Family. Food. Football. The three F’s of Thanksgiving. In three weeks, families all over the U.S. will be indulging in these activities in abundance. Homes will become full of the smells of turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, warm rolls and three different kinds of jello salad. Growing up, I attended Thanksgiving dinners with family and friends in their homes, apartments and camping trailers, with no two years being the same. Each year holds special memories of talking and laughing over food, napping in the afternoon and, of course, football, both on the TV and out in the yard. And with Halloween past and Christmas coming up, there’s Thanksgiving–tucked right in between the two. I wouldn’t go so far as to call it a forgotten holiday. I think that pretty much everyone celebrates it in some form or another. But I do think that it gets overshadowed by Christmas and that has always bothered me.
I grew up in a family where traditions were a big deal and we had at least a few for each holiday (Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s, Easter, and so on.) But I’ve been thinking a lot about traditions lately and I realized that I don’t have any non-food, non-sports related traditions for Thanksgiving and that makes me sad. I take full responsibility for this and I haven’t really felt the need to start any until recently now that my daughter is getting old enough to understand the reasons we celebrate certain events. Many traditions at Thanksgiving deal with food or football and while those are both fun things, they are not the reason we even celebrate Thanksgiving in the first place. There’s nothing wrong with having those traditions but I want to make sure that the element of ‘thanks’ isn’t forgotten among everything else. So this year I am going to be implementing two new traditions into our family.
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Book of Thanks
I know a lot of families who go around the table before Thanksgiving dinner starts and say something(s) they are thankful for. I don’t find any fault in this in and of itself, but when you’re having dinner with 20+ people, it can take a while to go around the table! And it can be hard to say what you want when you’re in a group and put on the spot like that. I also feel like not everyone can participate, especially the little kids. Which is how I came to the conclusion that I wanted to create a way for everyone to share what they are grateful for through what I’m going to call The Book of Thanks. (My Book of Thanks tutorial can be found here.)
Here is what I’d like to do:
- For the adults, they can take a minute at any time during the day to write as much or as little as they want.
- For the kids, they can draw a picture or write what they are grateful for.
- Take a group picture of everyone who was there.
- Include the menu and location.
- Have a place to write down memories of Thanksgiving past and present.
I will have blank printer paper for everyone to write/draw on and then I’ll put it in a plastic sleeve in a binder. I think this will be a great way for everyone to share their thanks with others as well as a fun way to be able to look back at previous years and remember who was there and the memories that will be shared with each other.
I love this idea. I’ve seen it around on Pinterest and have been waiting to start it until this year. My daughter is old enough now that we can ask her what she is grateful for and she can tell us. So what better way to put us in the thankful spirit than to have each family member take a moment each day to write a few words about what they are grateful for? It’s not going to be anything fancy: a construction paper tree with construction paper leaves. We are a few days late starting and while I’d love to do something a little more crafty, it’s more about the purpose than the prettiness. There are some really cute ones though like this and this if you are feeling like you want to do something more. (You can see how ours turned out on my Thanksgiving Day 2015 overview.)
What are your favorite family traditions for Thanksgiving?