Thanksgiving Family Traditions

November 23, 2009

A girl helping make rolls on Thanksgiving.We have had our Canadian Thanksgiving last month, but I would like to share our day with you. My husband and I now live in a apartment. Our children are all grown. We knew this year in order to see our kids, I had to organize a gathering. I decided it was time the children shared in the work.


So I planned on a potluck Thanksgiving dinner that included all the trimmings. Each of my children brought a dish (4), I provided the balance of the meal. We had a buffet lunch served from my small apartment kitchen counter.

Everyone found a place to rest their plate. The informal dinner brought a lot of laughter and conversations. Warm family gatherings like this last longer in the memories of my grandchildren. Happy Thanksgiving.

By Sheila from St Mary's. Ontario, Canada

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Bronze Post Medal for All Time! 108 Posts
November 26, 2009

For centuries, peoples of all religions and countries have said their own special prayers for the blessing of their food, before a meal to give thanks for the food and other good things in their lives and on their tables.

Family around the Thanksgiving table

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November 25, 2009

My husband and I have started our own family tradition that gets everyone involved. We gather in a circle and one of us starts by telling what we are thankful for, this gives everyone an example of what to do.

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November 8, 2006

This isn't a tip, just sharing our annual Thanksgiving day. We always go to my cousin's house in Columbus, and (Bless her) she ends up with a minimum of 35 people.

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October 26, 2007

As the family arrives, ask them to think of something nice that happened, with those members who have passed. After the family prayer, have as many candles, whatever size will work on your table, in votives.

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Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

November 8, 2006

Looking for ideas to start a tradition with my sister in law and her daughter (4 years old) while cooking Thanksgiving Dinner. Thank you for any suggestions/ideas!

Lori from Atlanta, NY

Thanksgiving Menus

In my family, we always had the kids make Thanksgiving Menus while the adults cooked. We have several years of colorings, drawings, "Melt In Your Mouth Mashed Potato" type food headings. It's a blast to look over.

By Carla

Get Them Involved

I have 2 girls, and one always likes to set a beautiful table with place cards and the other one loves to cook with me. If you make stuffing from scratch, a 4 year old can help break up the bread for the stuffing while you cook the other stuff to go into it and help mix it all up. If it is package stuffing, they can help mix it all up too. Just make sure their hands are clean! Kids can help with just about anything with guidance. Pick something they like to prepare and have them work together to make it. Special memories are created this way.

By Starlight

Baking Cookies

My mom, now gone, started a little tradition when my kids were 3 and 4 years old of making cookies together. They love to pat and roll them out with a rolling pin. Then decorate them with sparkles, etc. I've got some wonderful pictures too. My 3 year old then, with a big grin patting her cookies down. She's now 18 and in college. Wonderful memories. Also, any simple dish they can help with is so much fun, and keep the camera handy.

When the kids got to be around 8 or 10, they dressed up as Pilgrims and Indians for Thanksgiving dinner. More pictures. Let your kids help with decorating the table, if they're artistic, they can make some pretty name tags. Always involve your children, you'll be so glad you did. An aging momma.

By glinda

Craft Ideas

Make placemats and/or centerpieces.

By cookwie

Special Treats That Kids Can Make

One of the things I did with my boys when they were young and we were having special meals was to find cookie cutters related to the holiday or theme and have them cut bread slices out with it. Then they would spread on either spreadable cheese (which I warmed a bit to make it smoother) or softened butter that was whipped with chive, garlic, vegetable dip mix or other dried herbs or spices and then I would refrigerate them until just before dinner and broil them or a minute so the boys had something they made for the feast.

Another thing that we did was make the peanut butter pinecones (spread with peanutbutter and roll in bird seed or sunflower seeds) and popcorn strings to hang outside for a thanksgiving feast for the birds. They enjoyed this a whole lot because we would just sit together and talk about favorite family times or what we think the Macy's day Parade balloons will look like and things like that. Then they would watch the birds come and eat and try to see how many different kinds came to the yard.

By Renee Klevenhagen

Thanksgiving Tablecloth

Before we served, a sharpie was passed around for each to write (on the special thanksgiving tablecloth) three things that we were thankful for. One heartfelt, one small and easily taken for granted, and one silly/funny. If a child can not write, a parent can print for them. As a result, our 'special' cloth became more and more precious through the years.

My Grandchildren have continued the tradition, their little printed scrawl often next to their Daddy's entry when he was the same age as them. If my house was on fire, I'd try to rescue that cloth rather than my jewelry.

By Doggy

Decorate Thanksgiving Cookies

I like the idea of using my old Tupperware cookie cutters (turkey, gingerbread people, etc.) to make sugar cookies ahead of time, then mix up frosting in differnt colors and provide the children with paintbrushes and aprons to "paint" the icing on in their own creative way. Or you could make Christmas ornaments together on Thanksgiving. At my mother's house, we always put the tree up on Thanksgiving after dinner. Hope this helps!

By Tanya


November 19, 20170 found this helpful

I used to read a story to my class from Highlights called "The Biscuit Tradition". The family feeds leftover biscuits to the birds sharing their food with them.


A very sweet tradition (and a simple one) to start.

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November 6, 20210 found this helpful

I would like to share Our Family's Tradition for Our own Thanksgiving!
After all our 4 children got married and started their families, we decided to change Thanksgiving a bit. This was mainly because now each kid has 2 families to spend time with on holidays. That is a lot of running around with babies and small children. We now have 11 grandchildren and 1 great-grandson. We are a family of 23 now! Well, years ago, we made a change to have Our Own Traditional Thanksgiving on the Sunday before Thanksgiving. And it has worked out beautifully all these years. This frees each of the kids and grandkids to spend Thanksgiving with their other grandparents and no hectic running around. My husband and I would spend Thanksgiving with my mom & siblings. But, surprisingly, my kids would pop over for a little while to see their grandmother and aunts and uncles! So Thankful for respectful kids!

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