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Thanksgiving Family Traditions: Family, Friends, Food, and Fun

Holiday traditions are unique to families.  Do you have any of your own Thanksgiving family traditions?  Thanksgiving traditions can involve family, friends, food, and fun, and more.  Make it another great holiday enjoying your people and your traditions.

Updated 7/20/20

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The Making of Family Thanksgiving Traditions

I started to write this post about Thanksgiving and realized there were so many things to talk about that I wasn’t sure where to start! 

Thanksgiving Traditions are alive and well in my family, for sure! 

We have always celebrated with family and/or friends who feel like family. 

(You know who you are…) 

So here is a synopsis of Thanksgiving from my point of view.

Pilgrims & Indians

Remember the reason we celebrate.

We begin in the beginning, of course. 

Remember dressing up as your favorite Pilgrim or Indian in grade school? 

Well, as you may recall, that was because they had a little something to do with starting the whole thing.

It’s important to know why we celebrate Thanksgiving and to share that information with the kids in your life. 

So I went looking for information (so as not to spread rumors) about the first Thanksgiving.

In case you’d like to review, here is Kid’s National Geographic’s link to Thanksgiving information for kids. 

Review, then take their Quiz at Kids National Geographic.

Taking the quiz verified that there are still some facts you may not remember. 

Ok, facts that I, myself, did not remember.

(Hint:  reading the information before taking the quiz is advised.)

Looking back and remembering the reason we celebrate is a valuable Thanksgiving tradition.


Pardoning the Turkey

Open your heart and forgive others.

Each year, the President of the United States pardons a turkey. 

Giving the gobbler a free pass, he is saved from being served for dinner. 

Evidently, this tradition had a bumpy start but has now become the norm. 

Here is a video highlight reel if you’re interested in knowing more…


If you’d prefer to just read about it, here is a link to the White House Historical Association’s article.

Start your day of gratitude with this Thanksgiving tradition – opening your heart.

Family and/or Friends

Renew connections with family and friends and welcome newcomers.

Looking back on Thanksgivings past, the best times were those spent with family and friends. 

Sharing your table, your gratitude, and your love with those cherished people in your life is something to be treasured. 

However, not everyone is able to make it happen every year.

If you know one of those people, it might be a kind gesture to invite them to spend the holiday with you and your family. 

Make an effort to include those friends and acquaintances – even someone you just met – in your celebration. 

There is enough love and enough turkey to go around, I think!

If you, yourself, have no family or friends close enough to share the holiday, find a community or church that sponsors Thanksgiving dinner for others like you.

Or consider giving back to your community by volunteering to serve dinner to others. 

There are many agencies that would appreciate your help. 

Check websites like this for more information about a cause near you.

Make this a Thanksgiving family tradition – Welcoming new friendships and touching base with those you already know and love.

Download our Free Printable Thanksgiving Image

Food

Serve your family’s traditional dish or create a new one of your own.

Ok, so we have to talk about food. 

And it starts with breakfast. 

Check out these great breakfast casseroles for your busy Thanksgiving morning. 

These would also work for the morning after if your company is still around — or even if they’ve already gone home.

Thanksgiving is also the time for sharing your family’s traditional recipes. 

What holiday would be complete without Grandma’s Pumpkin Pie or Mom’s Dressing (it’s not stuffing at our house, it’s dressing)?


You know, I came across this interesting cookbook. 

Well, it’s not just a cookbook, but a story about a family, their history, food, recipes, and survival. 

Fanni’s Viennese Kitchen takes place during the Great Depression. 

It’s a story of inspiration that emphasized the role food plays in our family history and memories.

If you’ve been a reader of Passing Down the Love for any length of time, you’ve heard me talk about “That Salad“. 

This is a family recipe that I’ve known and loved since I was a little one. 

I’m not sure how long our family has been enjoying it, but at least as long as I’ve been around. 

Here are the post and the recipe, just in case you missed it.

Whipped cream salad recipe

I can’t leave out the Cornucopia. 

The Horn of Plenty. 

The representation of the bounty of blessings in our lives. 

Did you know you can make one? 

From bread.  And fill it with goodies. 

I actually did this one year. 

A picture exists someplace, but it wasn’t located readily, so not included in this post.   

But here are “Making a Bread Cornucopia for Thanksgiving” instructions from Chica & Jo.

Continue your family’s Thanksgiving food traditions, or create new ones for the future.

Fun Times

Celebrate with fun.

Fun times on Thanksgiving can vary by group. 

Some families love a parade, like the one Macy’s New York has every year.

Some families like games.   

Corn hole, Washers, Football, Basketball, puzzles, or Apples to Apples are fun ways to spend an afternoon.

Kids enjoy making things, drawing, gluing, painting.   

Here are some fun Thanksgiving activities to keep the kids entertained.

And are you up for Black Friday Shopping?? 

I know Target has some great deals

Even if you don’t want to go out and fight the crowds, there are some great finds online! 

Personally, I’d rather stay at home and enjoy my holiday. 

It makes me sad that stores are open and others have to work on Thanksgiving. 

But that’s just my take on it.

Having fun with those sharing your celebration is a happy Thanksgiving tradition.

Always Be Thankful

Express your gratitude.

And it’s Thanksgiving. 

Take time to be thankful. 

Here it is, wrapped up in a video.

 

Being thankful is the ultimate Thanksgiving tradition. 

After all, that’s really what it’s all about.

Have a wonderful, happy, grateful Thanksgiving!

Keep Passing Down the Love,

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