November with pumpkins.

Thanksgiving is the low key middle child when it comes to winter holidays. Halloween scares up a good time with fun costumes and friendly frights. Christmas is the holiday everyone waits for with great anticipation. Surrounded by these big ticket holidays, Thanksgiving sometimes seems to get lost in the shuffle. How can you make your Thanksgiving season stand out? Choose a new tradition to embrace with your family! Here are some simple Thanksgiving traditions to make November memorable.

A family hikes together.

Go on a Family Gratitude Walk or Hike

It’s easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of cooking, cleaning, and entertaining guests! Make time in the morning to get out in nature and ponder the things you are thankful for. Not only will this boost your mood, its a great way to start your day with positivity.

A sign that says fasting.

Consider a Morning Fast on Thanksgiving Day

Fasting Thanksgiving morning can help you enjoy your family feast more fully. When you’re fasting, your body becomes more sensitive to insulin, which means that you’ll be able to better metabolize the carbohydrates you consume at dinner. This can help you to avoid feeling bloated and sluggish after eating.

Picture of people racing.

Participate in a Turkey Run

If you want to make things more exciting, sign up for a Turkey run as a family. Many turkey runs are benefits for local charities, so participating in an organized run is a great way to support a cause you care about. It’s also a fantastic way to get some healthy activity in on the holiday.

Practice gratitude daily sign.

Have a Gratitude Moment Everyday in November

Take the time to think of and share one thing you are thankful for each day in November. Doing this at dinnertime or right before bed is a great way to squeeze it in.

A far filled with notes.

Establish a Gratitude Jar

Have your family fill a jar with notes about things they are grateful for in November. Read them out loud at Thanksgiving dinner.

Memories in a box.

Create a Gratitude Time Capsule

Gather some items that represent your family’s blessings, such as photos, drawings, and letters. Place the items in a box and bury it in the backyard. On Thanksgiving Day next year, dig up the time capsule and share the items with each other.

Family toasting a good meal.

Gratitude Toast

 After dinner, raise your glasses and toast to gratitude. Take a moment to reflect on all the good things in your life and to express your gratitude to others.

A person writing a letter.

Send Gratitude letters

Write letters to loved ones in November expressing your gratitude for them. Send them out before Thanksgiving, or hand them out at Thanksgiving dinner.

A puzzle

Complete a Beautiful Puzzle Together

Set out a puzzle that has to do with something your family loves. Work on it throughout the month. It could even be a puzzle you created online, such as a family picture or a picture from a vacation. This can also be something fun for guests to work on before and after Thanksgiving dinner.

Food Drive

Plan a Small Family Service Project

Have family members bring extra canned foods to Thanksgiving dinner that you can drop off to a local food pantry. This is an easy way to do some service together.

A give thanks sign.

Create a Gratitude tree

 Draw a tree trunk on a large piece of paper and tape it to the wall. Then, provide family members with paper leaves and have them write something they are grateful for on each leaf. Tape the leaves to the tree trunk.

Honor Family Members Who Have Passed Away

If you have had a family member pass away during the year, take some time at dinner to show their picture and talk about memories with this person. This can be a great time to teach children and help them connect their grandparents and great grandparents who have passed on.

People playing a board game.

Pull Out Some New or Classic Board Games

Playing games together is a fun way to interact and create new memories. You could have a tradition of getting a new game to play as a family in November to help you spend more quality time together.

A family watches a slideshow on the computer.

Make and Watch a Family Slideshow

Slideshows have never been easier to make! Have family members submit a few pictures each and make a slideshow you can all enjoy together on Thanksgiving.


Choose a day to do a “Friendsgiving”

Show your friends how thankful you are for them by inviting them over for a causal dinner. You don’t need to prepare a fancy meal. Order taco’s or burger’s and spend some time talking about fun times you’ve shared.

A slice of pumpkin pie.

Take Neighbors a Dessert

Drop off a treat to your neighbors with a note that says, “you make life sweet.” Show the people in your community how much they matter to you by remembering them in November.

Mexican food

Ditch the Turkey

Let you children or guests each choose their favorite food to have at Thanksgiving. You could end up with an amazing eclectic Thanksgiving dinner. Pass the enchaladas with side of curry please!

A couple goes out to eat.

Go Out To Dinner

Sick of cooking all day? Go out to eat instead! Have a truly relaxing meal by having the work done for you. Get your turkey fix, or eat somewhere totally unique.

A little boy does thanksgiving crafts.

Set Up An Arts or Crafts Table

You can do this for kids or adults! Have your guest make something they can take home, or better yet something they can share with someone else.

Family talking

Conduct Interviews

Go around with a cell phone an interview people about what they are thankful for, or have them talk about highlights of the year. Use the footage to create a video you can share at New Year’s or Thanksgiving next year.

Gather Family History

Create a brief questionnaire guests can fill out every year and collect your families history. Discover interesting facts and fun family stories so that they can be passed down for future generations.

Nice Tableware laid out.

Use Your Best China

If you are willing to put in the extra effort, use your best china for the dinner. Make the day stand out by being a little more fancy on Thanksgiving.

Nice clothing laid out.

Dress To Impress

Instead of showing up in sweats and a tee-shirt, wear some nicer clothing to Thanksgiving dinner. Show your host how much you appreciate their hard work by showing up for the occasion. Teach your kids to do the same by looking your best on Thanksgiving.

A family cuddles together.

After Dinner Cosy Time

Once the food is put away, encourage everyone to relax without hurrying to do dishes. Have some cosy blankets and pillows available to help people rest after a large meal.

A family does dishes together.

Have a Dishes Party

Make cleaning up a fun part of Thanksgiving. Have someone take the role of DJ and play upbeat tunes while everyone pitches in. Let people request their favorite songs. Keep things light hearted by dancing and being silly together.

A thank you card

Make a Group Thank You Card For The Host

Surprise your Thanksgiving host by having all the guests write a brief note of gratitude and sign it. This can be as simple as folding a piece of paper and passing it around while the host isn’t looking.

A family reads together.

Read a book about Thanksgiving or Gratitude As A family

There are some wonderful books about gratitude and Thansgiving. Choose one to read every year, or pick a new one to enjoy together.

Start the Day With A Gratitude Meditation

Before you even get out of bed, take the time to meditate and visualize what you are thankful for. This is a fansitastic way to get your mind in a thankful headspace.

Play the Thank You Game

Have kids see how many times they can say thank you during Thanksgiving. Ask them what their record was by the end of the day.

Children chatting.

Play The Compliment Game

Have children see how many sincere compliments they can give others during thanksgiving. Ask them how many they gave out during the day

Donate Toys In November

Have your kids pick out toys in November that they are willing to donate. This is a great way to teach service and get your house tidy before the Christmas season.

Offer To Help Clean The Hosts House The Day Before Thanksgiving

Show your gratitude to your host by helping to clean their home before the big day. This can relieve alot of stress for the host and help you demonstrate your appreciate for all their efforts.

A boy plays the trumpet.

Have a Family Talent Show

Invite family members to share a talent on Thanksgiving. This could be showing art, singing, playing a musical instrument, or even just a stupid human trick.

Create a family ritual

This could be saying a prayer of Thanksgiving together or going around and telling eachother one thing you are gratful for. Choose something that is comfortable for your famlies culture.

Give Children a Special Job

Kids love to feel included, let them feel needed on Thanksgiving by having them help set the table, or having the special assignment of passing out dessert.

Combine hors d’oeuvres With Interesting Conversational Cards

Get the conversation flowing by passing out a conversational card to your guests. Give each person a chance to share theirs while you enjoy appetizers.

A family facetimes together.

Have a scheduled Facetime Moment To Include Family Members Unable to Attend

Be inclusive by inviting those who couldn’t come to a a quick zoom you display on your television. Take the time to let them know they are loved and missed.

A woman with a box of clothing to donate.

Host A Family Clothing Drive

Have you guests bring lightly used clothing to Thanksgiving they don’t need anymore. This is a great way to clean out closets and help other’s in need.

Watch a Thanksgiving Movie Together

Watch a classic holiday or Thanksgiving dinner together. You can also look for movies that are focused on family and uplifting topics.

A woman uses her cell phone.

Have a Screen Free 30

Have everyone put their phones on airplane mode for 30 minutes so that all your guests are more than just physically present with each other. This is another great way for people to talk more and bond together.

Take Time To Remember Native American’s and Recognize their Contributions

Honor the origional inhabitants of America by learning about their culture and contributions. Watch a documentary, visit a museum, or talk to native American neighbor about their heritage.

The Importance of Traditions

Family traditions at Thanksgiving time are a cherished part of the holiday season! They provide a sense of belonging, stability, and predictability, and they teach important values such as gratitude and compassion. Traditions can also help to create lasting memories.

  • They teach children about the importance of family and community. When children see their parents and grandparents participating in family traditions, they learn that these traditions are important to the family and that they are part of something bigger than themselves.
  • They provide a sense of comfort and familiarity. In a world that is constantly changing, family traditions can provide a sense of comfort and familiarity for children and adults alike. Knowing what to expect on Thanksgiving can be a source of comfort and security, especially for young children.
  • They help us to appreciate the good things in life. Thanksgiving is a time to reflect on all that we’re grateful for, and family traditions can help us to do just that. When we participate in our favorite Thanksgiving traditions, we’re reminded of all the good things in our lives, both big and small.

Choose What Fits Best For Your Family

Not all of these ideas will resonate your families culture and that’s okay! Pick traditions that you think will work best for your own situation and avoid feeling pressure to doing what everyone else seems to enjoy. Most of all, have a wonderful Thanksgiving season!

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