Establishing Thanksgiving Traditions
I didn’t feel this desire to set up many Thanksgiving traditions before having kids. And I’ve been so busy ever since having them that it’s been a race just to get through life let alone doing it thrivingly. But now Jasper is almost 5 and Felix is almost 2 and while we continue to renovate our home and make it more meaningful to us (stay tuned for the reveal!) I feel this need to latch onto the natural ebbs and flows of the seasons.
I love the idea of life feeling super Stars Hollow this time of year and so I’m constantly thinking how I can slooooooow things down, appreciate the moment, and celebrate the things that are worth noting. I’ll start by sharing some of the ideas that we’ve shared and move onto the ideas that our community shared on Instagram.
Thanksgiving tradition ideas
One of my favorite ideas for the season of gratitude that’s fairly simple is our gratitude tree that we first shared a few years ago. Jasper hasn’t reached an age where we can have that beautiful moment I’ve always pictured of us sitting down and sharing things we’re grateful for while writing them down on a beautiful leaf (ha!), but I’m thinking this is the year.
I love the idea that the tree becomes decoration and an activity. You can even take the kids to go find the branches for it.
One reader commented on Instagram @joycostin that they “love the gratitude tree! We’ve done it in the past, this year, I’m doing a gratitude garland.” This sounds like a GREAT idea! Love it! I might need to try one too!
Another reader said ”
A beautiful Thanksgiving Tablescape
As you know by now, I’m not one to make food, BUT I am all about a beautiful tablescape. I love the idea of either collecting beautiful heirloom Thanksgiving tableware that is used only for the occasion because it keeps the holiday special. I haven’t done that yet so I’m on the hunt.
Here are some of my favorite tablescapes that we’ve done in the past:
I LOVED this place setting especially with that great turkey dinnerware. We had florals that captured the spirit of the season too.
Below, we tried out two different table settings, both featuring a vegetable and fruit harvest. I still love the idea of just having vegetables on their own.
Thanksgiving napkin folding
Here’s an idea for adding some pizzazz to your table: a special Thanksgiving napkin folds. We have a whole post on it!
I do love to try out something different each year, so I spend some time in the weeks prior to think what I can do differently. This year…I don’t know yet! Any ideas?
I know most people have great Thanksgiving meal traditions, but I love the accessories that go with it. Leftover box anyone? We have these cute pie boxes for guests to take home.
Or cute Thanksgiving leftover tags to attach to a doggy bag.
I’m of the opinion that every holiday deserves a garland so we made these Thanksgiving inspired garlands that you can keep and re-use every year. It makes such an impactful moment! You can see the whole table setting here.
Thanksgiving hat tradition
One of my favorite ideas comes from two former interns who were sisters. They would spend Thanksgiving with their family each concocting a silly hat inspired by Thanksgiving to wear for the meal. Adds some levity to the table for sure!
I haven’t put on a Friendsgiving myself, but I have high ambitions to especially with our cute invitation suite. It has printable placemats, name tags, labels, invitations…It’s so cute! Have you ever put on a Friendsgiving? I’d love your ideas!
We also have this Friendsgiving suite, which I think is the sweetest.
An epic kid’s table for Thanksgiving
Focusing on making a festive kid’s table is a great way to add in a memorable experience. Our Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade table is one for the books! I mean, what kid wouldn’t want balloons at the table?! We even have printable taxi name cards and printable NYC city skyline.
Thanksgiving table activities for the kids
While we’re at it, every kid’s table also needs some activities like coloring pages, Bingo, mad libs, and would you rather.
Thanksgiving traditions from our readers
Ok! Now, it’s time to share what some of our readers shared with us over on Instagram.
- @LaurenONeill says: “One of my favorite Thanksgiving traditions is watching The Fantastic Mr. Fox film by Wes Anderson—settle in with a full belly and an extra helping of pie (or stuffing or stuffing chips, if you are me) for the autumnal vibes, the feasts, the cider, the funky dance moves, the wacky family members, even George Clooney! A cussing cornucopia of crowd pleasers for even the littlest on Thanksgiving.”
- “We sit outside around the fire pit and drink whiskey and chat into the evening with everyone!”
- “Making extra pies and then eating them the day after for “pie night”
- “Planes, Trains, and Automobiles while we prep the night before”
More reader ideas:
- “Setting the table with very loud singing, dancing while cooking. Charades, always charades.”
- “Twice baked potatoes that I make. I don’t like this tradition. Too much work. Must change it.”
- “We have always loved a roasted chicken. So a few years ago we let the turkey go.”
- “Bingo after pie”
- “I have T.Hanks-giving. I watch Tom Hanks movies all day.”
- “Find 5 Native American organizations to donate to and uplift them in my SM.
- My sister @caitlinwatsonboyes said: “We are going foraging on our walks around the neighborhood. We have found pecan, acorns, walnuts, chestnuts and so many other pretty little pods and berries and leaves. We bring a basket and collect some and then later we make a craft with them, whether it be making a garland of nuts, little critters with acorns hats or leaves with faces on them. We make them all month long and can decorate for thanksgiving. Showing my kids the little beauties that nature creates. Giving thanks to Mother Nature.”
More Thanksgiving tradition ideas from our readers
- @TableTakes said: “A tradition that just needed to take time once, and can be reused: last year I made tiny books as table place cards, then the kid drew ‘biographies’ of each person – and the books had a string at the spine, so they could double as tree ornament.”
- @SaraElliottMakes: “We put 5 popcorn kernels by each table setting and say our 5 gratitudes – a tradition that my grandmother instilled in me.”
- @AmyAzzarito, author of said this: “We get Christmas rolling. All the kids get advent calendars and Christmas pjs (with an obligatory photo of all the cousins in their pjs before the drive home and everyone (even the adults) get Christmas socks!”
- @crazygrandma11: We have white tablecloths on the table with sharpies and have everyone write what they a thankful for and put the year. We have been doing this for 30+ years. 3 kids with spouses, now 11 grands with 2 great grands. They love to read past notes.
Would love to hear some of yours!
I love these traditions. We always have a tradition of gathering in my kitchen for the holidays. My new cabinet painting will enhance the tradition even more. Thanks for the ideas!