Right around the middle of August, in the middle of Houston, I began to crave fall. It’s the time of year when I was born, and it’s always had a special place in my heart above all the other seasons. Leaves changing color, crisp air, new things starting up, bountiful harvests, enjoying some lovely family traditions…what’s there not to love?
Thanksgiving happens to be my husband’s favorite holiday, and this year I wanted to think of some new holiday traditions we could introduce into our family. See if you find something below to incorporate into your own holiday, and please share your holiday traditions in the comments below!
- Give a Wishbone to Everyone: Two people making a wish and breaking the wishbone of the turkey can be fun. But what about everyone else? This year you can purchase plastic wishbones so that everyone around the table can participate in the tradition of making a wish and breaking the wishbone.
- Organize a “Thanksgiving Leftover” Potluck: After the big day, host a Thanksgiving Leftover potluck meal with friends, family, or neighbors. Divvy up dishes so that not everyone brings the same thing or the same course.
- Host a Thanksgiving Day Brunch: Not hosting the big day? You could throw a Thanksgiving Day Brunch instead. Make it early enough in the day so that people have time to recover for the big meal, and be sure to invite whoever is going to make the big meal to give them a break. Great brunch ideas include Baked Pumpkin French toast, Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal, Homemade Cinnamon Rolls, etc. If you have children, why not include them in this tradition by cooking together? To make this even more fun, do it in pajamas and slippers!
- Wind Down with a Family Holiday Movie: Almost everyone falls into a cozy turkey coma after eating the big meal. During this semi-sleepy, snuggly time, pop in a holiday movie with family and friends. Ours is National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (absolutely hilarious, must-see if you haven’t already). Other great holiday movies include Elf, and How The Grinch Stole Christmas. Don’t forget the homemade hot chocolate.
- Organize a Thanksgiving Day Football Game in the Backyard: If you have enough competitive guests, then break them up into teams and play a football game out in the backyard. It beats sitting around watching one, and can create wonderful memories (and rivalry) for years to come. Go one step further and create a novelty trophy that the winning team gets to possess until the following year’s match.
- Make a Jar Full of Gratitude: Have each of your guests write down something they are thankful for on a piece of paper. Fold and collect them in a mason jar. During your dinner, pass the jar around and have each person pick a piece of paper and read it out loud.
- Have a Table Centerpiece Contest: Get the children involved in a contest where they craft a centerpiece for the meal table (if you do not want the centerpiece for the meal table, you can make it the kids’ table centerpiece, or a dessert/side table). Have everyone vote on their favorite and display it just before sitting down.
- Teach the Next Generation a Family Dish: This is a great time (though not in the heat of the kitchen moment right before putting the meal on the table) to teach someone from the next generation how to cook a famous family dish. Follow-up the next week or for Christmas by sending them a handwritten copy of the recipe.
- Start a Rousing Game of Monopoly: I love Monopoly, but it’s one of those games that takes a long time. For people who don’t enjoy the football game, you can get a competitive, four-hour long game of Monopoly going.
- Host a Leftover Black Friday Lunch: Mmmm….Thanksgiving leftovers. You can extend the holiday a bit by offering to host a leftover luncheon in your home for people who do not work that day. Reheat everything and serve it buffet style with as little fuss as possible. Or, create new dishes from the leftovers such as Turkey Cranberry wraps, or any of these recipes. This could also be an opportunity for another get-together for those who went Black Friday early-morning shopping (they’ll need fuel when they return home) and those who did not.
- Meet-Up or Host a Coffee/Tea Date on Black Friday Morning: If you do not want to go out on Black Friday, you could still participate by inviting Black Friday shoppers over for coffee, tea, and hot chocolate mid-morning. If you don’t feel like hosting something, then set up a coffee or tea date at a local coffee shop where you and the shopper can meet up and chat in-between their trips.