Thursday, November 3, 2011

Thanksgiving Traditions

With the holiday season in full swing I am always trying to find meaningful family traditions for my family to participate in. This post is going to be about the many traditions that bring families closer together. Having "fit" family relationships is key to happiness. Spending time together in pursuit of good things will enhance our relationships. With Thanksgiving just around the corner let's focus on meaningful traditions that magnify being thankful.

 I am a bit late on this post...as it is now almost Christmas :) Oops!

1. Gather a bundle of sticks, one for each family member, and tie them together with a beautiful piece of ribbon. Where I live we have beautiful red sticks that work perfectly. Before Thanksgiving dinner bring out the sticks and pass them around the table. Each person tells the group one thing they are thankful for that year. As the family grows through marriages and births a new stick is added for each person. Over the years it is fun to watch your "bundle" grow.

2. As each person arrives ask them to write one thing they are thankful for that they believe is unique to them at this time in their life. At some point during the evening, open the jar and randomly pull answers out. See if you can guess as a group which person wrote which answer.

3. Days of Thankfulness. This is a new idea that we will be trying this year. The days leading up to Thanksgiving my family is taking the challenge to show our appreciation for those things or people we are thankful for. Each person chosen will receive a special homemade thank you card pointing out the wonderful qualities we see in them and are thankful for. We will attach the card to a small gift.

4. Find stories and information about your ancestors and their role in life as you know it. Share one of the stories with your family before dinner. I have ancestors who came across the plains in wagons and experienced all sorts of hardships and others who left family behind to come to America. These are great sacrifices that should be remembered and what better time than Thanksgiving. Maybe one of your relatives worked to receive an education that has blessed your family or found a religious way of life. The examples go on and on. What better way to create a meaningful Thanksgiving.

5. The week before Thanksgiving, choose a different family member to focus on each day. Make it a day for that person to feel an extra boost of love. Do their chores, make their favorite dinner, leave a note expressing your thankfulness for them and their unique qualities, make a favorite dessert, or take them for some special one-on-one time. I find one-on-one time to be the favorite thing to do..they choose the activity and it is just you and them, no complaining or problem solving, just fun...even my husband enjoys this one. If you want to take it further: on Thanksgiving each can share how they felt on their day.

6. This is one of my favorite things from this year. I gave each person a penny to put in their shoe. Each time they noticed the penny during the day I challenged them to think of one thing they are thankful for. This can be done for church groups, families, scout groups, school groups, the list goes on and on. It is a gentle reminder to be thankful for our many blessings.

Have other ideas? Please share!