10 New Thanksgiving Traditions for Your Family :: Pick One!


Thanksgiving is more than just the delicious meal, and there are so many ways to make memories with your family by starting these 10 Thanksgiving traditions.

thanksgiving traditions to start with your family

Whatever you are thankful for, there are ways to put it into action and serve others, as found in “Local Community Service Projects and Volunteer Ideas for Kids of Every Age.”

Turn Thankfulness into Action

Tradition #1. It turns out that we have a lot to be thankful for no matter what our situation is in life. Why not turn that thankfulness into action? 

Every year my family is thankful for the food on our table. Every year, my parents took me to Mission Arlington to sort truck loads of canned goods for people that could not afford a Thanksgiving meal. Do the same!

Sorting canned goodsTradition #2: During this time of year, there are many food drives and a need for people to help give people a Thanksgiving that wouldn’t have one otherwise. Organize a food drive. No matter how big or small, everything helps.

Tradition #3: Another activity that you can do with your family is make two Thanksgivings. One for your family and another for a person who cannot afford it. 

Tradition #4: Thanksgiving break is a great time to clean out toys and closets to donate just in time for Christmas. Get your kids involved by sorting which toys they want to keep and which ones they do not. Then take to your local shelter to donate. Many shelters and missions also use volunteers to sort their donations. Thanksgiving traditions are a great way for your family to work together to help others.

Get Your Kids Involved

Tradition #5: Get your kids involved in preparing the Thanksgiving meal and set up. I know that preparing for Thanksgiving is very stressful, especially on the women in the family and there is no way you want to involve your kids, but it will make Thanksgiving more memorable if you do.

I guarantee that your child will have more memories of helping you with the preparation than they will of the actual meal. 

Tradition #6: Add a favorite, non-traditional food. My daughter is obsessed with muffins! Everyday she wants to make muffins and eat them. It is her favorite thing to do in the whole world. Muffins aren’t a traditional Thanksgiving food, but why not make it a tradition? My daughter’s contribution to Thanksgiving can be muffins that we make every year to share with family and friends. It makes it more special that my daughter made it. 

Tradition #7: Passing down the recipes from generation to generation with the stories is a Thanksgiving blessing. Read “Turkey with a Side of Stories” for more ideas.

Thanksgiving, craft

Tradition #8: If you have a little that can’t help with making the whole meal, put them in charge of making placemats for the kids’ table. There are many Thanksgiving placemat printables on Google that you can print off and have your child color and laminate. If you want to make them super cute, you can do a handprint turkey. You paint the palm brown and then the fingers red, orange, and yellow. Then let it dry. Put the face on the turkey and then laminate. It is a fun way for your child to be involved in setting up for Thanksgiving.

Share Thanksgiving

Tradition #9: Many people do not have family to celebrate Thanksgiving with and are alone during the holiday. Invite people to your Thanksgiving that do not have a place to celebrate. We have so much to be thankful for including family and friends. For various reasons, some people are alone during holidays. Let’s share our family, friends, and food on Thanksgiving. 

Tradition #10: Talk about gratitude. Don’t assume our kids get the gist of this holiday. Be bold and straight forward. These other resources can give you creative ways to incorporate teaching and guidance on gratitude:


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