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Thanksgiving is a time for reflecting on all your blessings from the past year, getting together with your family (even if they are crazy), and of course, eating a big 'ole turkey until you feel stuffed yourself. Speaking of turkeys - according to the National Turkey Federation, over 90% of Americans eat turkey on Thanksgiving Day. Many of us have Thanksgiving traditions that revolve around food. Whether your tradition is deep frying a turkey, making green bean casserole with those crunchy fried onions, or rolling out the best sweet potato pie, there is often more to Thanksgiving than a good looking bird with all the fixings.
Many families have adopted other traditions that are passed from one generation to the next. Here are the top 10 Thanksgiving traditions along with some recommended movies, books and games that will surely have your family smiling. If you don't have any Thanksgiving traditions in your family, this is the year to start one!
Top 10 Family Thanksgiving Traditions
Write Thankful Lists - When guests arrive for Thanksgiving, hand them a piece of Thanksgiving themed paper and have them generate a "What I'm Thankful For This Year List." It might be one thing or it might be a long list depending on the person. Then, before serving the big meal, you go around the table having each person say aloud what he/she is thankful for. You can turn this tradition into a family memory book by hole-punching the paper or placing the paper in sheet protectors along with photos of the family during the Thanksgiving festivities.
Watch Football - Watching the traditional NFL football games is considered by many to be as much a part of Thanksgiving as a turkey. Each year, the Detroit Lions and Dallas Cowboys play Thanksgiving Day and John Madden hands out the famous turkey drumsticks. Add in some beer and snacks and you'll have some happy football enthusiasts at your party. And after dinner, have the gang burn off some calories by playing a family football game in the yard or by going to a local basketball court to shoot some hoops. Better yet, gather the family in the yard or local basketball court.
Watch Movies - Released in 1973, 'A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving' is the most watched movie on Thanksgiving Day. And why not? This heart-warming film shows the misadventures of Charlie Brown as he tries to host a traditional Thanksgiving dinner for all of his pals. As usual, Snoopy and Woodstock step in and end up saving the day by serving toast and jelly beans. There are plenty of other movies perfect for family Thanksgivings. Consider 'Planes, Trains and Automobiles' or 'Home for the Holidays'.
Buy or Decorate the Christmas Tree - If your family puts up a fresh Christmas tree, the day after Thanksgiving is the perfect time to go to tree farm to pick out this year's winner. Just choose the tree and mark it. Ask the farm to deliver it a week or two later to make sure that it won't dry out before Christmas. If your family puts up an artificial tree, the day after Thanksgiving is the perfect time to lug the tree box down from the garage or up from the basement. Set it up and decorate it with all those special ornaments gathered over the years.
Break The Wishbone - After dinner is eaten, a long held tradition held by many families is making a wish on the wishbone from the turkey. Basically, two family members grab on to each end of the wishbone and pull while making a wish. It is said that whoever gets the larger piece (the one with the head on it) will have his or her wish come true. Of course, as superstition goes, the winner can't share their wish with others or it won't come true!
Watch the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade - For almost 80 years, Macy's has celebrated Thanksgiving and beckoned Christmas with their big parade in New York City. Every Thanksgiving Day, the parade features giant helium balloons with characters like Snoopy, high school and college marching bands from across the U.S., beautiful parade floats and of course, Santa Claus waving to the kids from his magical sleigh.
Serve a Thanksgiving Meal - Many families find that Thanksgiving is the perfect time to give back to the community and share their blessings with others. They volunteer at a local shelter or at Meals On Wheels to serve and deliver the Thanksgiving food gift of a meal to those less fortunate Americans.
Make Thanksgiving Crafts - Most American households are filled with children on Thanksgiving Day. A great way to keep them busy and to have fun is to make Thanksgiving crafts such as turkey headbands or wall hangings. You can ask them to create a special thank you gift for the hostess or the cooks for all the yummy food. Perhaps consider a Thanksgiving cookie bouquet filled with iced cookies shaped like turkeys, cornucopias, and more.
Shop 'Til You Drop - Many women have incorporated this tradition by gathering the family and getting up bright and early the day after Thanksgiving to go shopping. Toting ads from the 'Black Friday' newspaper, they run from store to store trying to get the early bird specials on their Christmas shopping list. This tradition isn't for the faint of heart since the day after Thanksgiving is traditionally one of the busiest shopping days of the year.
Exchange Names for Christmas - What better time to draw and exchange names for Christmas gifts than when all the family is already gathered together for the Thanksgiving festivities.
Fun Thanksgiving Tradition Example
Another Thanksgiving Tradition
My family LOVES to play games and what better time to have some fun than when the entire gang is gathered together. We play lots of group and family games like the ones shown from Amazon, but we also like having the kids play games for little prizes.