What does Thanksgiving mean to you and yours?
Do you find yourself going through the motions during the holidays?
Does it feel mundane, or are you overwhelmed?
Do you feel that you or your family have forgotten the real meaning of Thanksgiving?
Since my family and I have moved to beautiful Charleston, we are not surrounded by our family, which got me thinking, “Maybe it’s time for my little family to start our own traditions!”
So after some brainstorming this is what I came up with:
Start a tradition to give back to others in need in your community:
- Participate in a local food drive. Even if you just donate a can or two of vegetables at your local grocery store.
- Perform random acts of kindness. It could be as simple as holding the door open for someone, or paying it forward at the grocery store or coffee shop. There are some really creative ideas on Pinterest to make it fun for your kids to get involved. Leave little notes with a coin taped to a quarter machine, saying, “you’ve been blessed by a random act of kindness.” It’ll make your kids smile knowing how excited they would be to find that.
- Spread joy by contacting your local senior care residences and ask if your little ones could come read their favorite holiday book to their residents, or maybe make a small craft to share.
- Give the gift of nourishment. Some local soup kitchens/food banks allow you to bring your children along to help distribute meals. If not, there may be a local nonprofit organization that may allow kids to help in the fight against hunger.
- Contact your local church to help with missions in your area.
Set your table as a family
Make it a tradition by getting your kids involved in making each family member’s place special. Plus, it will help you check another “to do” off of your list.
Watch the Macy’s day parade
An oldie but goody! Thanksgiving isn’t the same without it!
Put your Christmas tree up
If you aren’t too full to do so, maybe start this tradition. Get a step stool for your kids and let them help decorate (if you have faith in them to not do a trust-fall into the tree). Take the time to talk about the ornaments that have a story attached to them. I know as a little girl, I loved decorating our tree.
Play a game inside or outside as a family
If the weather is cooperating, play a game of tag or kickball outside. I remember playing with all of my cousins when I was younger and as we got older, it was our children playing as we sat around, talked and drank wine.
Leave a jar accessible, possibly by your front entryway table with a pen attached and a small notepad. Every time you feel blessed in any way, write it down and seal it in the jar. On Thanksgiving day, open your family’s jar of blessings and share it with your loved ones. As humans we sometimes fail to remember the good times when we are faced with tough ones, what a beautiful way to be reminded!
Learn or share a new or family recipe
How many times have you tasted something during the holidays and said “I wish I had that recipe!” Take the time out to ask and write it down. Maybe the next time you make a dish for a gathering, print the recipe and place in front of your dish on the table!
Save the wishbone
I know as a child this was one of my favorite parts. The anticipation of waiting for it to dry out on the windowsill, so that my brother and I could pull it, was torture! Too often we forget about the simplicity of life and get wrapped up in the frills and expectations of what the holidays have become.
Bringing extra food to a neighbor
How many of y’all have a neighbor who is widowed, single or maybe even a scrooge? Most of us cook entirely too much food and will never eat all of those leftovers. So, after your company has left or everyone is in a food-coma, take your kids with you to spread the news of what Thanksgiving is really about, being thankful for what you have and wanting only what you need.