Unique Thanksgiving Traditions to Start This Year

Whether this is your first Thanksgiving as a family or you are just looking for some new ways to spice up your Turkey Day celebrations, starting a new tradition can be fun and exciting! Everyone eats Turkey and watches football on Thanksgiving. If you are looking for some unique traditions, ones that your family will love and keep coming back to every year, not just because they are traditions, but because they are actually fun, here are some perfectly unique Thanksgiving traditions. Try a few this year and maybe even avoid the boredom that usually sets in waiting for the turkey to cook.

1. Give out “thank you” awards.

Instead of just pondering on what you’re thankful for, have everyone in the family write down things they love about each other and why they are thankful to be a family (or, if you are celebrating with friends, a friend group). You can even make turkey-themed stationary or pumpkin place card holders for this activity. During dinner, have each person hand out their “thank you” awards to all of the other members of the group and talk about why they are thankful this year.

2. Make a Thankfulness Tank.

This is a project you can conduct all year, every year, which comes to a climax each year on Thanksgiving Day. Set out a jar with some slips of paper or cards and a pen. Throughout the year (or throughout Thanksgiving Day), have people write down what they are thankful for and put it into the jar. They can sign them, or not. A great focus of the Thankfulness Tank would be to write down a personal note to each family member, thanking them for something kind they did during the year. If you leave out the tank for the entire year, try to remember to add to it regularly.

3. A Thanksgiving advent calendar.

Advent calendars are traditionally used for Christmas, but they are just as fun for Thanksgiving. Draw a tree or print one off of the computer, and make enough leaves out of yellow, brown, and red paper to represent the days left until Thanksgiving. On the top, number each leaf, and on the bottom, write a category of something you might be thankful for. For example, you could write “house,” on the bottom of a leaf. On that day, pull the leaf off of the tree and discuss why you are thankful for a warm, safe home.

4. A fall tree of thanks.

This is a great activity for the kids! Make a construction paper tree and stick it to the wall. Then, cut leaves out of red, brown, yellow, and orange paper. Each day leading up to Thanksgiving, have everyone in the family write something that they are thankful for on a leaf and stick it to a tree. Not only does it help to remind you to be grateful, it doubles as a decoration.

5. Thankfulness journal.

This will become a beloved keepsake over the years. Get a nice journal, one that will keep together over years of use. Each year, let each family member or friend who attends Thanksgiving dinner write a note or two about what they are thankful for. While you can read the notes during the meal, it will also be something great to look at throughout the year. This is a great project if you have shy family members or friends who are sheepish about expressing their thanks or receiving it around the table. Plus, it’s a great way to track priorities and to watch your children and friends grow over the years.

6. Give back.

Thanksgiving Day shouldn’t just be about sitting down and eating a huge meal. It can also be about providing service to people who are not as fortunate. Giving service is a great way to show appreciation for what you have. Donating money or food to a food bank is a great place to start, as is volunteering to help with their meals, either cooking or serving. It doesn’t have to be elaborate, but it is a great way to give back and give thanks for what you have.

7. Roll up some gratitude.

Did you know that you can write notes on parchment paper and roll them into crescent roll dough, baking a note of thanks right into the roll? Once everyone breaks into a roll and pulls out their “thankfulness fortune,” have everyone read what the parchment paper says. For a fun game, after each person reads, have them guess who wrote the note.

8. Decorations of gratitude.

If a construction paper tree, taped to the wall, is not your style, instead, gather branches or buy them from a craft store. Put them in a festive vase and have people hang little paper leaves, tagged with what they’re thankful for, on the branches. Not only will it get everyone in the gratitude mood, it will also look great at the center of the table. As you enjoy the meal, go around the table, pull off a leaf, and read what someone is grateful for.

9. Try a foreign Thanksgiving.

The United States isn’t the only country that celebrates a Thanksgiving-type holiday. Even if your family has been in the States since the First Thanksgiving, look into how other countries give thanks. If you have a strong foreign heritage, Thanksgiving is the perfect time to try something non-traditional, especially if your family is getting tired of turkey and stuffing. If your family hails from Scotland or India or Asia, don’t be afraid to tip your hat to that cultural heritage. After all, isn’t that really what Thanksgiving is about? Celebrating your family and your heritage?

Thanksgiving Decorating Ideas and Tips

If you like to go all-out when it comes to Thanksgiving decorations, you have come to the right place! Before you go out and start looking for your Thanksgiving party supplies, we have a couple of tips to make your decorating this year much more fun and festive. Whether you are throwing a classy and sophisticated Thanksgiving, or a casual and classic Turkey Day, we can help you get your house and table ready for your guests and for your delicious meal.

1. Go natural.

The fall season is all about rich colors. From brown, to orange, to deep greens and reds, most of fall’s colors come from the changing greenery and the outdoors. Bring some of those colors in from the outside, with natural branches or pinecones in a vase, pressed red and yellow leaves adorning the walls, and gourds in yellow, orange, and green on your mantle, fireplace, or piano. Take a walk around your neighborhood and pick up some decorations to compliment the Thanksgiving decorations you choose from the store.

2. Go rustic.

There is something about the fall that makes us want to hearken back to our traditions and to the “good old days.” When it comes to decorations, which usually means that we break out the metals and deep woods. Just as metallic colors are almost always in for fall fashion, they are in for Thanksgiving decorations as well. Look for banners, wooden or metal lettering, etc. in rustic materials.

3. Focus on the pumpkin.

Pumpkins aren’t just for Halloween. Uncarved, they are just as great for Thanksgiving as they for Halloween. You can make the pumpkin the focal point of your table, playing off of its colors for the rest of your décor. A pumpkin, surrounded by a couple of other gourds, makes a perfectly fine centerpiece, without any other embellishments necessary. If you do want to dress them up a little, you can paint your entire pumpkin or even just stencil a word or monogram on the side.

4. Make your own turkey.

While you probably already have plans to make the real turkey, when Thanksgiving rolls around, in order to get your home ready for the big day, make some paper turkeys for the walls to complement the meal. You can do the classic hand-tracing and coloring design for some paper turkeys that are reminiscent of your childhood, find a stencil online to trace onto red, yellow, and brown construction paper, or find cutouts and other turkeys in our store.

5. Set your table.

Thanksgiving dinner is a special meal and it should have a special table! Look for placemats in fall colors or that match your theme. If you are having a rustic Thanksgiving, for example, burlap rectangles could make charming and inexpensive placemats. Use twine to hold together your utensils and serve drinks in mason jars instead of fancier glasses. For a fancier affair, metallic placemats and dishes brighten a room and a beaded utensil holder will pull all of the décor together.

6. Decorate with food.

Pies and candy can be just as decorative as anything else. Because pumpkin pie is a staple in most households and the color of the pie matches the season so well, setting out your gorgeous pie can make the room look and smell beautiful. Fill a jar with candy corn or other fall-colored candies and set them around the house for quick snacking and a festive feel.

7. Don’t forget the place cards.

Whether you are throwing a fancy affair or a classic and rustic one, or if only your immediate family is attending and you know exactly where you are supposed to sit, there is something especially festive about a place card. This is another great place to slip in a turkey or a pumpkin on your table. A turkey silhouette, cut from metallic paper, is both festive and fancy, while one from craft paper will be infinitely charming.

8. Go untraditional.

If you hold on to a few traditional elements, like seasonal flowers or branches from the outdoors, you can throw in a few unexpected colors and really spruce up a room and turn the whole season on its head. Just because it’s fall doesn’t mean you have to decorate will fall colors, especially if they aren’t exactly your favorites. A classic blue and white tablecloth will hearken back to family meals in farmhouses and antler decorations will speak to the season and to the bounty about to be placed on the table.

9. For the table, keep away from tall centerpieces.

If the centerpiece is too tall, it will be impossible for your guests to talk to one another, which is the point of a Thanksgiving meal, to come together, discuss what you are thankful for, and eat together as friends or family. A few pumpkins or some short dried-flower centerpieces will be preferable to branches or stacked pieces that make it difficult to see who is sitting across from you.

10. Go candlelit.

The pilgrims didn’t have electricity and they ate just fine! Opting for candles over full-lighting will make the setting more intimate and encourage discussion between your guests. Plus, they are a great way to highlight the great meal you’ve prepared.

The most important tip of all is to have fun! If you spend too much time worrying about whether or not your dinner is going to go off without a hitch, you are likely not going to have very much time to be thankful for your friends, family, and blessings of the year.