Thanksgiving! Ahhh the one holiday I’ve been looking forward to for all of 2020! Yes, of course my mom’s turkey, her stuffing, homemade casseroles, pies etc. are a huge part of my excitement. I’m pregnant and just recently have been able to enjoy food again, and boy am I planning to enjoy lots of it! But also being surrounded by family, enjoying each other’s company, and celebrating some Thanksgiving traditions is what I’m most happy about. I am just so thankful that we’re all healthy and safe despite the pandemic that still surrounds us.
Leaving home in January of this year and moving five hours away has really made me appreciate my family more than ever. Covid also played a huge part in reflecting on what’s important and what truly matters:: family. If I didn’t miss them enough already, quarantine made it a lot harder.
This year my little family of three and I are extra thankful. After suffering from secondary infertility for over 2 1/2 years, we recently announced that we’re expecting our miracle IVF baby next year and we will soon be a family of four! Being so extra grateful for our little blessing has made me think that maybe 2020 wasn’t all bad and good things still happened for which we are so very thankful for.
Reflecting on our blessings in 2020 got me thinking how we could make our Thanksgiving Day a little more meaningful for the whole family this year. Here are some simple Thanksgiving traditions you could implement on during the holiday.
Giving thanks out loud
Usually During our Thanksgiving meal, one person leads us in prayer, giving thanks to God for our meal and for our blessings. This year I’m going to ask each of my family members to share something they are specifically thankful for in their own personal lives. I’m going to make it a bit more unique and allowing the rest of the family to rejoice in their blessings. Children should also be encouraged to participate. It’s a great way to see how our kids think and what may seem so insignificant to a busy adult may actually be something our children are grateful for.
Share the love with your neighbor
During Thanksgiving we’re normally surrounded by family and our closest friends, so it’s fun and easy to start some Thanksgiving traditions. Why not thank the person sitting by your side? Everyone loves praise. Now imagine sharing a specific reason why you’re thankful for the person sitting to your right and left out loud for the rest of the table to hear. This allows us to tell our loved ones how we really feel and how we appreciate them. Our day to day may not make it easy to share our feelings, but it’ll be nice to hear how others feel about you in a family setting.
On occasion, some people have a hard time communicating how they feel; I know a few in my family who find this quite challenging. Instead, why not incorporate a thankful box where someone can write a note or a drawing sharing what or who they are thankful for. This is a great way for kids to join in on the fun and allow them to be creative by drawing something special, especially for those little ones that can’t write yet. It could be anonymous, or it could end up being sort of a guessing game to see who wrote what.
The preschool teacher in me was the inspiration for this next craft that can become one of several new Thanksgiving traditions. A thankful turkey is basically a turkey body, made either homemade on brown construction paper, printed out, or on cardboard. Blank paper feathers will be available for each guest to write what they are thankful for. It’s very similar to the thankful box, but instead the turkey will be hung on a wall or door for everyone to see. Not only will it make a cute decoration for the holiday, but it’s also nice to reflect on what our loved ones are grateful for on a cute display.
Instead of thinking on the spot and thanking someone, writing a note or card ahead of time would also be something nice and easy to do. Similar to a gift exchange, you could draw out names so everyone gets a thankful card to open before or after a Thanksgiving meal. Kids can pick out kids names and of course parents will have to help in this area to make it successful. I think this allows it to be more thoughtful, meaningful, and everyone gets to take a little something home with them.
I know the holidays may not look like we’re used to, but that doesn’t mean we can’t make the most of what we have by starting some new Thanksgiving traditions. 2020 was hard as heck, and I’d be lying if I said I was fine, but being able to spend a little time with my immediate family on this Thanksgiving and show them how thankful I am makes my heart happy and I plan to share my love and words with them all.