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The Ultimate Guide to Thanksgiving Traditions

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Holiday traditions is a recurring themed here at The Inspired Holiday. Thanksgiving traditions are no exception. In our home, Thanksgiving is major for several reasons: 1. It’s usually my husbands birthday and even if it doesn’t land exactly on Thanksgiving we always have his cake on Thanksgiving day. 2. It’s our official kickoff to Christmas! I know many families start gearing up for Christmas before Thanksgiving and that’s great! However, in our house, we really enjoy our Thanksgiving traditions.

As Moms, Thanksgiving is a wonderful time to teach our children a valuable lesson about being thankful. In the age of instant gratification is nice to remind everyone what it means to be grateful for the people in your life. This is why I really value our Thanksgiving traditions – it gives my family a chance to slow down and remember what we are thankful before the hustle and bustle of the Christmas season begins.

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The Ultimate List of Thanksgiving Traditions

Host your own Thanksgiving meal playdate  Before my kids started school, I hosted a playdate the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. We had turkey sandwiches and made a fun Thanksgiving dessert. A fun addition to your Thanksgiving playdate is festive, interactive placemats. We use these kits every year and my kids love them!


Watch “A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving” A great way to spend time as a family is with a themed movie night. A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving is a great family movie and will help get your children excited to celebrate turkey day!

Find a fun way to express gratitude this month One of the greatest lessons we can teach our children is how to be grateful and appreciative. Thanksgiving is a great time to remind our children how important it is to show gratitude each and every day. This year I decided to introduce a gratitude journal that they can use every day, not just for Thanksgiving.

Donate toys to less fortunate children  One of my favorite Thanksgiving traditions is to have my kids donate toys to those less fortunate. My kids are shown what it means to give back and be thankful for their family.

Do some turkey crafting If you are a long-time reader of The Inspired Holiday than you know I love me some craftin’ No holiday is complete in our home without a fun themed craft and Thanksgiving is no exception. This turkey craft kit from Amazon is already in my closet for this year. My kids can’t wait to get their hands on them.

Enjoy a few Thanksgiving-themed snacks  Holiday-themed snacks are almost as important as crafts in this house. Our local bakery makes the most delicious Turkey shaped cookies that everyone in my family looks forward to every year. Thanksgiving is also the official end of pumpkin season for me so I make sure we get in one last hurrah with everything pumpkin!

Collect leaves as a family Here’s a simple and FREE Thanksgiving tradition you can start with your family – collecting leaves. Is there anything more gorgeous than fall foliage? I don’t think so. My kids love to jump and crunch in the leaves so this makes for a wonderful tradition leading up to Thanksgiving.

Make a Thankful Pumpkin One of my favorite Thanksgiving traditions start on November 1st – our Thankful Pumpkin. Every night after dinner we gather around as a family to write one thing we are thankful for each day and then after dessert on Thanksgiving we read them aloud. It’s absolutely beautiful and moving making it my favorite tradition each year. The best part? It’s so easy to do! All you need is a craft pumpkin and a sharpie marker.


Read some Thanksgiving books (“Thanksgiving in the Woods”, “How to Catch a Turkey”) Everyone knows one of my kid’s favorite traditions for any holiday is reading a themed book. Thanksgiving books are some of my favorites because the stories are beautifully written with wonderful messages for children. Here are two of our favorite Thanksgiving books to read:

Decorate with personalized, themed placemats. We use personalized placemats for all of the holidays but our Thanksgiving ones are stunning. The colors are bold and really add a beautiful touch to our kitchen leading up to Thanksgiving.

Play Thanksgiving bingo (use candy corn as markers) Holiday bingo games are an easy and fun tradition to create with your family. One way to make Thanksgiving bingo even more fun? Use candy corn as the bingo markers!

Enjoy a delicious cup of apple cider Thanksgiving is all about the food, but what about the drinks? Warm, homemade apple cider is something I think about all year long and can’t wait to have a cup on Thanksgiving morning.

Wear a festive outfit  Believe it or not my kids LOVE to dress up for the holidays, my son included! Wearing a themed outfit is a great way for kids to get excited for Thanksgiving. This adorable pants set is what my daughter wore last year.


Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade! It’s not Thanksgiving until you watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. My kids are allowed to eat their breakfast in front of the T.V. on Thanksgiving morning so they don’t miss a minute. What’s your favorite part of the parade? My daughter and I love the Rockettes. My son loves to see which new floats debut each year and my husband loves to see who’s performing. There’s something for all of us!

Let the kids help prep The years that I host Thanksgiving I let me kids help us prepare for the big day. Both of them have child-safe knives and they love chopping up the vegetables. More importantly, they can’t wait to tell our guests what they helped make for Thanksgiving. I look forward to hosting due to this simple yet sweet Thanksgiving tradition.


Do you have any Thanksgiving traditions I missed? I would love to hear about them in the comments. Thanksgiving is such a wonderful time of the year and these traditions help make celebrating that much sweeter. Plus, there’s pumpkin pie! Who doesn’t love a delicious piece of pumpkin pie?

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