies, or several episodes of a series. Some of my favorite Netflix marathons have been the series Lost, 24 and Breaking Bad. I have a few ideas I’m contemplating for a Thanksgiving Netflix marathon this year:
- A marathon of Christmas cartoons. My favorites are A Charlie Brown Christmas, How the Grinch Stole Christmas and Frosty the Snowman.
- A marathon of John Hughes movies. My favorites are Some Kind of Wonderful, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, The Breakfast Club and Sixteen Candles. Hmmm, I would need to narrow these down, that would be one loooong marathon!
- Checking out out a new series. We’ve been wanting to watch House of Cards, Orange is the New Black and American Horror Story. If we get in to one, it’s not impossible that we could do an entire season marathon.
Are there any other marathons you would recommend?
9. Play games
I love a good game night! Playing games is always something that we say we would like to do more of, and yet somehow we don’t ever remember to. Some of my favorites are glass paint, Uno, and Poker.
It would be a fun Thanksgiving tradition to play a favorite game each year, and have a “Turkey Trophy” that is bestowed upon the winner for the year! I’m ordering this solar dancing turkey (below right)! I’ll put a little blue ribbon on him. 🙂
10. End the day by sharing what your favorite part of the day was
Full circle moment. As I thought of all of these fun activities we could do throughout the day, I thought it would be important to bring it back to what the day is about. Thanksgiving traditions are born through time spent with family, friends and loved ones. What could be a better way to put a cap on the day then by turning to those people and sharing with them what you loved about the day. This is a great reminder that the day, in itself, is something to be thankful for.
What are your favorite Thanksgiving traditions? Are you planning on adding any new ones this year?
I wish each of you a safe, and very Happy Thanksgiving! May it be filled with all of your favorite people, favorite foods, and favorite Thanksgiving traditions! 🙂
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Diane Nordhoff says
All these traditions, some old and some new, are just what
makes our ‘day of ‘thanks’ all the more festive! Thanks for
Thanks Diane! 🙂 xoxo
Elaine Parisi says
Loved this post – – it is so important to remember our blessings and what we have to be thankful for. Great ideas of how to incorporate gratitude and fun into the holiday. Happy Thanksgiving Lydia!
Lydia Nordhoff says
Thanks Elaine! Happy Thanksgiving to you as well! xoxo