Thursday, November 09, 2006

Thanksgiving Traditions

Over the past few days, I've been having a discussion with some friends over email about Thanksgiving traditions. The families are changing, some of the siblings or children are visiting in-laws, grandparents have passed away, and the holiday just doesn't feel like the holiday anymore. So, I started thinking of some ways that a family could institute some new (or revive some old) traditions to help Thanksgiving feel more like Thanksgiving year after year.

1) At the mealtime, move around the table and ask everyone to list a few things for which we are most thankful. This would lead to some good discussions....a great time of worshipping our Lord together.

2) Each year, a new person could be assigned to write down a few "thankful" verses and hand them out to different individuals to read aloud. A family could do all sorts of different things with them: see if the familiy members know where they are found in the Bible, try to remember the context of the verses around them, and try to help each other memorize those particular verses throughout the weekend, reciting them together several times a day.

3) After dinner, you could read a short story about the first settlers of our nation or discuss historical facts about their trip to the new world.

4) A different person is assigned each year to think of a craft project for the entire group to create after the Thanksgiving noon meal throughout the evening. This could be clay ornaments to paint, fleece blankets to tie, potholders on looms, shrinky dinks, papercrafts, decorating wreaths, snowmen out of clay pots, etc. Then, these can be kept or taken to a nearby elderly care facility.

5) We play some of the same games each year. And, a family could build this into something known as the "Thanksgiving Tournament." The same game could be played year after year...or a new challenge (cards or a board game) could be introduced each year to highlight everyone's strengths. You could have "friendly competition", but it would be fun to see who wins every year and possibly pass a traveling trophy.

6) We have some friends who always watch the same movie on Thanksgiving night - an epic that everyone loves. We don't watch the SAME movie...but we usually watch a movie. It would be fun for some to spend the afternoon making special snacks for the movie night. You could create some red and white popcorn boxes....along with raisins and peanuts dipped in chocolate. You could even open up the kitchen to see who could make the most creative and tasty snack.

Are there any traditions that your family has for this time of year?


lydia said...

We don't really have any family traditions for Thanksgiving. However, I had this same conversation at the lunch table yesterday afternoon. We made each of our friends tell about their family traditions. Here are some of the most interesting:

*Spoons tournament: All of the family gathers around the table for a game of Spoons. The winner receives a trophy adorned with a giant spoon.

*Frisby-golf tournament: This is an annual father/son tournament that my friend's family does. The winning duo get to keep the trophy for the year. The trophy is an old sports trophy with the person ripped off the top and replaced with Darth Vadar holding a penny (as the frisbee).

*Scavenger Hunt: This friend's family participates in a scavenger hunt after the Thanksgiving dinner. What a great way to burn off those calories!

It was an interesting discussion. I'm looking to start some traditions in our family. I might borrow from some of these ideas.

Dani said...

We sit around and tell our favorite stories. It's great embarrassment for all and a great way to connect when you lose family members or when some of them can't be there as the kids grow up. There are stories when I was 2 when my dad was 2, and even when his parents were small. Stories that are told about my great-grandparents that I never knew. It's just an awesome time.

Sean Carter said...

Thanksgiving is a time for all family to get together and enjoy the beautiful celebrations. And every family has their own unique tradition which makes Thanksgiving such a special family occasion. It's atime for togetherness and celebrating together. I'd also like to ask you to visit my Thanksgiving Blog sometime and share all the fun and joy of this wonderful occasion.

Sandy-san said...

Not every year, we go to my Aunt Kathy's house, and after dinner and clean-up, the ladies (and some gentlemen) just hang-out in the dining area and talk about anything. The guys go into the living room and watch football or they go outside and play frisbee golf. The kids run around playing inside and out. It's always good.