My family has always celebrated Thanksgiving as a time to come together and enjoy a meal — to be thankful for our time together and all that we have to eat (despite the holiday’s painful past). Though it’s also a family tradition for my mom, sister and I to go shopping the day after Thanksgiving that was never the focus of the holiday, but many stores seem to have shifted that direction. This shift has taken all the focus of the holiday from caring for others to buying things for Christmas. So in the spirit of actually celebrating Thanksgiving as a day of togetherness this year, here are some fun things you can do together as a family for Thanksgiving.
Start a Friendsgiving Tradition
Sometimes close friends are the best family you have, and holiday dinners don’t feel quite right with just 2 or 3 people, so it’s fun to get a group of friends who are like family together to enjoy the day. It doesn’t hurt that each person brings a dish, either — It makes the event way less stressful. I went to my first ever Friendsgiving a few years ago and it was amazing. I didn’t know anyone there except the hosts and everyone else had known one another for years, but no one made me feel like an outsider — it was just welcoming and super fun for me and the kiddo to attend (my husband works holidays). I highly recommend creating a Friendsgiving if your extended family is far away or busy and your own little family would like to share the day with others — Especially other friends who don’t have Thanksgiving plans.
Donate Your Time and Dinner
Some families are reminded of all that they have on Thanksgiving and dedicate the day to giving to those without food, home or loved ones — An extremely powerful way to spend the day. Make this a family activity by signing everyone one up to help at a local shelter ahead of time, or enjoy a family cooked meal at home where you make double batches, create dinner bags and deliver them with a warm blanket to homeless throughout the city on Thanksgiving night.
Have a Simple Family Meal Together
Take time to just sit and eat with your family. You don’t need to cook up an extravagant menu to spend time with those you love. Turn off the TV and all phones to just connect. In my family, we continue to gather for a visit and to share with one another something we’re thankful for — to simply stop and be thankful in this negative society and remember how blessed we are to have one another. It’s easy to get wrapped up in the mundane day-to-day frustrations, so if it takes slicing a turkey and heating up some fresh apple pie so be it!
Make New Traditions
Don’t let Thanksgiving be just about a dinner or shopping — Make a family tradition to see a morning parade, play a game of football, make sandwiches for the homeless, or play board games all day. Be sure there’s at least one activity everyone can agree on and add some more every year. If your family really enjoys Christmas, then pick out a real tree or put up the fake one and make some homemade decorations during the day while the turkey cooks so that there will be some added decor at dinnertime!
Get Everyone in the Kitchen
Cooking for holidays is stressful! Make it a family affair so that everyone is excited about and appreciates dinner once it’s ready. Giving each member of the family either their own dish to make or a specific kitchen helper task not only keeps your family together all day but makes whipping up a huge meal a lot easier. I usually make apple pie and loaded sweet potatoes with Savannah for my dishes (she loves this!), and my mom makes the green bean casserole and turkey when she hosts.
Photos by Sincerely Me Photography
How do you spend time as a family on Thanksgiving?