Your teenager hasn’t taken his eyes off his smartphone. Your kids whine about eating vegetables. Your husband zones out watching football games. You’re stuck in the kitchen all day. If this sounds like your family on Thanksgiving, it may be time to change things up. Most people keep the same traditions year after year, even if they aren’t working. Adding a few activities to what you’re already doing may bring some excitement back to your holiday.
Creative Family Picture
Everyone disappears when it’s time to take the annual family picture. Thanksgiving is a great opportunity to get it done. Be creative with your pictures this year. Have everyone hold a small chalkboard telling what they’re thankful for, or coordinate your outfits and go for a more traditional style. Ask the kids how they want to pose to get them feeling involved. Surprisingly, kids can come up with some pretty clever ideas. These pictures will be just in time for Christmas cards. Upload them to a site that specializes in photo cards like minted.com. Let the kids help you pick out the design.
Homemade Realistic Decorations
Thanksgiving-themed decorations are not only expensive, but also inaccurate. According to National Geographic’s website, Pilgrims did not wear black, dreary clothing. Their clothes were bright and colorful! The original Thanksgiving meal didn’t include turkey, either. They ate deer and shellfish. Print out a more realistic story of the original Thanksgiving. Also, search online for popular paintings of the first Thanksgiving. After you read the story out loud, have everyone use colors and paints to make more accurate scenes. These make personalized and accurate Thanksgiving decorations.
For many American families, Thanksgiving just isn’t the same without the Macy’s Parade. This year, bring the music, costumes and decorations to your neighborhood! Help your kids put on their own Thanksgiving parade. Pull out their Halloween costumes and face paint. Decorate their wagons with balloons and streamers. Macy’s website has photos if you need some inspiration. Invite the neighbors to join in or enjoy the show and get ready for some really cute photo opportunities.
Nature’s Art Supplies
Another popular tradition for many families is taking a walk after the Thanksgiving meal. This year, look for art supplies on your walk! Pick up leaves, pine cones and acorns. Bring them back home to do some Thanksgiving crafts. You can find instructions for pinecone turkeys and more on enchanted learning.com. Use crayons to do leaf rubbings. Let them use their imagination to see what they create.
Most moms want to make reading fun. Include Thanksgiving-themed books in your tradition this year. Elementary school children will enjoy books they can read on their own like “The First Thanksgiving: Step into Reading” by Linda Hayward. Teens may enjoy reading about Thanksgiving from the Native Americans’ point of view in “1621: A New Look at Thanksgiving” by Catherine O’Neill Grace. If you have children of different ages, pick a story book for preschoolers such as “The Story of the Pilgrims” by Katharine Ross. Have the older children narrate and act out the story for the younger ones.
This is a guest post from Stephanie Hutchings. Steph is a warehouse manager by day who enjoys hunting and camping with her family.