Thanksgiving Family Traditions

Thanksgiving Family Traditions
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Thanksgiving Family TraditionsThanksgiving Traditions to Suit Your Family

By Brenda Hyde

Thanksgiving brings about thoughts of thankfulness and gratitude for most people, even if they never speak aloud of what is in their heart. Many families have a tradition of taking turns telling each other what they are thankful for before, during or after the Thanksgiving meal. While this is a wonderful tradition, it's not always right for every family.

All families are a mixture of unique personalities and while some people love expressing themselves with spoken words, others freeze up when asked to say their feelings out loud. Consider your family members and how they will be comfortable expressing their gratitude. Below are a few ideas to get you started on creating your own Thanksgiving Traditions.

Expressive: Ask everyone in the family to write a poem, draw a picture, make a collage or sing a song that expresses how they feel. This is especially wonderful when there are many artistic family members. If someone is shy when it comes to reading their poem, let them pick another family member to read it for them.

Mystery Game Fans: Ask each family member to print what they are thankful for in one sentence. Place all of the slips of paper into a jar or bowl. Hand out one slip of paper to each person, making sure they don't have their own sentence. Each person should read the paper they were given aloud. They try to guess who wrote the sentence first, and if they are wrong, the next person guesses and so on. Whoever guesses correctly receives a point, and the person with the most points at the end wins.

Picture Perfect: Ask each family member to bring a photo, drawing or even a picture they found in a newspaper or magazine that represents what they are thankful for this year. Have a piece of foam board or poster board, along with colored markers, so everyone can tape or glue their picture to the board and write their name below it.

Thankful Hands: While this is often a child's project, it is even more fun when the adults and children participate. Everyone should trace their hand on construction paper, and cut it out with scissors. The small children will need assistance. Ask each person to write what he or she is thankful for on the paper hand. When they are all completed, the hands can be glued to a poster board or put into a bowl and read aloud.

Name that Tune: Ask each family member to find a song that represents what he or she are thankful for this year. People should decide how they want to share the song. Options could be singing, listening to the song, watching a video that was made for the song, reading the lyrics or printing out the lyrics for everyone to read. This allows for a lot of creativity.

After reading the above suggestions, you may think of another way your family can express their gratitude. Encouraging reflection on what we are thankful for in our lives is the goal of these activities. In order for this to happen, it’s important to find a comfortable way for family members to express themselves. You may need to think outside the box, but once you hit on the best method of expression for your family, it will become a joyful tradition each Thanksgiving.


About The Author

Brenda Hyde is a freelance writer living on ten acres in rural Michigan with her husband and three kids. She is a mom, grandma, gardener, cook and writer. She blogs on all of these topics at


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