In preparation for this blog, I asked my Facebook friends, “What are your most memorable Thanksgiving traditions from your childhood?”  I was looking for answers that would give me some really cool activity ideas that I could share with my readers because I was tasked with creating a blog full of Thanksgiving traditions for children.  My mind was thinking about crafts or special decorations or even recipes.  What I found was the opposite.  Their memories are not tied up in perfectly planned activities and forced traditions.  Their memories are found in the people.  I don’t know about you, but I would rather my child grow up with memories of spending time with the people she loves rather than the activity that I spent hours researching on Pinterest.  Maybe traditions aren’t found in WHAT we do as much as WHO we are with.

If you know me personally, you know I LOVE planning, making crafts, hosting themed parties and Pinterest!  These things bring me great joy, and that is okay.  The struggle is when we rely on these things to bring ALL the joy and spend more time planning and prepping than we do with our people.  Many times my well laid plans have snags in them.  Interruptions happen, stoves malfunction (this is no joke.  We live in the country.  One time we ran out of propane for our stove in the middle of cooking!!!!), crafts end up different than they look in the picture and kids throw fits.  If we put all this pressure on WHAT we are doing for our traditions, we will experience a lot of disappointment.  The best memories happen with the people and the FOOD!  Don’t forget the food!

So sit back and relax.  Memories can be made in so many ways. . . .in a living room while watching the football games, with just the two of you in your first apartment together, in a restaurant where someone else cooks, with a large extended family that sees each other only a few times a year, in a nursing home room as you visit your mom or even alone as you bake yourself a pie that you don’t have to share with anyone.  We all have different stories, but we can all take part in making this Thanksgiving a memorable one for ourselves and for our children.

If you are longing for a few simple but meaningful traditions to enjoy on Thanksgiving with your kiddos and family, try these out!

Family Gratitude Thanksgiving Pumpkin  Grab a pumpkin, paint it a light color and have the family write what they are thankful for!

Blessings Jar  Leave a jar on your table all year long and write down your blessings.  Read them at Thanksgiving and enjoy the many blessings you may have overlooked had you not written them down.

Thanksgiving Conversation Starters  Get the conversation going at the dinner table with these easy conversation starters!

Thanksgiving Playlist  Looking for an easy list of songs to boost your mood this Thanksgiving?  Give this playlist a try!

Name Place Cards  There are several versions, so I am listing my favorites here from easy (kid friendly) to difficult (for adults).  Hand Turkeys  –  Thumbprint Turkeys  –  Several Simple Place Settings  –  3-D Pumpkins  –  Cardboard Place Settings