Four Thanksgiving Traditions to Consider Starting

As my children are growing up a little too fast (insert tear), I have found we need to start some new traditions for a new season of life.  Some of the stories and activities we did together preteen years are starting to feel a little babyish and lose their charm.  Rather than being sad about this I am embracing creating new memories and remembering the overall purpose is to spend time together strengthening our family ties and connections.  Thanksgiving traditions are also a fun way to build anticipation to the event itself- gathering around a table breaking bread and eating lots of yummy food.





Taking a minute to catch your breath amid the hurry and scurry of busy days is one of the things I love most about Thanksgiving and the holidays in general. One way to acknowledge blessings now and remind ourselves of them for a while to come is with a Thankful Jar.


All you need is a mason jar and some paper and pens.  You can use one large jar for your family or individual smaller jars.  If you are feeling extra fancy, decorate your jars with paper, leaves, stickers, whatever.


Leave this out and let people walk by and jot down anything they are thankful for.Then, gather together to read about all of the blessings your family has experienced. You can read them all on Thanksgiving or maybe a day at a time leading up to Christmas.  Find what works for your family and go for it.





Another fun thanksgiving tradition idea is Gratitude Notes. When you set the table for dinner have a place card at each setting. In addition to each person’s name, include a reason you are thankful for that person.


If your children are older, you could even have them take part in adding to the lists for each person in advance. Try to keep the lists hidden so they are truly a surprise for each person on Thanksgiving.  This idea may seem a little cheesy to some but even the oldest children among us love to hear why they are loved.





Set out a collection of great holiday classics and mix in some new flicks too. Here’s a list of some of my favorites:


  • A Christmas Story
  • Charlie Brown Christmas
  • Planes, Trains and Automobiles
  • The Polar Express
  • Four Christmases (more adult humor than the others)
  • It’s a Wonderful Life
  • Home Alone
  • Miracle on 34th Street
  • National Lampoons Christmas Vacation




Find a branch that works- one you can make stable that has smaller branches for hanging paper leaves on. Or you can buy a small fake tree if you prefer that.  Cut out paper leaves and have everyone fill them up writing what they are thankful for.  Add some each day or all at once, again whatever works for your family. The idea is simply for everyone to take a minute and think about all the things we have and what we should give thanks for.


Krista Numbers

Krista is the founder of Simplify Supper. She is passionate about making family dinner a priority and strives to provide simple solutions to make it happen.

Feb 02, 2014
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