Thanksgiving is one of my favorite American holidays for many reasons. The first being that it brings families and friends together from far and near, for one day, under the same roof. Often its people you have not seen in a while and I love how that seems to evoke reminiscing stories from the past that are full of laughter. Then there is the Thanksgiving feast of course and what’s not to love about setting the perfect tablescape to sit down and eat turkey, all the stuffing’s and loads of gravy? Most importantly, Thanksgiving is a time to give thanks for all the blessings in our lives and to reach out to those in need in our own community. For me, throwing the perfect feast includes a little of all of the above.
As you gather around to give thanks this Thanksgiving, here are some great ideas that you can incorporate into your own home.
1. Create a Thanksgiving journal where all of your guests can write down what they are thankful for and leave a personal note.
I also love to document events with a photo. Consider buying an inexpensive Polaroid camera and taking a group photo of all of your guests and an individual Polaroid photo of each guest to glue next to their journal entry. As a mom, I am always thinking of creative ways to document life for my daughter. A Thanksgiving day family journal is something that you can hand down to your children and at the same time, it’s something that you can display in your home year around.
2. Play games and tell stories.
It’s fun to share memories with everyone gathered around and it’s really simple to create. Start by writing out some questions on pieces of paper, fold them in half and then put them in a jar or coffee cup. Go around the room and have each guest pick a question and answer it. Consider videotaping it and then sending the video to everyone after Thanksgiving as a special holiday keepsake. Here are some of the examples of questions I have used in the past. “What’s the best thing that happened in your life this year”? “What’s your favorite memory from childhood”? “Turn to the person to your right and tell everyone what you admire most about them”. “What are you thankful for right now at this moment”? “What is the funniest thing that happened to you this year”? “What is your fondest thanksgiving day memory”? There are no right or wrong answers to the questions. Get creative and have fun giving thanks while sharing your memories.
3. When my daughter was a little girl I always had several kid’s tables scattered throughout our home so she could play and sit comfortably for her own size.
This included setting special tablescapes for her and the other kids during the holidays, which she loved. This year, embrace the idea of creating a kids table and dress it up so it’s fun! I love using Kraft paper on the table and then drawing fun elements on it such as a placemat and each child’s name. I always make sure to place a few cups of crayons on the table so the kids stay busy, entertained and have fun creating art with each other.
4. If you are hosting Thanksgiving then you understand how leftovers sometimes get out of hand and can easily take over your refrigerator!
This Thanksgiving send your guests home with restaurant style doggie bags that you can craft yourself without spending a lot of money! Your can purchase a variety of food take out boxes at papermart.com in packs of 50 for as little as $9.20 plus shipping. To further embellish your take out boxes you can use ribbon to create a bellyband and add a gift tag. Michaels Craft Stores have adorable gift tags right now for the holidays that are located in their dollar bins.
5. There is so much joy in giving back and helping someone in need.
Senior citizens are often forgot about and lonely. There are several in our own community that could use a helping hand, a nice conversation and a loving embrace. If you have an elderly neighbor consider delivering a warm meal or offering to lend a hand with some quick fix-up projects around the home or yard.
6. I am so thankful to be an American and to call this great country my home.
I am also equally thankful for all the men and women who serve in our armed forces and the sacrifices that they and their families make everyday so we can enjoy our freedom. This Thanksgiving let’s show our gratitude and get the whole family involved by supporting those who serve in our community. Write a letter, grant a wish or fund a scholar through “A Million Thanks” organization. Your thoughtful outreach will go a long way! Here is their mission statement so you can learn about this wonderful organization.
“A Million Thanks provides support and appreciation to our active and veteran military men and women through sending letters and granting betterment of life wishes, as well as providing higher education scholarships to their children.”
Enjoy creating lasting memories, giving back and throwing the perfect feast as your family, friends and neighbors gather around to give thanks this year!