Thanksgiving is a wonderful time of friends, family and togetherness, and it’s a time to create special memories. One way of doing that is through new family traditions. Some family traditions gradually evolve, but there’s nothing wrong with making a purposeful family tradition and seeing it through year after year. Traditions give people something to look forward to and reminisce about, and they increase feelings of togetherness and belonging. Both are ways of continuing your family’s culture, from past generations to future generations. If you’re not sure where to begin with building some traditions into your family, here are three ideas.
Three New Thanksgiving Traditions To Begin
- Have an early morning hike
- Pass around a journal of gratitude
- Volunteer at a soup kitchen or “adopt” a needy family
Fortunately, there are very few dishes that can’t be mad ahead of time (including mashed potatoes – do an internet search for make-ahead mashed potatoes!) Thanksgiving day is a wonderful day when a lot of family is in town and you could plan a couple mile hike. It needn’t be particularly difficult or long, but enough to get you out of the house, working together with a common goal in time, and spending time in nature is something to look forward to. Plus, it’s a great way to work up an appetite!
Purchase a nice, cloth or leather bound journal from a bookstore, and name it “The Thanksgiving Journal”. Every year, pass it around the Thanksgiving Table and have every guest present write their name and what they are thankful for, in their own handwriting. If you wish to, you can also include a photo of your group from year to year. It is a wonderful way to watch a family change and grow – children grown older, new family members added, and reflect on those that are lost (and always have a written account of the blessings everyone is grateful for.) This costs very little, but could become a priceless work of art for your family.
On a day when we give thanks for all that we have, it is always helpful to remember those who are hurting, or do not have much for Thanksgiving. The ways to volunteer are endless – you could volunteer at a soup kitchen, go to the local nursing home to visit with the residents who have no family, or volunteer at your local animal shelter. You could choose a family that you know needs help and leave them a note in their mailbox a couple weeks before Thanksgiving, letting them know you are planning to buy them a Turkey and all the trimmings, and then deliver it to their door on Thanksgiving Eve. Whatever you do, it will increase your joy by helping others, which is what Thanksgiving is all about.
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