Y’all Thanksgiving is around the corner and so many mamas are wanting to make the holidays special for our families. That’s our job, right? It is, yes, but it’s also important for our children to see us enjoying the holidays too. Start simple, meaningful traditions with your family, make memories and enjoy your best Thanksgiving yet. Here are a dozen ideas for creating Thanksgiving traditions with your family.
- Cook or Bake Together
My babies love to be in the kitchen with me, we have so many memories and funny stories that come from cooking or baking together. Kids also love to be included, they are so proud to share food that they made with family and friends so I always include them making our Thanksgiving feast. But… I include them in the cooking and baking the day before. On the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, they help bake the desserts so they are included but not in the way on the day of the big meal. It’s a win/win and they brag all week about the goodies they made!
- Thankful Crafts
We have done a variety of thankful crafts; we’ve made a thankful tree and wrote on leaves every day of November what we are thankful for, we’ve also done the same thing with leftover Halloween pumpkins and wrote our gratitude on a pumpkin in sharpie. But if you’ve didn’t get around to it yet this year, throw down some butcher paper as your tablecloth (even if it’s just on the kid’s table) and have the kids help you paint, sticker, color, draw and share what they are thankful for.
- Read Thanksgiving Books
Find my favorite Thanksgiving books that teach gratitude during the holidays here and if you need to get those kids out of the house, take a trip to the library or Starbucks and cozy up together and read all the Thanksgiving books to get everyone in the holiday spirit!
- Make Decorations
Not only do my babes make the tablecloth but I also have them decorate placemats, signs for the tables and cards for our guests telling them why they are thankful for each family member. The handmade decorations are everyone’s favorites. The kids love to do it and it keeps them busy while I get my to-do list done!
- Volunteer Together
Volunteering together any time of year teaches your children to be good citizens, to think outside of themselves, to be givers and appreciate what they have. But it’s especially important during the holidays to remember how many people have no one to celebrate with. My favorite place to help out is an old folk’s home or homeless shelter where people love to see children. After having my own, I realize just how magical children make the holidays. Share your blessings.
- Watch the Parade
This is a simple one! On Thanksgiving morning I make cinnamon rolls, because easy, we make a fire and snuggle up to watch The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade. My kiddos love to watch the floats and we all enjoy the peaceful time together before the festivities begin! It’s so simple but my kids look forward to this tradition every year.
- Family Thanksgiving Movie Night
Sometime over the Thanksgiving break, we make a couple of nights family movie nights and we either go to the movies together or stay in and snuggle up in front of Netflix. Our favorite Thanksgiving movie to watch as a family is definitely Free Birds and we watch it every year. We eat popcorn and The Water Man and I give our undivided attention to the kids. It’s a perfect way to slow down and enjoy spending time together.
- Hot Chocolate Bar
My kids LOVE hot chocolate, they beg for it even when it’s not cold outside. So one of their favorite traditions over the holidays, both Thanksgiving and Christmas, is to do a hot chocolate bar. We put out sprinkles, marshmallows, and whipped cream and let the kids make their own. I usually try to invite friends over that day so that afterward we can send the kids outside to run the sugar off. A hot chocolate play date is a favorite around here!
- Family Games
After we eat on Thanksgiving, we whip out our games and force them on our extended family. There really is nothing like seeing Uncle Juice get smacked in the face with whipped cream from Pie in the Face or a competitive game of charades with the littles! It’s a Thanksgiving tradition all of your guests can enjoy!
- Yearly Handprint Turkeys
Every year we make handprint turkeys and it’s special to me to see how the turkeys grow each year. As my son is approaching seven, I don’t know how much longer he will participate but I am enjoying it while it lasts. Don’t over think it, you can do a big painting production and cut out feathers and kill some time but it can also be very simple. Just trace your child’s hand and have them decorate it! These also double as decorations for us, I would keep them up all year long if I could!
- Share Leftovers
Every year we make plates for different people in our neighborhood that don’t have Thanksgiving meals. My father-in-law and my husband started this tradition and now I love to include the kids. We take plates to whoever gets stuck working at our local gas station on Thanksgiving, to different guys working on the lake and anyone who has no one to celebrate with. We always invite anyone over who doesn’t have a place to go, but if they refuse, they get a plate anyway. Share the love, man!
- Share Thanks
This is the sweetest Thanksgiving tradition that takes just minutes to do before you sit down to enjoy your Thanksgiving feast, go around the room and share what you are thankful for. I especially love what the kids say and their honesty, like being thankful for transformers, makes everyone laugh and there’s nothing better than laughter to remember your holidays by!
It doesn’t have to be anything fancy, you don’t have to spend a bunch of money traveling or entertaining your kids every single day of the break to create family Thanksgiving traditions and memories. You can make your holidays special in the easiest ways just by spending time with your family, laughing, sharing the love, focusing on what’s important and being thankful!
I am thankful for all you in this sisterhood with me, for your love, support, and encouragement. I hope I always make you laugh, inspire you and encourage you to create your dream life for you and your family. You deserve it, sister. Happy Thanksgiving!