Celebrating Thanksgiving Traditions Through Generations
When I became a first time mom, traditions suddenly had a whole different meaning for me. These little traditions would become the code childhood memory of my daughter and will hopefully bring her home year after year long after she has left home.
But I was also so very overwhelmed with all the new duties and responsibilities that come as a part of Motherhood.
Who knew a little human had the capability of spitting their entire feeding on every single one of my black sweaters!!
I had no time or energy to take on something elaborate and follow through year after year. So I went small and picked things that would gradually fall under our day to day life and sprinkled it with some gratitude to match the occasion.
Here’s a list of my favorite ThanksGiving Traditions. Before you freak out, let me remind you, we do not follow through every single one of these traditions every year. And I am a big proponent of slow living, there is no way I am going to follow through on something, just because it was on my list.
So pick and choose your favorite traditions and mold them according to your family!
Bake favorite pies together
While I have to admit I do not bake any pies, if the stores can make it better than me, I am not sweating in the kitchen making half burnt pies.
But I do love the smell of pumpkin bread baking or the apples mixed with cinnamon and butter.
So we do the next best thing, we bake pumpkin bread(store bought mix of course) and Apple crumble(this is the easiest thing to bake… ever!!!)
The kids love to help in the kitchen and mix all the two ingredients together(thank god for the store bought mix) and pour it all in baking dishes.
We then camp next to the oven until it is ready… Did I mention we have a toddler at home?
Set Up a Kids Craft Station
A good craft station is the one that keeps kids busy and the mess to a minimum!
My favorite ones are those that we get at Michaels.
We usually visit Michaels a few days in advance and pick some ThanksGiving crafts. Both my kids are at an age where they don’t need much help from us and can keep at the craft for at least an hour.
We can take their craft and use it as a centerpiece on our ThanksGiving table.
They are usually so proud of their creation!
Watch the Thanksgiving Parade
Watching the Macy’s ThanksGiving parade in the PST timezone is simply the best! Its noon, Kids have gone through several rounds of their ThanksGiving crafts already and are now ready for something else.
I usually prop them in front of the TV at noon with a small lunch and give myself and them some much needed peace and quiet.
It is so fascinating for them to watch groups after groups dressed up, sometimes performing to their favorite songs and dancing to their favorite tunes. Their little eyes light up with excitement and I can hear squeals of joy.
And the side effects? No drama at lunch time! A win-win for everyone!
Go big on setting up the Thanksgiving Table
I am always up for all the shimmer & shine and bells & whistles when it comes to setting up the ThanksGiving table.
I am usually just an assistant when it comes to setting up the table, I let my kids take the lead.
They always have their centerpieces ready and are so excited to adorn the table with their crafts.
I just hand out whatever fancy table napkins or plates or silverware they ask for.
Even if we are all going to eat from just one plate, they love to set up a table for a 5 course meal.
We all pretend to be “Royals” on the ThanksGiving day and eat our Royal Meal in style! Over the years, I have realized, kids eat better if I involve them in the process.
Also, a little bit of Royal treatment doesn’t hurt anybody!
This is one of my favorite ThanksGiving traditions!
We write Gratitude place Cards for our ThanksGiving table and everybody writes one liner about the person and why they are grateful for them.
We then all read our cards when we sit down for dinner.
We obviously all get big smiles on our faces and the room just echoes with collective AWWWss.
There is so much love and gratitude in that moment.
And deeply wish my littles will remember just how much they were loved!
Did I tell you this is my favorite ThanksGiving tradition? Couldn’t hurt to say that more 🙂
Enjoy a walk after dinner
ThanksGiving or not, we always, always go out for a stroll to our neighborhood park after dinner.
It's like a daily ritual.
Kids play and get all their wiggles out and come spent and tired for bedtime. We enjoy a beautiful evening at the park, breathing the fresh air and just clearing our mind off of the day's hustle.
After the ThanksGiving Dinner, this holds a special importance. Helps us fight off the food coma and maybe just maybe, helps burn a hundredth of the calories we just ate.
Added bonus is the Christmas decorations that start popping up around the neighborhood. Obviously that is the favorite part of the walk for the kids, to see all the beautiful decorations.
Share beloved family stories
My kids’ most favorite stories start with “When they/Mommy/Daddy were little…” And they keep asking us to retell all those fun stories about their and our childhood.
Usually we are too busy to indulge in a storytime in the evening… thanks to our never-ending todo list… but not on ThanksGiving weekend.
There is no rush to get anywhere… We still have 3 more days of fun and relaxation left.
So when the kids bring out the Family Albums, we all sit on the floor and pour through them, laughing, smiling and retelling our beloved family stories.
This is easily my second favorite tradition.
Mark the occasion, take a group photo
I mean… obviously!
I am not gonna let that scrumptious ThanksGiving table and my rarely clean kids go by without capturing this beautiful day on my camera.
Photos make our memories last forever and as I grow old… nothing matters more than creating a legacy of happy memories for my kids.
I want them and their kids to be able to look back at this time with love and nostalgia. ThanksGivings will come and go, but these memories in the form of pictures will stay with us forever.
Make or Exchange ornaments
Now I am not the creative kind and nor do I have the skill to create beautiful salt dough ornaments. Have I tried in the past? Absolutely!
Did I fail? Miserably!
So I am extremely thankful for my kids’ teachers that help them make beautiful ornaments each year. These are our favorite keepsakes.
What I do love to do is, each year, we get one custom ornament depending on what's going on in our lives that year.
Like when we bought a new house, we got an ornament in the shape of a door and front porch and dated it.
We have ornaments for the pregnancy and birth of each kid.
Obviously one with the toilet paper, that marks the year 2020.
You get the idea.
So every year on the ThanksGiving weekend, we sit and surf through Amazon together( haven’t been ornament shopping in a mall since 2020) and get our yearly ornament.
But if you enjoy making those beautiful salt dough ornaments, please go for it and don’t fall for my lazy shortcuts!
Untangle Christmas lights
I am a sucker for the twinkling lights.
When the daylight saving ends and it gets dark at an ungodly hour every evening, I wait for Thanksgiving weekend when we will get all our Christmas lights out and deck our living room, kids room and dining room with beautiful twinkling lights.
Kids obviously love to get their hands tangled with the Christmas lights. They get to choose the kind they want in their rooms this year.
We then go about the house brightening every single corner.
When it is dark outside, there should be no shortage of warmth in the house.
Decorate for Christmas
The ThanksGiving weekend is when we get our Christmas Tree out.
My kids love to decorate the Christmas Tree.
And I love my loaded-at-the-bottom-haphazard christmas tree that was decorated by the little humans that could not reach to the top of the tree.
This haphazard christmas tree is a reminder of this beautiful life and their little helping hands that decorate the tree with the best of their abilities.
They will soon grow up and I might have the perfect Christmas Tree then, but I will definitely miss this messy, bottom heavy Christmas tree.
Enjoy a movie night together
ThanksGiving weekend is also the time to kick off the Family Movie Nights- Holiday Edition!
We have some all time favorites and happily also watch anything new that Netflix churned in for the Holiday Season.
The Grinch, Klaus and Christmas Chronicle are the family favorites.
We have watched these movies at least a billion times but I have to agree… Nothing goes better with Baking Cookies than a Holiday Movie!
Am I right?
Like I said in the beginning, I am a sucker for family traditions but I also love a slow life. So over the years we have picked and dropped a few traditions because those traditions did not work for our family.
And the ones I have listed here, is a good list, but in no way am I obliged to carry every single one of traditions every year.
So relax. The Holidays can be a stressful but also a beautiful time in your family’s life. Be mindful of what you put on your plate and always always choose Joy over any to-do list.
Wishing you a very happy, joyous and grateful ThanksGiving!