Healthy Thanksgiving Traditions to add to your Holiday THIS Year

Traditions are so important to a family. They link the past and the present, they create a sense of belonging, and they give people something to look forward to (good or bad).  While I’m sure many of your family’s traditions have been passed down over generations, it’s never too late to start your own.

This Thanksgiving, I’m creating new traditions that reflect our commitment to healthy living and to creating a sense of unity and togetherness.

Here are some fun traditions you can start this year!

1) Turkey Trotimg_1587

These are 5Ks (often with an accompanying fun run) that take place all over on Thanksgiving day. I just googled “turkey trot” and listings of turkey trots all around this area and the city showed up in the search results. They usually take place pretty early in the morning so then you can get home and still get ready for diner and family time. It’s a good way to promote exercise on a holiday that promotes eating. Google turkey trots in your neighborhood!

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2) Games

I love playing “board games” with the kids. It is great family time.

This Thanksgiving, I was planning on making a DIY Thanksgiving version of Headbanz.  It is actually very simple. You just write words such as turkey, family, stuffing, squash, football, dinner, cornucopia, pumpkins, pumpkin pie, sweet potato, corn, holiday, etc on sticky notes. Then put a post it on everyone’s back. Everyone can look at everyone else’s note but you cannot know what is on your own back. The goal is to guess what you “are” by asking yes or no questions. People are ONLY allowed to answer with yes or no. We continue until everyone has guessed what they are.

Other awesome family games are Carcassone, UnoCauldron Quest, Clue, Jenga, and Scrabble. We love to make up stories together, taking turns saying one word or one sentence at a time. If it’s warm enough to go outside, What time is it Mr. Fox? is super fun for all ages. Or arrange a football game of course (or soccer-football for that matter – my son’s much more of a soccer guy).

Games such as these utilize skills such as teamwork, turn taking, strategy, sportsmanship and so much more depending on the game. Carcassone relies heavily on strategy, visual spatial reasoning, and decision making. Uno on patterns. Cauldron Quest is a board game that has to be won as a team therefore emphasizing cooperation. Clue requires deductive reasoning. And so on.

They also create a sense of belonging and bonding. It’s a great opportunity to talk and laugh together. All of which cultivates a sense of positivity and well being.

3) Veggie turkeythanksgiving-tradition-turkey

This horrendous photo is from years ago when I made my first Thanksgiving veggie turkey. This has become our traditional appetizer. It’s great to put out with some dips and let people graze while you prepare dinner. It’s cute so people love it even though it is not filled with butter or cheese.

4) Gratefulness Games

Lots of people say they go around the table naming things they are thankful for. There are also tons of crafts for kids and adults on Pinterest or all over the internet (such as the turkey my son made last year – btw I think he meant living turkeys because he doesn’t eat them hahah).

Or use today as a good reason to start a gratitude journal.

Taking time to express gratitude can lead to increases in health, happiness, and overall well being. 

5) Self expression/Silliness

I think it’s important to give people chances to express themselves – this could be done through art work ilike the gratitude drawings on the table or it can be something entirely different.

We’ve always tried to dress fairly nicely for dinner. (Sometimes I manage to get the kids dressed and not so much myself but hey I try.) Anyway, this year we’ve decided that everyone has to get dressed for Thanksgiving dinner, but you can “dress up” in whatever way you are inspired to dress. The sweats you’ve been wearing all day are unacceptable. But pretty much anything else is free game. Maybe you do feel like getting dressed to the nines complete with ball gown/suit and tie or maybe it becomes another opportunity to unleash your inner superhero or maybe even villain. We will find out at dinner time!

6) Traditions from past generations

Even though this post is about creating traditions that fit your family and your family’s values right now, it is also important to note that some old traditions are worth carrying on. They create a connection to the past and to something larger than yourself. I might traditions that have  passed down through your family that would be meaningful to continue and create memories.

While I don’t think we will continue the mille feuille made with heavy whipping cream and jello pudding tradition that made it a couple generations but my mom loved to put crackers at the dinner table so I’m ordering these* to carry on that. My kids fondly remember her crackers and wearing the crowns, telling the jokes, and trading the trinkets. So I will make sure that that lives on.

What holiday traditions do you continue or did you make up your own?



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