10 Thanksgiving Tradition Ideas You Can Start With Your Family

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Today, I am going to share with you some great Thanksgiving tradition ideas that you and your family can do.

Thanksgiving is a time for spending time with family, giving thanks, and thinking about others.  Family traditions are how we teach our kids to pass these values on for generations to come.

Traditions are our roots and a profile of who we are as individuals and who we are as a family. They are our roots, which give us stability and a sense of belonging – they ground us.

Lidia Bastianich

10 Thanksgiving Tradition Ideas For Your Family

If you don’t have any traditions it’s never too late to start. Traditions are an important part of building a strong, stable, and healthy family environment for your kids.  

Complete a family puzzle while watching the Thanksgiving day parade

This is one tradition that my family had when I was growing up. We were never really into puzzles, but on Thanksgiving, it was something that I looked forward to. We would set up a card table in front of the TV and watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving day parade while we did the puzzle together.

Family drawing

Let me explain. My kids LOVE this and my husband came up with this a few years ago. Each family member gets 3 slips of paper that they must secretly write down a favorite family activity on. All slips are folded and put into a container. The youngest family member then draws one out and the family does the activity together.

Rinse and repeat until they are all completed or time is up! This ensures each family member gets to do something they want to do. We seem to do this every holiday since they love it so much. Some examples of things that seem to make it into our container every time are; family dance party, baking cookies, Disney Charades, play a game of UNO, and a 30-minute workout. That last one is mine!

They all groan, but we do it together so that we can draw the next activity!


Kite flying and football tossing

Get outdoors no matter the weather! These are fun to do anytime, but really neat when you know that every year this is what is going down!

Watch A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving

While eating homemade pretzel twists! My kids love Auntie Anne’s Pretzel Kits. This tradition keeps them watching a cartoon into adulthood and gets the family together in front of the TV while sharing a once per year treat. Cuddle up and enjoy your sweets!

Family Yahtzee game

Some friendly competition is always a blast in my home. Yahtzee is a game that I have found that even the younger ones can play with a little help.

Volunteer to serve Thanksgiving dinner

There are always opportunities locally to serve those in need in your community. Some ideas are The Salvation Army, your local soup kitchen, and Meals on Wheels.

Write a letter to the oldest family member you have

Yup, snail mail style! How awesome is this? In a few days when the hustle and bustle of Christmas has started, they will be reminded that you were thinking about them when they check their mailbox!

Participate in a Thanksgiving Day 5K

Work off the calories first! Then you can really enjoy your homemade noodles!

Decorate for Christmas

My children can’t wait to start decorating. Ask Alexa to “play Christmas tunes”, then break out some hot chocolate and the decor. I don’t usually set up the Christmas tree at this time, that’s a totally separate tradition, but frosty and the garland definitely make an appearance!

Pay it forward as a family

What a great way to instill the value of thinking of others. There are so many different ideas for this. Here are a few ideas you can do together as a family.

  • Take a meal to an elderly neighbor
  • Pick up some litter in your neighborhood
  • Deliver a special treat to the nurses station at a local hospital or nursing home

These Thanksgiving tradition ideas can be a terrific way to create lasting memories with your family and instill great values in your kids at the same time. Commit to trying at least one this year.​​​​

25 thoughts on “10 Thanksgiving Tradition Ideas You Can Start With Your Family”

  1. I clearly remember the years that I served a Thanksgiving dinner at a soup kitchen of some sort, I highly recommend it! Such a great idea to include on this list!

  2. What a lovely idea! So important to spend quality family time together. These are some great suggestions! Something for everyone to enjoy 🙂

  3. I live this list, especially about ding the puzzle while watching the parade. Mine are to young to do this now but I will keep it in mind for When they get a bit older. I also enjoy decorating for Christmas Thanksgiving night or the next day. This year will be the first year in 7 years I’ll be at home for thanksgiving so can’t wait to do this with my daughter!

  4. I love this! We already have 2 of the traditions – a 5K and volunteering. I think it would be great to incorporate more. I especially love the idea of writing a letter.

  5. Love the puzzle idea. Now that my kids are old enough to do this, we may have to make this a tradition. We always go ice skating on the Friday after Thanksgiving. No shopping stress and lots of fun!

  6. Hi Leslie!

    I love these ideas! Family traditions are some of my favorite parts of Thanksgiving. I especially love the Yahtzee idea. Everyone loves rolling the dice in our family and even the little ones can go nuts with the dice!

    I think I need to add paying it forward as a family to our list of traditions this year. You have some great suggestions. I would like to add “Pay for the person behind you at the drive through”. We’re coffee addicts in my family so by literally paying it forward, we could do something nice as a family!

    Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

  7. Love these ideas!!! We have been trying to start traditions since my daughter is now almost to the age she can participate. I love the activity jar and she would love to do puzzles! Growing up we always decorated for Christmas on thanksgiving or on Friday as well!


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