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Thanksgiving Traditions You Should Start This Year

For many households, Thanksgiving is a magical day full of good seasonal food and lively conversation. While everyone has their own unique way of celebrating, establishing a Thanksgiving tradition can give the day special meaning to you and your guests. Your tradition doesn’t have to be stressful or time-consuming—something that’s easy to plan and inclusive of all is perfect.

Here are some Thanksgiving tradition ideas that are sure to make your holiday extra memorable this year and every year after.

1.    Give back.

Reflect on all the goodness in your life, express your gratitude, and pay it forward all at the same time by spending a few hours volunteering. Before the holiday approaches, contact a local soup kitchen, shelter, food bank, or non-profit of your choice and ask if they could use some help on Thanksgiving.

2.    Personalize your table.

Ahead of the big meal, gather the family for a crafting session. Creating decorative art is a great way to bond, and it'll keep the little ones busy and add a personal touch to your tablescape. Fun ideas include assembling a floral centerpiece, coloring a butcher paper "tablecloth," making napkin rings, or creating place cards.

3.    Race in a Turkey Trot.

We know Thanksgiving is a time to relax, but it’s an opportunity to refresh, too! Communities around the country often hold "turkey trot" races around Thanksgiving. These entertaining events are the perfect chance to dress up in silly costumes and enjoy some fresh air. While some events are competitive races, like 5ks or half-marathons, many are family-friendly and geared toward having fun rather than winning. Find a turkey trot near you.

4.    Say "Thank You."

On this day of thanks, take the opportunity to say "thank you" to someone who made a difference in your life. Pass out blank postcards and pens at the table, and ask everyone to handwrite a note (or, for the little ones, draw a picture) that expresses thankfulness. Then, address them. Collect the cards after dinner and send them out the next day.

5.    Have a table toast.

Instead of taking turns sharing what you’re thankful for, invite each guest to raise their glass and make a toast before diving into dinner. Toast to good health, toast to your friends, or toast to the weather. Whatever you toast to, you can take it to the next level by creating a signature cocktail for everyone to enjoy. Tap into your inner mixologist and incorporate fall flavors like pumpkin, ginger, cinnamon, apple, and nutmeg into classic cocktails, or try your hand at one of these festive drinks.

6.    Celebrate everyone’s birthday.

If Thanksgiving is the only time you’re able to get all your friends and family under one roof, this tradition is for you. Use this rare occasion as an excuse to celebrate your loved ones’ birthdays in person. Get a cake, balloons, and even sing “Happy Birthday” to commemorate everyone’s special days.