Why not replace some of those old, pre-divorce Thanksgiving traditions with new Thanksgiving traditions?
It only makes sense, especially if thoughts of the traditions you had as an intact family bring up negative emotions.
One of the best and most rewarding things about having kids is introducing them to your favorite traditions. And, building new ones that will turn into their favorites.
Show them that things like divorce and the change that comes with it can be good by building new traditions to carry with your family in the new life you’re building for yourself.
18 New Thanksgiving Traditions to Create With Your Children
Draw Your Thanks
Cover the holiday table with a white tablecloth. Place glasses filled with cloth markers around the table. Ask your children to draw what they’re thankful for or just something fun—like their favorite Thanksgiving memory.
It’s All about the Pumpkins
Place a small pumpkin at each place setting. Around the table, leave small bowls with glitter, markers, stickers, etc. and ask your children to decorate the pumpkins like their favorite Thanksgiving character–a turkey, pilgrim, Plymouth Rock … whatever.
Gather Fall Foliage
Ask children to gather up acorns, pinecones, and other outdoor foliage to make fall wreaths. You can either have these made before people arrive for dinner or make it an art project for everyone to do together while the turkey cooks.
Decorate Everything in Sight
You can find everything, pumpkins (candles, centerpieces, wreaths, etc.) and turkey (chocolate, ones that gobble) at local craft stores like Michael’s. Get everything you can, and decorate each and every room of the house with turkeys and pumpkins—even the bathroom!
Watch the Parade
Before the food and the stretchy pants come out, put on the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade. Everyone can pick out their favorite balloon and float, and you can all marvel at the new giant balloons that appear each year.
Make a Pin-Up
Hang up a large picture of a turkey and play pin the feathers on the turkey. Whoever gets the feather the closest, gets the first helping of turkey or the wishbone to make a wish.
Lend a Hand
Have your children make handprint turkeys. You can put children’s names (and the date) on them and use these as place settings. Keep them after the holiday, and bring them out each year to compare hand sizes.
Save Room for Peanuts
From Thanksgiving to Christmas, there is no shortage of fabulous movies and TV specials to watch. On Thanksgiving, pop on A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving. There’s nothing more fun for kids and adults than watching Snoopy and the gang.
Have Game Time
In between courses, bring out old school board games from Monopoly to Scrabble to Candyland and hold a board game tournament. This will give your children plenty of time to digest in between the main meal and dessert.
Toss the Ball
Besides turkey and pie, nothing says Thanksgiving like football! Grab the pigskin and enjoy the great outdoors while the turkey is cooking. And of course, watching football on TV is a time-honored tradition, too.
Jingle Those Bells
While cooking, blast some holiday music (Yes, it’s OK to start Christmas music already) and have a dance party with your children. They’ll remember those fun times more than the meal!
Make It Your Own
Formal isn’t always better. Our family tradition is that every year we all wear crazy Thanksgiving themed hats … some light up, some make noise, but everyone–even the kids get one. Some look like a turkey, while one is in the shape of a pumpkin pie complete with a dollop of whipped cream. Every year, my children look forward to picking out their funny Thanksgiving hat.
Get Some Air
People tend to eat a lot on Thanksgiving. Why not take a big family walk after dinner but before dessert? Get in some exercise, family time, and unplug from everything.
Write It Down
Instead of just saying out loud what you’re thankful for, have everyone write down what they’re more grateful for. Then you can put it in a big bowl, and people can pull out the slips of paper and then try and guess who wrote each one.
Give Something Back
It is the season to give thanks but also the season to give back. Volunteer as a family at a soup kitchen or sign up to with your children to do Toys for Tots to teach them about the season of giving. Another great idea is to ask your Thanksgiving guests to bring a non-perishable and/or canned good to donate to a local food pantry.
Run for a Cause
Get your Turkey Trot on! Raise money (and get healthy) while participating in a local turkey trot race. And get your kids involved, too!
Remember Loved Ones
Share special memories of those who have passed: stories that make you thankful for your family, both past, present, and future.
Pack Up Some Holiday Cheer
Not everyone is fortunate enough to be with their loved ones during the holiday season. Try putting together boxes for our military men and women to send overseas. Bring some joy to their holiday season.
Most of all, have a very Happy Thanksgiving!
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