Every year I look at my calendar in September, take a deep breath and relish in the news that autumn is finally here.
And then suddenly, time speeds up when Halloween hits, I barely get to enjoy Thanksgiving, Christmas is a frenzy and then BOOM!
It’s a new year already.
But as an adult knowing that time flies, I want to slow it down just for a second for my children. I want them to know the beauty and wonder that even Thanksgiving brings. It is one of those holidays that often gets overlooked because it gets smushed between the magical allure of Halloween and Christmas. While many of us may be thankful throughout the year, it’s still important to take time on this special day and throughout November to give thanks for everything we have.
Thanksgiving traditions for families to do together
Start focusing on the beauty and message of Thanksgiving this year with a few new traditions that are super simple, yet have a lasting impact. Whether you create a thankful pumpkin or make thankful cards, you’ll love these unique Thanksgiving traditions to start now while your kids are young.
The Thankful Pumpkin (& Christmas Blessings Banner)
This Thanksgiving (or even every single night throughout November), set an empty pumpkin of some sort in the middle of the table along with a permanent marker and little pieces of paper. They can be pumpkins, an assortment of colors and shapes, just small pieces of white paper, or even on Christmas paper.
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Before dinner, have each person write down what they’re thankful for.
At the end of the meal, read off what everyone has written. This is such a wonderful tradition that gives people time to reflect on what they’ve been blessed with over the past year.
Afterwards, you can connect them with twine to hang as a visual reminder throughout the Christmas season and into the new year just what you have to celebrate and be thankful for!
Give Back Day
Set aside one day during the week of Thanksgiving to do something for others. Get everyone in your immediate family involved. Your husband may decide to deliver meals to the elderly, while you work in the soup kitchen and the kids gather canned food for the homeless shelter. There are so many things you can do to give back. Start this fun tradition in the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving and do it year after year.
In fact, maybe even set aside a day to cook together as a family and freeze those meals or goodies (because it could just be multiple loaves of pumpkin bread!), then take them to neighbors as a way to give back.
Read more about ways to instill gratefulness in young kids.
This is such a fun play on Valentine’s Day cards. Have the kids make cards for everyone in the family. Inside the cards, they will write down why they are thankful for that person. Your kids can work on the cards as you’re getting the meal ready. This gives kids a chance to think about what each person has done for them throughout the year. It’s a cute gift that your extended family will love.
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Kara is an author and advocate for positive, grace-filled parenting. She is homeschooler to her 4 children living in Boston, MA and believes in creative educational approaches to help kids dive deeper into a rich learning experience. She has her degree in Secondary Education & Adolescent Childhood Development and is passionate about connecting with and helping other parents on their journey to raise awesome kids!