Here are some great ideas for family traditions old and new, that might inspired those who are looking for ways to give back, be grateful and feel blessed.
1. Tree of Thanks- For the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving, create a tree mural in your house– it can be small or take up the whole wall like this one! Trace your hand on a piece of construction paper or use foam leaves, to write down what you are thankful for. Ask the entire family to add to this tree and read them before your dinner.
2. Dinner Table "Gratitude" Tradition– Before the turkey is carved at Thanksgiving Dinner, we go around the table and share "why we are thankful". It might seem uncomfortable for some adults to try this, but the kids seem really enthusiastic about sharing. Challenge yourselves to come up with something unique! "This year I'm thankful for…….".
3. Thanksgiving Food Drives– Take the kids to the local grocery store and participate in their food drives for the community. This time of year, most food banks are hosting huge drives to fill their banks for the winter and holiday months. You could make a family donation online, or you can get the kids involved! Write a list with your kids and shop together for the most needed items like;
Baby formula & food
Beans & lentils
Canned fruits & vegetables
Canned fish & meat
Cans of soup or hearty stew
Dried pasta & tomato sauce
Macaroni & cheese
Canned, powdered or Tetra Pak cartons of milk
4. Make a Family Donation- Donate to a food bank, children's charity or global charity, like World Vision. Sponsor a friend who is walking in a charity event or donate a grocery gift card to a woman's shelter or Children's Aid. Get the kids to find some change that they have in their piggy banks and get them in on the generousity this holiday! Not only will you be helping by giving back, your family will feel like they are making a difference.
5. Saying Thank You- Write a letter to a special teacher or bus driver thanking them for keeping your children safe. Write a note to your mom for those nights of free babysitting, tell your husband how thankful you are to have him as your partner. Give your kids little notes this month, saying thank you for something different each day! Thanksgiving is a great time to say "thank you" to those who make our lives easier. Teaching your children to be thankful and to write thank you letters is such a special way for them to celebrate this holiday.
6. Give the Gift of Time- Choose to spend this and every Thanksgiving Day (or weekend) by dedicating time to family and special friends. Have a friend over who may not have family close by. Spend the full day with grandparents, not just meal time, to really make special memories by doing some Thanksgiving crafts or baking. Stay unplugged for the full day and be IN the moment with your kids and loved ones. Volunteer your time to serve a meal at a local shelter or nursing home. Choose to run or walk for a charity on the long weekend. Your time is one of the best gifts that you have to give.
Happy Thanksgiving- what are your family traditions?