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Traditions To Add To Your Thanksgiving

By Bonnie Owens on November 25th, 2009

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I love traditions.  They are a great way to personalize the holidays.  They are like an insider secret between you and your family.  I think that they make family bonds stronger and memories richer.  But there are traditions that are done out of obligation, like say spending hours making Grandma’s inedible fruitcake.  And there are traditions that you do for the sheer joy they bring. Here are a few of those to work into your Thanksgiving this year.

  1. Turkey hands.  Each year I trace my kids hands on construction paper and cut them out.  We make them into turkeys and write their name on them.  I pull their creations out every year and decorate the house with them.  It is fun to see how much their hands, and their artistic skills, have grown each year.
  2. Donate. Whether it is your time, money or food, donating is a great way to show kids and adults alike how much they have to be thankful for.  If your Thanksgiving Day is packed with cooking and guests, head down to your local food bank, shelter or church a few days early.  This is great activity to do as a family to start the holidays with a thankful heart.
  3. Get active.  When you are consuming a week’s worth of food in one day it is never a bad idea to squeeze in a little exercise.  Our family favorite is flag football.  We head out to the front yard after the parades and help the kids burn off some of their excited energy.  We also like to rake leaves and jump in.  Feel free to substitute with your favorite sport.  One family we know heads down to the park for a game of tennis.  While our neighbors just take an annual family walk.
  4. Give Thanks.  This may seem like a given, but there are a lot of families that  don’t actually take time out to say thanks.  Here is a fun way to incorporate this into your family dinner.  Have each person write down what they are thankful for and put it in a designated bowl or bag.  Have the head of the table read them out loud and everyone has to guess who wrote it.
  5. Get in the holiday spirit. Choose a movie that really puts you in the holiday mood and watch that same movie together every year after dinner.  Some families we know put up and decorate their Christmas tree together after dinner.

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