What makes the holiday season so special? Why do we look forward to the end of each year with such anticipation? Some would say that it is the nauseatingly delicious food. Some may say it is because of the truckload of presents under the tree. While those are certainly something to get excited about, I think that it is family traditions that make the holidays the most wonderful time of the year. They make family bonds stronger and memories richer. But there are traditions that are done out of obligation, like say spending hours making Grandma’s inedible fruitcake. And there are traditions that you do simply because they bring so much joy. Here are a few that I really like.
- Get Crafty. Their is no straighter path to a mother’s heart than keepsake crafts. I like to make with my kids. Each year I trace my their hands on construction paper and cut them out. They decorate them and I write their names and the year on the back. Then we glue them to our Thanksgiving Paper Turkey ”Tim”. I look forward to pulling him out each year and watching his feather fan grow; along with their hands and artistic skills.
- Give. Whether it is your time, money or food; donating is a great way to show kids and adults alike how much they have to be thankful for. If your Thanksgiving Day is packed with cooking and guests, head down to your local food bank, shelter or church a few days early. This is great activity to do as a family to start the holidays with a thankful heart.
- Get Moving. When you are consuming a week’s worth of food in one day it is never a bad idea to squeeze in a little exercise. Our family favorite is football. We head out to the front yard after the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and help the kids burn off some of their excited energy. We also like to rake leaves and jump in them. Feel free to substitute with your favorite sport. One family we know heads down to the park for a game of tennis. While our neighbors take an annual family walk.
- Say Thanks. This may seem like a given, but there are a lot of families that don’t actually take time out to say thanks. A fun way to incorporate this into your family dinner is to have each person write down what they are thankful for and put it in a designated bowl or bag. Have the head of the table read them out loud and everyone gets to guess who wrote it.
- Get in the holiday spirit. I love how Thanksgiving leads right into Christmas time. So it should come as no surprise that I like to mix a little Christmas into our Thanksgiving evening. After dinner I tune the TV to the ABC Family station. They always play corny holiday movies on Thanksgiving and we love to gather on the couch and giggle after a long day of food and fun. Some families we know put up and decorate their Christmas tree together after dinner.
Please share your traditions with us in the comment section!