Ways to Create Meaningful Thanksgiving Traditions with Your Family

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Turkey, football and the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade may be Thanksgiving go-tos, but the holiday can have so much more depth when you incorporate some truly unique family Thanksgiving traditions that will stick with people for years to come.

Thanksgiving can be made up of rituals and customs we all remember forever. Passing on family traditions to our children and sharing them with a table full of blended friends and family is one of the most satisfying things a parent can do.

Looking to add fun Thanksgiving traditions to your family’s holiday repertoire? Here are some meaningful and creative ideas the whole family will cherish.

Pass around a journal
Simply pass a blank journal around the Thanksgiving table, asking all the guests to write at least one thing that they are thankful for. For kids too young to write, have an adult transcribe. Over the years, fill the book with comments and enjoy reading them aloud at Thanksgiving celebrations to come. It is truly wonderful to read how gratitude reflections change over time.

One of the best Thanksgiving traditions for families? Volunteering together! Thanksgiving is a great time to give back to your community and help those in need — and it’s one of the richest customs you can incorporate into your family’s holiday. How and where you choose to volunteer depends on the age of your children, but there are tons of ways to give back — simply research local volunteer opportunities in your area.

Personalize the table
Sure, there are a million Pinterest images of stunning Thanksgiving tablescapes, but instead of having everything just so on Thanksgiving, aim to mix it up.

Some of the most beautiful Thanksgiving tables I’ve seen bring family stories to life by mixing and matching dishes, napkins and serving trays. Instead of reaching for the fancy china set, choose pieces with history — and be sure to tell stories about where you were when you collected it, who gave it to you and why it’s special. Even a chipped china plate can be reused with love and laughter as you share how that chip occurred and why that person, perhaps no longer alive or nearby, brought joy to your lives and hearts.

Additionally, don’t worry about fancy Etsy-bought place cards. Instead, have the kids put their beloved art skills to good use. Making homemade place cards is something everyone can enjoy — and it makes the table that much more special. Have kids trace and cut out leaves or collect pine cones from the back yard and turn them into place cards. Even the act of collecting items for the table will make a myriad of memories to share.

Give kids an important job they do each year
Serving dessert? Making coffee? Setting the table? Help kids feel like an important part of the festivities by giving them “their” job each year.

Have a table toast
Let’s not forget what the most important part of Thanksgiving is: being thankful. If passing around a journal feels a little too formal for your family, have a roundtable toast. Asking each guest to raise their glass, even if it’s a sippy cup full of milk, and make a toast about what they’re thankful for is a great way to start Thanksgiving dinner.

Our team at 1890 House wishes you and your loved ones a wonderful, thankful holiday!

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