10 Thanksgiving tradition ideas you can start with your family

10 Thanksgiving tradition ideas you can start with your family

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.  

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

Days until thanksgiving


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

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 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 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.

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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.​​​​

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