This year will be different for many people when celebrating the holidays. Some families can not gather due to not travelling or social distancing. But that does not mean it should boring and meaningless. Over the years, my family try to make the most of out holidays especially Thanksgiving. It is actually one of my top favorite holidays to celebrate. It involves the 3 F’s that I value in life: family, food, and football. But this is also a great time to adopt some new Thanksgiving traditions that your family should try this year. With 2020 being such a chaotic year, we need to make the most of the rest of the year. So I came up with a list of 15 Thanksgiving traditions your family should try this year.
1. Volunteer at a Soup Kitchen
Unfortunately, many people have experienced job loss during the pandemic. This has resulted in an increase in homelessness. So this is the perfect time to give back by volunteering at a soup kitchen. I’ve served at a soup kitchen several times and it is very rewarding. You meet wonderful people that you’re serving and volunteering with. Hosea Feed The Hungry is the most known soup kitchens in Atlanta that serves during the Holidays.
2. Create your Own Soup Kitchen
It may be too late to sign up at a soup kitchen. There have also been cases when some are not open due to high risk of contracting Covid-19. Well, no worry!! You can always create your own soup kitchen. Our family actually did this several years ago. Shout out to my cousin, Carla, who came up with the idea! Everyone in the family chipped in and we bought food items such as a turkey, green beans, mash potatoes and gravy, and rolls. We packed the food in to go plates and drove to downtown Atlanta to hand plates to the homeless. They were overjoyed to find people taking a little time out of their day to serve them. We also noticed another family doing the same deed. I love it!!!
3. Hand Out Toiletry Bags
This is another tradition our family adopted a few years back. We bought toothpaste, toothbrushes, bottled water, deodorant, wash clothes, and soap. Then everyone got together at my parents’ house and packed them all in brown paper bags. Then on Thanksgiving Day, while the women cooked dinner, the men drove around the city to donate toiletry bags to the less fortunate. This was another bonding moment for the family while still being economical. You can purchase most of the toiletry items at Dollar Tree (don’t sleep on them).
4. Play Board Games
I love board games!!! So does my family!! So we usually take a little time out of the day to play our favorite, Scattergories. This is when the competitive energy of the family comes out. But it is all fun and games. You can always play Uno, Taboo, or my in-laws’ favorite, Monopoly. You’re guaranteed to laugh and probably yell at each other because someone stole the Monopoly money. Lol!!
5. Watch Football
Fun fact about me: I was not a football fan until I watched a game on Thanksgiving. You may never know if you like something unless you give it a try. This also brings out the competitive nature from the family. Ok, we just a competitive bunch. Lol! It is more fun when you have family members who are fans of your rival team. For instance, when the New Orleans Saints and Dallas Cowboys played each other, the house was divided. Back at home, you’re either a Saints fan or a Cowgirls, I mean Cowboys fan. Lol!! Plus who does not like to engage in trash talk??
6. Take Pictures of Memories
I was not a fan of taking pictures until I began blogging. Surprising, right? But I have realized the importance of taking pictures of the family bonding and enjoying each other’s company. The pandemic made me realize how valuable time with your family is. So this year, I am not taking advantage of these moments. Plus it so much fun reminiscing while looking at old photos.
7. Donate to a Food Drive
There are many organizations, coops, and ministries that are accepting donations of food to give back to their neighborhood. Especially with many people still out of jobs because of Covid-19. This non-profit organization is usually works with my church. My mother and I are volunteering here this year. There are so many options nearby if you search online.
8. Visit Nursing Homes
My grandmother used to take all of her grandchildren to nursing homes in the Shreveport area. It was her who instilled in us the importance of serving. I have met some of the friendliest people who lived there. Unfortunately, some of the elderly in those nursing homes are usually lonely and desire company of others. Whether it was playing bingo with them, giving toiletry bags, or simply having a conversation, it was awesome to see a smile on their faces. It’s also super easy to make arrangements with the administration.
9. Have a Baking Contest
Every family has a group of women in the family who swears their banana pudding or sweet potato pie is the best. So why not put them to the challenge? In that way, you can eat the extra pies and cakes they baked. Win, win!! Lol!! And who doesn’t like a friendly competition?? Just make sure it is one. If you know Aunt Mary will become salty if she loses, then this tradition may not be for your family. Lol!
10. Family Prayer
Thanksgiving is not just about the family getting together to indulge in turkey and dressing or stuffing (for my northern peeps.) It is also to remind ourselves of the things that we are grateful. With this year, I am incredibly grateful for God’s protection from Covid-19. So this would be a great time for the family to come together in prayer to tell God. This should probably happen before dinner to avoid everyone getting the “itis” afterwards.
11. Talent Show
I was watching a movie, Dan in Real Life and loved the many activities the family did. But one that stood out was when they held a talent show. Who does not like a talent show?? Everyone can participate. You can sing, play an instrument, or blow the biggest bubblegum ever. No talent is bigger than the other.
12. Have a Christmas Decoration Party
With Thanksgiving happening, Christmas is right around the corner. So why not kill two birds with one stone and decorate for Christmas? But make it fun and invite the family. Everyone can dress in their Christmas pajamas, sip hot chocolate, and decorate the tree while jamming to “This Christmas” by Donnie Hathaway and “Christmas in Hollis” by Run DMC.
13. Invite a Friend or Co-worker
Some people are blessed to be able to spend Thanksgiving with their family and loved ones. But there are some who cannot be with their family. Maybe because they have no family nearby and do not want to risk flying a plane. Or maybe because some family members do not want to risk being contracted with Covid-19. Either way, it would be a great idea to that friend or co-worker to Thanksgiving dinner. I am sure that person would greatly appreciate your invite.
14. Play Thanksgiving Themed Games
If you’re a fan of games but want to try something different, this is for you. This is a good way to get everyone involved including the children. Or you can have Thanksgiving games that are specifically designed for your children. Either way, get ready for some family fun!! Here is a list of creative Thanksgiving games guaranteed to bring laughs and joy.
15. Have Thanksgiving Dinner Outdoors
I was watching The Food Network when one of my favorite chefs brought the idea of having Thanksgiving dinner outdoors. The weather is a little warm but still has crisp in the air. Perfect weather to eat outdoors. Plus you can enjoy time with your family while socially distancing. Make sure you use ways to repel bugs so you can really enjoy your meal in the great outdoors. Here are some ways. Here is a great product to use.
So, what is your thanksgiving tradition with your family? Do you plan on trying something new? Let me know in the comments. Love y’all and be blessed!