What could be better than a savory feast, family time, and football, all rolled into one holiday? Thanksgiving traditions offer something for everyone, and everything for some. Turkey day arrives on the heels of Halloween, just before life embraces the crazy and chaotic holiday season. Meticulous food preparation takes the spotlight, supported by camaraderie, catching up with loved ones, and banter from couch potato quarterbacks at its best. A fast-paced scramble in the kitchen gives way to a memorable mealtime boasting plenty of hearty food and ultimately, relaxation.
No matter if you celebrate your holiday in grand style with dozens of guests or quietly at home, you can make the most of it by keeping up with a few notable Thanksgiving traditions. See how many of these plans you can fit into your Thanksgiving weekend.
10 Memorable Thanksgiving Traditions
- Watch the parade.
Whether you go in person or watch on TV, few Thanksgiving memories can beat watching the Thanksgiving Day Parade with your parents, children, or sweetheart. If you live close enough, consider going just once to create incredible memories with your family. You can also look for other Thanksgiving Day parades taking place in your region.
- Cook together.
In the lineup of Thanksgiving traditions, few shine brighter than cooking together. Mom surely appreciates the help, let alone the simple prospect of company. Offer to make the stuffing, the mashed potatoes, or something else that takes a little bit of effort. Pulling together a huge feast on time is a major feat and every little bit of help goes a long way to making it happen.
- Be active and earn that feast.
Just think about how great you’ll feel all day knowing you got in a little workout before the big meal. Sign up for a turkey trot and hit your step goal for the day before laziness ensues or spend a few minutes lifting weights. Another fun family tradition can include a game of backyard football, modified appropriately to include the whole family.
- Make Thanksgiving crafts with your kids.
Thanksgiving for kids can be boring if they are left too far out of the planning. Now is the time to inspire your little ones and finally make those treasured crafts! Get out the paint and make that handprint turkey. Craft pilgrim hats and feathered headdresses for a bit of fun. You can also make a pine cone turkey craft, a leaf-adorned votive holder, and countless other beautiful works of art.
- Set a beautiful table together.
The Thanksgiving table holds more than just a feast. This symbolic setting brings us together with loved ones where we can converse, give thanks, and create lasting memories. Set a beautiful table with festive linens, candles, and china. Serve food from pretty platters, bowls, and casserole dishes that carry the flavors of the season. Finally, put your Thanksgiving centerpiece on display in the center of the table. If you aren’t the host or hostess yourself, score bonus points by bringing along some flowers as a token of thanks. (And when it’s all over, you can keep your home clutter-free as you easily store your fall decorations and Thanksgiving Day tableware in storage bins in your personal storage unit.)
- Share why you’re thankful.
Many families share in the Thanksgiving tradition of going around the table to say why they are thankful. Take part in this even with the youngest members of the family. You may get some amusing answers along the way, keeping a fun and lighthearted vibe at the table. Above all, the heartfelt thanks will surround your group with warmth and love.
- Watch a little football.
Welcome the turkey coma as you kick back in a comfy chair surrounded by your loved ones. No matter if you scream at the players or sneakily snooze on your grandmother’s shoulder, you’ve earned this right as a special guest at Thanksgiving. Enjoy it!
- Indulge in a second feast—dessert!
Once your food has a chance to settle, bring on the dessert! Your family can even kick things up a notch by inviting each member to bring a favorite sweet treat. After all that turkey and all those mashed potatoes, there’s nothing like a mile-long spread of pies, cakes, and cookies! You might just need to undo your top button to fit it all in. Shh, we won’t tell…
- Get into the game.
After dessert, if you still have energy, you win some bonus points. Now is often a good time to clear the table and huddle over some board games or a jigsaw puzzle. You can even play Thanksgiving games for a festive theme. Enjoy this special time with family—you will look back on it fondly more than you know.
- Take a family photo.
Before everyone scatters to their respective homes, take a photo to document the occasion. You can snap a selfie or set up the tripod—whatever your family’s style. Be sure to share it with everyone in attendance so they can all remember this happy occasion.
We hope this list of Thanksgiving tradition ideas makes this year’s Turkey Day even more enjoyable for your family. Tryptophan coma, engage.