I love the holidays. For me a big part of the holidays is all about family and tradition. Tradition can be anything from the location where you spend a certain meal or the food that is made to special family activities that you look forward to when you get there.
Over the years the Thanksgiving traditions have changed (at least in my family). When I was younger we gathered for Thanksgiving in a local community church with 75-100 extended family members and it consisted of not only the American Thanksgiving foods but also the Italian favorites like pasta, meat platters with meatballs, sausage, braciole and more. Now (though still a large number for an immediate family of 14 and growing) we gather as an immediate family usually at my brother-in-laws house.
I have also been wanting to expand our traditions and found this great list on Ezinearticles:
1. Sit down with your family and reminisce about your childhood celebrations. What do you remember most about Thanksgiving and the days that follow? Thanksgiving traditions can be much more than just food and recipes. In what ways did your childhood traditions symbolize particular values, such as abundance, generosity, the importance of family? What would you like to do that’s the same? What would you do like to do differently?
2. Make a small booklet or a mini scrapbook album (which you can either make or purchase.) Write “Five Things I Love About My Family and Friends” and keep it out on the table during your Thanksgiving celebration. Each guest can come and record thoughts and insights. Other themes to try: “Five Things I’m Thankful For” or “Five Wishes for my Family and Friends.” An even simpler approach would be to put one sheet of cardstock out for each year – and combine them together over the years in a Thanksgiving Gratitude Scrapbook.
3. Keep a Family Gratitude Journal through the year. Each night, a family member can share something that they are grateful for. Share the highlights of this family tradition at the dinner table on Thanksgiving Day.
4. Make a Gratitude Circle. Before the Thanksgiving meal, everyone stands and holds hands in a circle. Guests each take a turn sharing what they are grateful for. Or – if your guests are on the shy side – ask everyone to write down their blessings on a piece of paper, which you can read before or after dinner.
5. Designate a particular tablecloth for your family Thanksgiving celebrations. Provide fabric markers where guests can record their “gratitudes” or special prayers for the year ahead. Ask your guests to sign and date each message, as you’ll be using the same tablecloth year after year.
6. Involve the entire family in Thanksgiving decorations. Spoonful posts lots of creative ideas for the entire family here: spoonful.com
7. Make a hostess gift for the person who is cooking this year. Purchase an apron or a t-shirt or a gift album with sentiments of thanks from each guest. Present the gift after dinner.
8. Show your gratitude to an unsung hero. Get together with your family and decide on a person or a group in your community who could use an extra pat on the back, ie. firefighters, soldiers, police officers, volunteers. Put together a special plate of goodies and deliver it (or pack it up for shipping) as a family.
9. Preserve your traditions. After the meal, record everyone’s favorite activities. Appoint one person to be the scribe – or ask everyone to jot down a few thoughts. And don’t forget to take lots of photos. It’s fun to place disposable cameras throughout the house so everyone can capture bits of the action.
What are some of your Thanksgiving traditions? Post them below in the comments section.
In the next month look for my post: Traditions: The Christmas Edition