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10 Easy Ways to Make Thanksgiving Meaningful For Your Family

thanksgiving, traditions, family, lds, mormon, holiday, thankfulOne year ago today I told my cute little 4 year old guess what honey, tomorrow is Thanksgiving Day! To which she responded with her positive attitude “Oh right, the day we get lunch and no dinner.” Well of all the things she could have remembered from her last 3 Thanksgiving days (and I’m telling you this girl has an amazing memory) was that we didn’t have dinner. That’s just great! So I thought I had better get some traditions going and quick so that this poor girl has something else to remember about this wonderful day besides the fact that we are starving her for half of it!

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So this year things have gone a little better so far. I think the kid’s favorite thing we have been doing is for every breakfast and dinner, we all have to pick something we are grateful for. We just write it down and then tomorrow, on Thanksgiving, we will go back over our lists and talk about why we are grateful for these things. We have had so much fun doing this. Sweet little Maya’s list is full of things like mom and dad, my aunts, my cousins, Jesus, etc. Then there is Mason’s our almost three year old whose list is the farm, cows, chickens, horse’s, the farm again, and yes giraffe’s (I don’t know why this last one is on there, the rest is from his year long obsession with farm animals).

I’m super excited about our little family Thanksgiving tradition and want to keep adding to the list of tradtions. If you are like me, and need some ideas at the last minute here are some fun traditions you can start this year! They are fun and easy with little or no planning (which is what I love best.)

1. Pick someone in your life you are grateful for and write them a letter telling them why.

2. Instead of watching TV after dinner, get up and go for a family walk. (Okay maybe wait an hour to let that turkey settle!)

3. Put out a dry erase board while the family is getting ready for dinner. Have everyone write things they are grateful for. See if you can get your board full by the time you start dinner then talk about the things on your board while you eat.

4. Watch home video’s together as a family. If you have extended family coming, you can tell them all to bring some of their favorite video’s to share.

5. Read from the scriptures about being grateful and ask follow up questions. Here are some verses and questions to get you started:

1 Chronicles 29:13 “Now, our God, we give you thanks, and praise your glorious name.”
Prompt Question: What can you give God thanks for right now and how can you praise His name?

1 Thessalonians 1:2 “We always thank god for all of you, mentioning you in our prayers.”
Prompt Question: Who can you pray for right now, mentioning them in your prayers?

Psalm 147:7 “Sing to the LORD with thanksgiving; make music to our God on the harp.”
Prompt Question: Think of a song we can sing with thankful hearts. Let’s sing it right now!

Psalm 118:28 “You are my God, and I will give you thanks; you are my God, and I will exalt you.”
Prompt Question: What does it mean to exalt God? What would that look like in your life?

Psalm 106:1 “Praise the LORD. Give thanks to the LORD, for He is good; His love endures forever.”
Prompt Question: Does God’s love ever run out? Why are you thankful for that?

Psalm 100:4 “Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise; give thanks to Him and praise His name.”
Prompt Question: Why do you think God loves it when we praise and thank Him?

Psalm 95:2 “Let us come before Him with thanksgiving and extol Him with music and song.”
Prompt Question: Why do you think God loves it when we sing to Him? Is it just the music that He loves, or the way our hearts attitude is before Him?

6. Make a blessing jar. Just grab on old jar and have your family decorate it. Then spend the next year writing things you are grateful for on slips of paper and putting them in the jar. Next Thanksgiving, open your jar and read all your blessings over the last year.

7. Have a thankful tablecloth. Run to the store and grab a plain white table cloth. Use this during Thanksgiving dinner. Then sometime during dinner everyone trace their hand with a permanent marker and write what they are grateful for. Save this and use it every year. It will be fun to look back and see what you wrote in the past.

8. Thankful Bags: Before dinner, give everyone a brown paper bag. The kids can decorate their bags. Tell everyone to write why they are grateful for each member of the family. Then during dinner, everyone take turns reading what they wrote. You can also turn this into a game and have everyone try to guess who they are taking about with each note.

9. Five Kernels of Corn: At each table setting, place five individual kernels of corn. The five kernels represent the meager rations of each pilgrim during their first hard winter in Plymouth. The kernels represent the hardships that the pilgrims suffered, but also a reminder to rejoice in the blessings that they did receive. Talk to your family about the meaning of each kernel: The traditional meaning of the first kernel celebrates the Autumn beauty and the harvest it provides. The second kernel reminds us of our love for each other. The third represents our thankfulness for family. The fourth represents friendship and the fifth kernel expresses gratitude for the freedom that the pilgrims found in America. During dinner, go around one by one, and have each person say why they are grateful for each of those categories.

10. Have a family tournament. (This is for you competitive families out there!) There are so many ideas for this but here are some easy ideas:
everyone from the toddlers to the mother in laws go out and play football, basketball, or any outdoor sport.
play family bingo and have prizes to win
family video games
card games
if you have ever seen the show Minute to Win it there are a ton of ideas for this if you Google that name. There are so many fun games that even the kids can play. The games mostly use household items so they are quick and easy to throw together!

There are a ton more ideas for tournaments on Pinterest if you want other ideas.


Hopefully some of these ideas will help you come up with some traditions of your own. I would love to hear any of your ideas in the comment section below. Thanks for reading and everyone have a very save, warm, and happy Thanksgiving day!!

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