“What I love about Thanksgiving is that it’s purely about getting together with friends or family and enjoying food. It’s really for everybody, and it doesn’t matter where you’re from.” – Daniel Humm
If you’re anything like us, you’ve got the menu figured out, you’ve gone over the guest list, and you’ve even thought out your Black Friday plan of attack. But there’s likely one thing about the fourth Thursday in November that’s still got you stumped, and that’s how to incorporate new Thanksgiving traditions into your roster of family activities. We’ve come up with a few we think the whole family will enjoy; try one or incorporate them all!
To ensure that no one forgets this Thanksgiving, create a keepsake! Lay out a sheet of butcher paper on an unused countertop (if you have one of those with all the feasting going on). Throughout the day, ask everyone to write on it what their favorite part of the Thanksgiving festivities were, then hide it away somewhere special. Next year, lay the old sheets out for everyone to look back on and remember Thanksgivings past, like a time capsule in ink and paper.
If you’ve been in a Turkey Day rut, maybe it’s time to spice up the menu! Sure, everyone loves Grammy’s pumpkin pie and Aunt Betsy’s squash casserole, but your Thanksgiving food traditions don’t need to end there. If you’ve inherited old recipe cards or cookbooks from family members, there’s no better time to dig into these archives than on the biggest noshing holiday of all. Pick out something in the holiday theme, something that looks delicious, or just something unusual that sounds interesting. Even if it doesn’t become a crowd favorite, at least it’s something new to do together and the adventure of trying them out is half the fun.
Need the get the crowd moving (and out of the kitchen) after all the feasting? Then let’s get physical! Football is so last year…this year it’s a wishbone scavenger hunt. This is a great way to keep kids of all ages entertained during the post-meal lull. Early in the day, have teens or unoccupied adults think up scavenger hunt clues (bonus points for Thanksgiving puns) and hide them around the house and yard. Once dinner is over, send the little ones out to search for all the clues, leading them back to a secret spot where you’ve stashed the turkey’s wishbone. The first two to arrive get to split the wishbone — the winner gets a wish, second place gets first pick of the desserts!
Our personal favorite tradition to start this year is to start giving back! Ask each guest to bring canned goods and/or clothing to donate to a local shelter after the holiday. Or have everyone choose a family to sponsor from an Angel Tree. Better yet, vote on an honorable charity to donate to as a family in lieu of Christmas presents this year. There really is no limit to the amount of giving back we can do when we work together and that’s what the holiday is really about!