Ten Ways to Make Thanksgiving More Memorable

Thanksgiving is a wonderful time to teach your daughter the value of giving back. Help your child make the most of Thanksgiving by planning activities that can become family traditions. Try these tips to make your “turkey” day extra special this year:

Ways to Give Thanks:

  • Make a “Thankful List.” Sit down with your daughter and make a list of all the things she is thankful for. Then help her find a way to “give back.” For example, if your toddler says she’s thankful for her stuffed animals, have her pick out a couple to donate to a local charity like Children’s Hospital. If you’re 9 year old says she’s thankful for her new Hannah Montana books, then pick up an extra book to donate to an organization like Toys for Tots. This will teach her that others can share in her joy.
  • Give “Thanks” aloud. Many families take a moment on Thanksgiving Day to allow each person to say aloud what he or she is thankful for.  This can be done anytime during the day, or right before the Thanksgiving meal.
  • Get crafty. Your daughter will delight in simple Thanksgiving crafts to commemorate the special occasion. Make Thanksgiving place mats together to use at the meal out of colored paper and laminate. Take some white felt and make Pilgrim hats. Whatever craft you choose, it will make the occasion special and create lasting memories for your family. Don’t forget to crack out the camera so you can document all of the wonderful Pilgrim hats!
  • Plan family projects. Choose games or crafts that are designed to reinforce the importance of family. Make a homemade Thanksgiving card with handprints to send to grandparents or craft a family tree poster to display on Thanksgiving Day. You may also make collages from duplicate family photos and turn them into placemats or napkin holders. Whatever project you choose, make sure it has a “family” theme to it and that you get as many family members as you can to work on it for some good old fashion fun!
  • Collect and display favorite Thanksgiving recipes. Starting family traditions can be a wonderful aspect of the holiday season. Begin by collecting recipes from family members or magazines that you would like to serve every year at Thanksgiving. Let your daughter help by taping or gluing the recipes into a book or simply offer to let her help you out in the kitchen. Cooking and baking together can provide you both with wonderful quality time.
  • Read Thanksgiving stories together. Set aside a few moments on Thanksgiving Day to sit down and read a Thanksgiving story. You can expand this fun and educational family time by reading a Thanksgiving book to your child a couple weeks leading up to the holiday. Some great book recommendations include: The Thanksgiving Story by Alice Dalgliesh, Squanto and the Miracle of Thanksgiving by Eric Metaxas, A Plump and Perky Turkey by Teresa Bateman and Jeff Shelly, Thanksgiving is for Giving Thanks by Margaret Sutherland and Sonja Lamut , and My First Thanksgiving by Tomie dePaola .
  • Get marching! Put together a Thanksgiving day parade or play for your family. You can include family, friends or neighbors and the theme can be anything from Indians to turkeys.
  •  Thanksgiving football game. Plan a neighborhood or family game of football on Thanksgiving. Football is for girls too, so let your daughter go for it!
  • Invite someone new to dinner. Invite someone you’ve never asked before to join you for your Thanksgiving meal. This creates a sense of family and shows your daughter that reaching out to others is an important part of giving and being thankful.
  • Ornament exchange. For some families, Thanksgiving also symbolizes the “kick off” of the holiday season. You may opt to exchange a holiday ornament with your family after Thanksgiving dinner. The ornament can be homemade (arguably the best kind!) or store bought, but be thoughtful and creative. If you purchase an ornament, it should have a symbolic meaning for your family.