When you think of Thanksgiving traditions, what comes to mind? Likely turkey and football, maybe those weird hats with buckles the pilgrims supposedly wore. Often we celebrate holidays like we’ve always celebrated them. Little thought goes into it beyond the necessary preparations for either hosting a gaggle of family members or making the trek to the host’s home. Perhaps you spend some time planning out a menu or making sure you have a place to watch the big game.
All of that is perfectly reasonable and fine, but it’s hardly memorable. Here are five Thanksgiving traditions worth starting this year that you and your family will remember for years to come.
1. Coordinate a kickball game.
Thanksgiving typically results in lots of folks stuffing themselves with rich foods and passing out on the sofa while watching football. Fine. But what if this year you planned an epic family kickball game? I know you want to play football, but the advantage of kickball is that no one is any good. It’s far less likely that Uncle Ted will channel his 16 year-old self and pull a hammy trying to avoid a tackle if you play kickball. Also, most folks won’t get mad if you lose. Finally, it helps you snap out of the post-turkey coma you’ll all be struggling to pull out of.
2. Host someone without a place to go.How could you create space at your table for someone eating alone this Thanksgiving?
You’d be surprised how many people go through Thanksgiving without a family to celebrate with. You could invite someone who otherwise would spend it alone. Do you live near a college or university? There are likely some international students with nowhere to go for Thanksgiving. Are there elderly folks who live near you but far from family, or perhaps a new family that just moved to the area from far away? How could you create space at your table for someone eating alone this Thanksgiving?
3. Take a meal to a family in need.
Typically, shelters are overwhelmed around the holidays. Yet, there often are folks who can’t afford a lavish meal. Contact a local church or synagogue and ask if they know of anyone who would be blessed by a meal. Shop for it as a family and deliver it the day before.
4. Play gratitude roulette.
As you gather around the table, distribute 3×5 index cards to each person. Have everyone write down one reason they are grateful. Put the cards back in the hat and pass them around so that each person takes one that isn’t his or her own. Then each person reads what the card says and tries to guess who wrote it down.
5. Create a card shower.
Ask everyone who is joining you for Thanksgiving to find or create the funniest Thanksgiving card possible and bring it along for Thanksgiving dinner. Write down the name of each person attending the meal. After dinner, have each person read their card so you can all enjoy it together. Then, put the names you wrote down in a hat and pass it around. Each person takes a name and, at the same time, you all write a brief note of gratitude to the person whose name you drew in your card and give it to them before you leave.
With a little thought and intentionality, we can develop Thanksgiving traditions that add even more meaning and fun to the day.
Sound off: What are some of your favorite Thanksgiving traditions?
Huddle Up Question
Huddle up and ask your kids to share one idea for a new Thanksgiving tradition.