Thanksgiving is my absolute FAVORITE holiday. Why? Well, there’s football on all day long (including my beloved Bears this year!), it is a day to feast without feeling an ounce of guilt, and it is the one day a year when thankfulness is at the forefront. We are not the type to rush through our meal just to stand in line at big box stores to get discounts on things we don’t need. Instead, we are a family that slows down and savors time together, and honors tradition (even if eating Baker’s Square French Silk pie straight of the pan while watching “Home Alone” might not be a typical family tradition. Are you looking for thoughtful ways to celebrate Thanksgiving? You are in luck! Here are some New Thanksgiving Traditions to Try.
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THANKSGIVING TRADITION #1: PRESENT BOWL
Before taking off your coats and showing everyone your “pie pants”—I mean, doesn’t everyone wear stretchy pants to Thanksgiving?—add your phone to the Present Bowl. Think of it as a bowl full of keys so that people don’t drive home after too many cocktails but the socializing version. When your phone isn’t on you, begging you to check your feeds, you will actually socialize with the people in front of you, not strangers on the Internet. Be thankful for the friends and family you have in your life…and that they bring delicious dishes to share.
THANKSGIVING TRADITION #2: LITTER WALK
No, I’m not talking about walking to the corner store for cat litter. Instead, take a brisk walk either before or after the Thanksgiving meal not just to burn calories, but to also clean up the neighborhood. Bring a bag with you to collect random pieces of trash that are littered throughout the neighborhood or bring along a shovel to help clear community sidewalks. You can also treat it as a nature scavenger hunt!
THANKSGIVING TRADITION #3: GET CRAFTING
While you are busy cooking and adding your part to the Thanksgiving feast, have your kids embark on some thankful crafts. Whether they create a thankful tree/wreath or placemats, there are tons of cute ways for them to not just decorate turkeys and pilgrims, but also focus on all the things in life that they should be thankful for. Even better? The crafts can double as table décor!
THANKSGIVING TRADITION #4: COMFORT BAGS
Too tired to do anything after dinner is over? Then this easy activity is perfect for those in a tryptophan haze and helps those in need receive some much needed comfort as well. Get gallon sized plastic bags and fill them with toiletries, small snacks, gloves/socks to donate to those in need. It is an impactful way to spread love on Thanksgiving.
THANKSGIVING TRADITION #5: PLAY TO GIVE
Does your family play board games as part of your Thanksgiving celebration? Then add a philanthropic twist to family game night. Institute a rule that the game winner gets to choose a volunteer opportunity for the group to participate in during the holidays. You can check out philanthropic opportunities in Chicagoland here.
THANKSGIVING TRADITION #6: HAVE A MEANINGFUL GIFT EXCHANGE
Finally, instead of organizing a family gift exchange for the holidays (or at least limiting it so it isn’t so stressful or expensive), work together as a family to adopt or sponsor a needy family for the holidays. Even if you don’t know of a specific organization that can assign you a family, there are always “Toys for Tots” and Salvation Army drives for all members of the public to participate in. Not only will you be helping out another family in your area, but you will also be teaching your kids an invaluable reason about the true importance of giving gifts.
What are your favorite Thanksgiving traditions? I would love to hear them so my family can add to our Thanksgiving celebration!