The start of fall brilliantly displays itself with red, orange and yellow leaves. Kitchens are filled with cinnamon and spice, and a chill is in the air that reminds us the holiday season is just around the corner.

And the question always comes up …”How will you be celebrating Thanksgiving this year?” Whether you have annual traditions or are looking to start new ones, here are some fantastic ideas to help create a memorable holiday with your family.  

Watch the Macy’s Day Parade

What better way to start Thanksgiving morning than by watching the annual Macy’s Day Parade?

Since 1924, millions of families enjoy this festive event both in person and on television. The parade route ends in front of the Macy’s Department Store in Manhattan, and features plenty of singing, dancing and giant balloons depicting your children’s favorite characters. Kids love watching Garfield, Spiderman and Snoopy soar through the air, high above the crowds. The finale includes the arrival of Santa Claus and marks the beginning of the holidays.

Toss around the Pigskin (or Watch the Pros Do It)

Yet another annual sports fan tradition is watching the NFL Thanksgiving Classic. It is a series of three football games that began in 1920 and occurs every Thanksgiving Day. The Dallas Cowboys and the Detroit Lions are staples in two of these events, and in the third game, the teams change each year. You can get everyone involved by taking guesses on end of the quarter points or final game scores. Maybe as a reward, the winner can be relieved from doing any of the clean-up dishes.

And if you not only like watching football, but also playing it, work off some of that pumpkin pie by getting the family together in the yard for a friendly game of touch football, or toss the pigskin back and forth for a while. You can play a game of catch in which whoever has the ball can say something they’re thankful for this year.

Get Outside

Thanksgiving Day would not be complete without some good old-fashioned outdoor fun. Enjoy doing a walk or run, known by many as a turkey trot. If you have young children, you can have a harvest pumpkin hunt by hiding mini pumpkins around the yard. Or you can head outside before dinner to have the little ones run around finding leaves, pine cones and acorns and then have them head inside to help you create and decorate the dinner table’s centerpiece. 

Get Cookin’

While the menu may differ from home to home, preparing and sharing a special meal is a wonderful way to bring the whole family together. Have each person responsible for making and bringing a dish. Once all together, there is something extra special about the entire family working together, side by side, with final meal preparations. In addition to the food, there is plenty of dishes and clean-up that takes place. When everyone pitches in, it allows more fun time for everyone.

Make Memories

Setting the décor can be a great addition to preparing the meal. If there are children, you can assign the task of making place cards and having them decorate each card with age appropriate art supplies. Another idea is to take an annual Thanksgiving Day photo and place it in a photo album. Each year take a new photo and add it to the album. Before you know it, you’ve created an easy and lovely way to preserve fond memories.

Give Thanks

One of the most important things a family can do together is to give thanks. In addition to a pre-meal prayer, you can share what each person is thankful for either in writing or verbally. Try having each person write what they are thankful for on a piece of paper and put it in a bowl. Next each person selects a paper and reads it aloud. Or, you can go around the table and have each person share their thoughts and what they appreciate most.

In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus toward you. —1 Thessalonians 5:18

Reflect on the Meaning of Thanksgiving

Do you recall the details of how Thanksgiving came to be? The history of this holiday is well worth reminiscing about, but let’s also consider the true meaning of the day. What does it mean to each person individually, as a community and as a country?

Play Board Games

The dinner is done, the dishes are all cleaned up and you are too full to do anything else other than relax. This is the perfect time to break out the board games and have a game night. It gets everyone involved and having fun.


What better way to share the Thanksgiving Day spirit than to volunteer together at a food bank or soup kitchen? There are millions of individuals who don’t have family or a home to go to this holiday. Teaming up together to make a difference and help someone who is less fortunate is a wonderful way to share kindness and love with others. It is also a strong reminder that we should always be thankful for the simple things that some of us take for granted.

Take time to plan something special and from the heart for this Thanksgiving holiday. For many of us, it is in simplicity that we remember what is truly important. In the words of poet Ralph Waldo Emerson, “The only gift is a portion of thyself.”

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