Tuesday, November 3, 2009

A Custom-Made Celebration

This Thanksgiving, why not start some new family traditions? Thanksgiving is one of the few days of the year when extended families are typically gathered together. What better time to start some new holiday customs?

How about a long walk together after dinner? I'm sure everyone would welcome the chance to walk off that turkey and the extra helping of mashed potatoes! If there's nowhere to walk in your neighborhood, you could always drive to a nearby park or trail.

One idea I'm sure the hostess would appreciate is drawing names for chores. Since the person hosting has gone through all the work of preparing the meal, it's only fair that everyone else should pitch in with setting the table, clearing the table, loading and unloading the dishwasher, etc.

A particularly nice tradition, in my opinion, is to invite friends or acquaintances who are not having their own family get-together to celebrate with your family. If your guests are from another country, have them bring a traditional dish from their homeland to share. This should bring some new and interesting foods into the mix!

Some families pose with the entire clan for a picture on Thanksgiving Day. This photo is then used to create their annual Christmas cards. In larger families, sometimes names are drawn on Thanksgiving for the Christmas gift exchange as well.

Another nice idea is a toast at the dinner table in honor of family members who have achieved something during the year. It could be a promotion, high school graduation, a marriage, the birth of a new child, beating cancer, etc. For non-drinkers, make sure to have some sparkling cider on hand so they can participate.

After the table is cleared and everyone is in a turkey torpor, why not pull out those traditional holiday films and get into the holiday spirit? It's a Wonderful Life and Miracle on 34th Street are two of my favorites.

If the women in your family usually go shopping on Black Friday, what about having the women in the family sleep over so they can get an early start in the morning? While they are pounding the pavement for deals, the men can be pulling out the Christmas decorations and getting a jump on decking the halls!

I hope this post gives you a few new ideas for ways to celebrate Thanksgiving with your family. I would love to hear what some of your traditions are, too!


Zengirl said...


Very good and timely suggestions. When we meet friends/family for potluck dinner and share vegan/vegetarian thanksgiving.

I have started a small new tradition of writing down things we are thankful of, in paper garland and show it off during thanksgiving and xmas season.

Betsy Bargain said...


My sister is also a vegetarian. Do you have any good recipes you'd like to share? I love the paper garland idea. Thanks for sharing it!

Anonymous said...

I love those ideas! We have a thankful book, just a hardcover notebook really, that we write what we were thankful for that year. It's really fun reading back through it each year.

Betsy Bargain said...

That's a good idea, Anon. My family has their own version of this. We write on a tablecloth!

Anonymous said...

another idea we have done is to make a christmas ornament together on Thanksgiving. It gets everyone interested in the same thing.

Betsy Bargain said...

That's a nice idea, anon. You can find lots of ideas for handmade ornaments online if you're stumped.

Anonymous said...

Really enjoyed the post and loved the comments...really great ideas..with one exception...Men pulling out the Christmas decorations....you know that's probably not going to happen...they'll all be watching some sports thing!!!!!

Betsy Bargain said...

Oh, that's right, Anon. Maybe they could pull the decorations out during the commercials ;)!

Zengirl said...


Here are some great recipe links for vegetarian holidays; hope it helps your sister and others.



Betsy Bargain said...

Thanks, Zengirl! Looks like some great recipes there. My sister will love them, and I'm sure other readers will too. I like the way they have recipes for all parts of the holiday meal - appetizers, entrees, etc.