Having a big Thanksgiving meal is only part of the celebration. To make it a truly memorable occasion, you need to take some time to celebrate in such a way that you’ll treasure the holiday memories forever. Here are some ideas to make this the most memorable Thanksgiving ever.
1 – Count your blessings with a blessing tree. Have every family member and guest write his or her name and a blessing on construction paper leaf-shaped cut-outs. You can use a branch from outdoors to hang your blessing “leaves” on, or paste them onto a flat paper cut-out of a tree that you have glued to a sturdy piece of paper or cardboard.
2 – Volunteer your time and your family’s time at a local soup kitchen, homeless shelter, or nursing home. Food pantries are another area where you can give of your time – they are usually very busy at this time of year.
3 – Have guests over to share your Thanksgiving meal, but invite someone new. Maybe you can share your celebrations with a new neighbor, or someone from another country, or an elderly person without any family nearby.
4 – Invoke the history of the holiday into your celebrations. With crafts, decorations, and authentic foods and table settings, you can present a Thanksgiving meal that is rich in history and tradition.
5 – If there are children involved, get them into the celebration. Children can help celebrate by making decorations or even putting on a Thanksgiving play or puppet show.
6 – Start a blessing chain. On strips of colored paper, guests and family members can write something they are thankful for. Then, the strips will be linked to make a paper chain. Each year, more links can be added.
7 – Start a tradition. Whether it’s serving a special dish or playing a certain game, start something that you don’t do any other time of year, and that you can continue year after year.
8 – Make phone calls to family members who can’t be present for the festivities. Have everyone participate in the phone calls. Making cards or notes to send is another activity that will help your family connect.
9 – Have everyone share something he or she is thankful for. You can do this by writing these things down, then reading them aloud at the table, or by making them into a decoration like the blessing tree. One way or another, having guests and family members share their sense of gratitude is a memorable family tradition.