Gloria T. of LA
On Thanksgiving Day we give a basket of food to a needy family, then we go to a dinner and serve food to the homeless. We celebrate our Thanksgiving dinner at night.
Barbara M. of MI
We are a family that have never lived by any family members. So, for Thanksgiving, we invite other individuals and families that have no close-by relatives over to celebrate with us. This teaches our children kindness and caring for others while still enjoying the holidays.
Danille G. of NY
The kids like to cut out leaf shapes in a variety of colors before Thanksgiving dinner. As the family arrives, each person writes on one leaf what they are thankful for. The leaf is then stuck onto a cut out tree shape on the wall. It is a visual reminder of all the blessings in our lives.
Ellen O. NY
Autumn is one of the most beautiful times of the year. The leaves are turning vivid fall colors upstate. We then come home on the weekend and we make applesauce, apple pies. Young children make apple fresheners with cloves. Some even get decorative and make apple people. We hang them and dry them for winter gift giving.
For Thanksgiving, my family "adopts" a family. We put together a gift basket for the local church Outreach. It includes a gift certificate to a local grocery for the turkey and perishables, the fixings for a pumpkin or apple pie, stuffing mix, canned vegetables, corn bread mix, canned and jarred olives. This has taught my boys to think of others. Both of them have contributed to food drives and have initiated food drives at their Boy Scout troop. This helps teach that they are fortunate and should be thankful.
Kelly T. of MO
We make wreaths from the things we find on our nature walk. We take leaves and dip them in melted paraffin wax to help them retain their color. We use a straw wreath and add leaves, raffia bow or bows, acorns and other items we find on our walk. These turn out so cute.
Elaine M. of CO
My five children started getting their own pie when they were teens fighting over a slice of pie at Thanksgiving. Now in early November my adult children will call me to let me know what kind of pie they would like for Thanksgiving. Also, when they can pick it up. If they live out of town they still let me know when they can pick up their pie. I am guaranteed to see my children at a certain time in November or a set date for later, even if I don't see them for Thanksgiving. I have now extended this to the son and daughter-in laws.
Angela C. of PA
One of our Thanksgiving traditions is after we all gather as a family to enjoy a Thanksgiving feast, we bring board games to play. One of our favorite games is Scattagories and another is Throw and Go Jenga. We spend the evening enjoying the games, dessert, fellowship, and laughter. The kids also get involved so everyone is playing and having fun together.
Mary C. of NY
When my kids were little we'd go out for a fall walk [sometimes a couple of walks] just to collect leaves we thought were pretty. Then we'd arrange them on the sticky side of clear contact paper and add a piece of oak tag (or heavy posterboard) the size of a placemat. On Thanksgiving they would be on our table for everyone to admire.
Susan R. of VA
My children and I have made it a tradition to go see the holiday movie that is released the week of Thanksgiving. We go the day before, and we enjoy popcorn and a great movie. Then we go home and begin our preparations for our Thanksgiving dinner. My daughter makes the pumpkin pies, and my son loves to prepare homemade stuffing. We do as much prep work as we can and stay up late at night, enjoying our family time. They know not to accept any invitations from friends on this day, as it has been our tradition for over 15 years! I have a grand daughter now, and next year she will begin joining us on movie day!
Cindy M. of KY
Our Grandchildren are on their best behavior when they visit during the holidays. Why? Because we allow them to have a molasses taffy pull! This keeps them laughing and chatting, having fun, and its economical too!
Craig D. of SC
(In the fall) We go camping, even though it is colder, it just makes the campfires better.
Carol Y. of PA
Since Thanksgiving is the start of the Christmas shopping season and the entire family is present for Thanksgiving dinner, we always put our names in a hat and draw for a Secret Santa gift. The rules are that your recipient must be kept secret, the gift must come from the local stores where nothing costs more than a dollar, and it should be humorous. For example, if someone in your family is a chef by profession, a child's kitchen toy would be appropriate!
*Linette E. of MA
Each Thanksgiving/Christmas my Mom would always buy me a new tablecloth to cover our table for dinner. Everyone who ate dinner at my home would autograph the table where they sat and leave a little note, poem, or just a “hello, thank you for the meal” but everyone had to sign it. We did it for years and each year before we set the table for the holidays, my girls and I will read the old tablecloths I have tucked away in the side board. I now cherish these tablecloths now that I have lost my Mom, Dad and Grandparents. I will pass them on to my kids and I know they will cherish them as well.
Esperanza D. of NM
Here in New Mexico nearly every Hispanic, and sometimes Native American family will have red chile as a side dish to the Thanksgiving meal. It's not uncommon to see red chile poured over turkey instead of gravy or to dip your bun in. It's a yummy, spicy, New Mexican tradition that will never go away!
Robyn C. of NC
My kids and I always make a mixture of "Christmas scent" for our home to help get us in the spirit. Here is the recipe....
When you eat an apple or orange, or when you squeeze a lemon, put the various peelings in a pan, alone or mixed together, cover with water, add a cinnamon stick, and one or two cloves, and bring it to a boil. Then heat & simmer. You can also add a piece of ginger and some cardamom seeds for extra tones.
Dawn G. of IL
Every year during Thanksgiving week, each night at super we take turns telling about a person in our lives we are thankful for, this person must be less fortunate then us and have somehow shown us how life is precious. Then at the end of the week we take all the names everyone has given and fix a basket full of things we think that person would enjoy and a note telling them why and how we are thankful for them being in our lives, and thanking them for taking the time to be in our life.
Norma J. of MI
For Thanksgiving, while we are seated at the table, we pass a bowl of corn kernels. Each person takes one or more kernels as the bowl is passed around the table. Each person then prays something for each kernel that they took. We also provide a complete Thanksgiving meal for a family in our community and we invite someone who would ordinarily be alone to join us for the day and have dinner with us.
Lisa R. of FL
Beginning Sept. 15, I pull out the Christmas list and the gifts I have accumulated through the year. Then my 13 year old niece and I check the list for things that we can create at home. Through October we collect all of the materials and then we begin making them on Nov. 1. By Thanksgiving we are done. The day after Thanksgiving we decorate for Christmas and then we finish up any last minute details. We like to relax and enjoy the season.
Anna J. of IN
The family tradition at Thanksgiving that we have found to be the best tradition is to bring Thanksgiving pictures that we all have taken throughout the years on Turkey Day. It is so fun to pass around the photos and each person tells what they think the person was thinking about when their picture was taken. We laugh at some of the answers of course, and it is a fun way to have fun after we have stuffed ourselves. The kids enjoy playing this game too. Some of their answers are so funny. We call it the "What will kids think up next" game.