10 Unique Thanksgiving Traditions to Start Now
One of my favorite parts of starting a family has been establishing our own family traditions — especially around the holidays. Some are continuations from childhood traditions, and some are brand new ideas that we’re trying out. (See one of our Christmas traditions here.)
So in an effort to establish new Thanksgiving traditions, I rounded up 10 of my favorite ideas for families big and small, young and old:
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.
See the DIY tutorial for these Turkey Day Awards at Spoonful.
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.
See more from Balancing Beauty and Bedlam.
If you’re looking for a tradition to start with your small immediate family, have each family member drop one note of gratitude into the jar every day, starting in early November. Then open the jar and read each one on Thanksgiving. You could even start this with young toddlers, and write a note for whatever they’re thankful for that day.
See more from Young House Love.
Another family tradition to start is an annual Thankful Tree (which doubles as a beautiful centerpiece). Simply have family members write what they’re thankful for, and hang it on the tree — whether you do this throughout the month, or just on Thanksgiving.
See more from Simply Vintagegirl.
Thanksgiving Countdown Tree
Another idea is to start an advent-like countdown to Thanksgiving. But instead of giving gifts or candy each day, you can turn over each leaf and be reminded of what to be thankful for.
See more from The Letter 4 via Tatertots & Jello.
Here’s a different spin: Have kids write why they’re thankful on leaves and add them to the tree each day.
See more from Bargain Bound.
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.”
See more from the Etsy shop Everyday Celebrations, and buy a PDF Pattern for this “Give Thanks” pattern ($8.50).
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.
See more from Katherine Marie.
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.
See more from Just Something I Made.
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.