5 Fresh Ways to Celebrate Thanksgiving

Every family has their own way of celebrating, and with Thanksgiving on tap, it can be the perfect time to add a new twist to existing holiday rituals or start a brand new one this year.  Mighty Mommy has five fresh ways you can make your family’s Thanksgiving holiday even more special.

Cheryl Butler
6-minute read
Episode #405

Send Thankful Letters

With our ability to shoot off an e-mail or text in an instant, long gone are the days of sending an old-fashioned letter. I’m not talking about sending or receiving a greeting card, I’m talking a piece of lovely stationery that is handwritten with a greeting such as “Dear Nana” etc. When was the last time you opened your mailbox and found something personal waiting for you?

Thanksgiving is a great time to have everyone in the family send just one letter to someone they care about. This could be a teacher, a babysitter, your boss, or the pizza guy you order from every Friday night. Help your kids express some of the things they are thankful for about this person. It doesn’t have to be long, something short and sweet such as “Dear Molly, I really feel lucky that you take care of my sister and I during the week after school.  You make doing homework fun.  Thanks for being our babysitter.  We love you and look forward to being with you. Love, Katie."

Personalize Your Tablescape

Surprise your family and guests with a personalized tablescape for Thanksgiving.  You can use fun and whimsical photo napkins such as this selection from etsy.  One year I took an ordinary centerpiece I had gotten from my local florist and inserted photos throughout of my family members that were joining us that year for dinner. This year I’ve purchased mini journals that will be placed at each guests seat (including my 8 children), so that we can begin our feast by taking a few moments to record some things we are thankful for.  That may seem a bit corny, but my hope is that my guests will continue this practice long after the last turkey sandwich has been eaten. One year I gave all my children and some family members who joined us for dinner a copy of How Full is Your Bucket?, written by Tom Rath.  This sweet story (perfect for adults as well!)  teaches us that each of us has an invisible bucket. When our bucket is full, we feel great. When it’s empty, we feel awful. Yet most children (and many adults) don’t realize the importance of having a full bucket throughout the day.

See Also: 8 Tips for the Perfect Thanksgiving Tablescape

These are just a few ideas to add some personal meaning and whimsy to your Thanksgiving table this year. And if you get your kids involved, their creativity can make these ideas even more special.   See Also:  Preserving Family Memories

Start a New Tradition on Black Friday

For many Americans, the tradition of Black Friday is an important part of their Thanksgiving Holiday. The term “Black Friday” was coined in the 1960s to mark the kickoff to the Christmas shopping season.  Retailers draw large crowds by offering insane discounts on everything from toys to toasters and because of limited quantities, they lure customers out at the crack of dawn (or before) to take advantage of these whacky deals.

If you’re not inclined to head to the mall at 4 AM to score big, why not create some fun new ways to celebrate Black Friday at home instead?  Believe it or not, my kids and I used to participate in the Black Friday madness and once in a while we got some neat buys but we usually purchased things that were on sale just because they were on sale! Now, we stay home and use this bonus day to make our gingerbread houses for the holiday season. We start the day with a big, homemade breakfast of omelets and blueberry pancakes and then get to work.  We also make a lot of our Christmas cookies that day as well.

Some families use this day as “couch and movie” day and just lounge in PJs and watch their favorite holiday movies. For others, they begin their holiday decorating. After all that turkey, it’s also a great day to take a brisk walk in the park or a hiking trail and enjoy some fresh air together as a family. Before Thanksgiving this year, sit down with your family and come up with a list of ideas of your own on how you can spend Black Friday. It will be something fun to look forward to in addition to those yummy, leftover turkey sandwiches.

What are some traditions associated with your family’s Thanksgiving?  Share your thoughts in the Comments section at quickanddirtytips.com/mightymommy, post your ideas on the Mighty Mommy Facebook page. or email me at mommy@quickanddirtytips.com. Also visit my family-friendly boards at Pinterest.com/MightyMommyQDT.

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About the Author

Cheryl Butler

Cheryl L. Butler is the mother of eight children. Her experiences with infertility, adoption, seven pregnancies, and raising children with developmental delays have helped her become a resource on the joys and challenges of parenting. Call the Mighty Mommy listener line at 401-284-7575 to ask a parenting question. Your call could be featured on the show!

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