Every November, some elite Indianapolis athletes compete in the flaming turkey toss. Each contestant takes a turkey, dresses it up in a onesie and lights it on fire. The goal is to toss their flaming turkey as far as possible.
While we certainly aren't suggesting you set anything on fire this Thanksgiving, we do have some ideas for heating up your family celebration. If you're looking to change up your family Thanksgiving traditions, try one of these unique and creative ideas out this year. You never know, you may find one that becomes a much-loved part of your holiday.
The Misfits Thanksgiving
Embrace the spirit of the season and open your home to those who don't have anywhere to go. This could be a friend or coworker you know doesn't have any local family. Let them know that you will provide the turkey and dessert. All they need to do is bring a dish that means Thanksgiving to them.
Incorporating this tradition in your family celebration teaches your children about generosity and caring for others. And as an added bonus, your family also gets the chance to learn about other people's traditions and cultures.
Maybe you have a family heirloom tablecloth that you use, or perhaps you just risk the table getting messy with all of those dishes spread out. Instead, we have a couple of ideas to try this Thanksgiving that will both protect your table and celebrate the season!
Butcher Paper. Butcher paper is cheap and easy to find. Buy enough to cover your table. Spread out some markers, pens, crayons, and other decorating supplies of your choice. Throughout the meal have family members write down what they are thankful for. Encourage your loved ones to get creative with quotes, doodles, or even a haiku poem. Once dinner is over, spend a few minutes walking around the table to read what everyone wrote. You can also take a picture of the paper so you can look back through the years.
Hand Turkey Cloth. If you have little ones, buy a large white tablecloth. Each year, have them make a hand turkey on it. Sign and date each hand. As the years go by your tablecloth with slowly fill with hand turkeys. You'll have a beautiful keepsake to pass down to your children when they have families of their own.
Step Through Time
After dinner when everyone is feeling stuffed and lazy, break out the old family videos. There are sure to be some cringe-worthy moments worth reliving and laughing over!
This is a great opportunity to show your kids you weren't always "mom and dad." They will get a kick out of seeing that "just had to have" outfit from when you were their age.
Everything is more meaningful to kids when they are involved in the process and made to feel important. Start a family tradition when your kids are little of having them make Thanksgiving menus or dish labels.
Kids can decorate menus that get placed at each person's table setting or little signs or labels that get placed by each dish. Embrace the season and use leaves, mini pine cones, or acorns, or get fancy with ribbons and glitter - whatever makes the kiddos happy.
Once they get older, they can graduate to helping plan the menu and prepare the meal.
This is a fun one! Have your little ones help you write inspirational, thankful, or just funny messages on slips of paper and bake them into your Thanksgiving dinner or crescent rolls.
Your guests and family will get a kick out of finding the surprise messages and reading them aloud. Just be sure to warn them so that no one accidentally eats them! It's the Thanksgiving equivalent of a fortune cookie!
Get Tech Savvy
In today's world of technology, why not use it to connect with distant family?
Arrange a time when everyone hops on Facetime, Google Hangouts, or Facebook messenger and take a few minutes to say grace or exchange messages of thankfulness.
The great thing about this is you get to connect with loved ones you may not see very often. They can also catch up with you and see how big the little ones have grown over the last year.
Be sure to reach out early so that everyone can coordinate and connect. You'll also need to reach out to those family members who may not be too tech savvy. It can help to write up a "how to" and do a test run with them beforehand.
Instead of slaving away making many different dishes, why not make everything into a pie?! Instead of roasting a turkey, make turkey pot pie. Turn all of your traditional favorites into their pie counterparts! How fun, right? Think quiche, fish pie, artichoke pie, pork pie - you get the idea.
Come Thanksgiving Day, all you need to do is heat up your pies. This leaves you more time for celebrating the day with your family.
Eat What You Want
If you are having a quiet Thanksgiving with just the kids, why go through the hassle of cooking a huge meal, especially if you have picky eaters and you know much will go to waste? Instead, celebrate by letting each member of the family pick one thing they want for dinner. For instance, maybe mom picks crab legs, dad wants steak, one child wants mac n cheese, and another wants pancakes.
You can either each enjoy your one dish or put them all out to share. Then, sit down together and be thankful for enjoying a meal of everyone's favorite foods. This takes the pressure off of having to cook a big meal and puts the focus back on spending quality time as a family.
Whatever tradition you decide to try this year, remember that the goal is to enjoy time as a family. It isn't so much about the activity as it is about having fun and making memories together. Hopefully, these Thanksgiving traditions help you enrich your holiday season.
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