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Family Thanksgiving Traditions

By William Smith

Thanksgiving is a time for reflecting on the past year, getting together with family and of course, eating a big 'ole turkey until you feel stuffed yourself. In fact, according to the National Turkey Federation, over 90% of Americans eat turkey on Thanksgiving Day. Many of us have Thanksgiving food traditions ranging from deep fried turkey to green bean casserole to sweet potato pie, but there is often more to Thanksgiving than a good looking bird. Many families have adopted other traditions that are passed from one generation to the next. Here are some fun Thanksgiving tradition ideas that will surely delight your family.

1) Have each person generate a "What I'm Thankful For List." You could go around the table before the big dinner is served so that each person can say aloud what he/she is thankful for or you could have each person write their list down on sheets of paper so that they can be hole-punched and stored in a 3 ring binder. Throw in some photos of everyone at the Thanksgiving celebration and the binder can serve as your Thanksgiving family memories book.

2) Watch the NFL football games on TV with snacks of course. Watching the Detroit Lions and/or Dallas Cowboys is considered by many to be as much a part of Thanksgiving Day as the turkey. Better yet, gather the family in the yard or local basketball court to have a Thanksgiving game of your own.

3) Watch "A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving." Released in 1973, this heart-warming film shows the misadventures of Charlie Brown as he tries to throw together a traditional Thanksgiving dinner for all of his friends. Snoopy and Woodstock step in to save the day. One fun idea would be to make and eat all the foods Snoopy served like toast and jellybeans.

4) Go to tree farm and pick out the family Christmas tree the day after Thanksgiving. You could mark it for delivery a week or two later to make sure that it won't dry out before Christmas.

5) Make a wish on the wishbone from the turkey. Let two people from the family grab on to each end of the wishbone and pull while making a wish. Whoever gets the larger piece (the one with the head on it) will have his/her wish come true. Be sure not to share your wish with others or it won't come true!

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6) Watch the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade on TV with your family. For almost 80 years, Macy's has celebrated Thanksgiving and called forth Christmas with their big parade in New York City. The parade features huge balloons, bands, beautiful floats and of course, Santa Claus.

7) Volunteer at a local shelter to serve or at Meals On Wheels to deliver the Thanksgiving Day meal to those less fortunate Americans.

8) Make a Thanksgiving craft or hostess gift for the cook(s). This is a great project to do with the kids.

9) Get up bright and early the day after Thanksgiving to go shopping. This is especially fun for the women in the family. Known as "Black Friday," the day after Thanksgiving is traditionally one of the busiest shopping days of the year with sales and early bird specials at many retail stores.

10) Draw names for Christmas presents. Many large families draw names for the annual Christmas gift exchange and Thanksgiving is the perfect time to figure out who is buying a gift for whom.

© William Smith


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