Thanksgiving is a special holiday that has brought families together since Abraham Lincoln made it a national holiday to be celebrated every year on the last Thursday of November. While the times have changed, the message of a family Thanksgiving has remained the same and continues to pass from one generation to another.
In modern times, the true message behind most holidays is diluted when the monetary focus over-shadows the real meaning. But Thanksgiving is a family-focused holiday that culminates with friends and family breaking bread together. The day brings many opportunities to create family traditions and memories that are unique to your family.
During the lead up to Thanksgiving, there are many things that parents can do to build a foundation of togetherness, gratitude, and fun times, all wrapped up in a warm blanket of family.
Here are 5 tips to encourage a memorable family Thanksgiving
Put aside differences– All families have some dysfunction. One of the most important lessons you can teach your children is to put aside differences, especially on Thanksgiving. An even better experience would be repairing any relationships that need mending. Family is too valuable and working together to resolve issues will yield results beyond expectations. Deeper connections and strong family ties come from being respectful to other people’s opinions, pausing before you speak, listening more than you talk, and having an interest in getting along with everyone. Be a great role model for your kids and teach them the right lessons.
Share the history- Talk to your children about the history of Thanksgiving and how and why your traditions might differ. Share stories about how you spent Thanksgiving when you were growing up and give your kids a window into the past. Look through family photos of past holidays. Talk, laugh, and enjoy each other’s company. Afterall you are family.
Food brings people together– Ask for family input on what type of food you want on Thanksgiving and around the holiday. Whether you are hosting the feast or attending one, the entire family can share in the fun of planning, cooking, and enjoying the food. Younger kids love helping in the kitchen, so make sure they have age-appropriate ingredients and responsibilities. Working together as a team to create something everyone enjoys builds confidence and memories.
Have fun- Plan activities that engage the entire family to builds memories and keep younger children connected to all family members. As kids get older, it’s not uncommon for them to become distracted from family time. It’s wise to discuss your plans with everyone in advance to avoid unnecessary arguments. Family fun should include everyone, especially on Thanksgiving Day. Plan a hike, play board games, throw a football, or watch a holiday movie together.
Be thankful- Share your appreciation for the things in life that you are grateful for and, if appropriate, write them down on a list. Then ask other family members to do the same. This exercise might seem a little corny, especially to older kids, but when children understand what’s essential in life, they tend to focus on the right things. Take it a step further and talk about random acts of kindness or ideas for helping others less fortunate.
Holidays are a time where families come together to make memories, strengthen traditions, eat, and nurture relationships. When I look back on my childhood, I honor my parents for making the holidays special. With uncontrollable anticipation, I remember looking forward to any holiday that brought our family together. To this day, I have strong relationships with my cousins from creating memorable family Thanksgiving.
Rick Lite of Stress Free Kids and Stress Free Book Marketing, stands at the forefront of the ever-changing book industry. He is a seasoned book marketing professional with over 15 years of experience in the industry. Rick’s expertise comes from tirelessly working on new and innovative ways to market his own books and CDs with his company and parent company, Stress Free Kids. Embracing the core values of integrity, innovation, and growth, Rick works closely with authors to create custom, robust book marketing programs. His easy-going manner provides “stress-free” support and comfort to authors going through the book marketing process for the first time. Rick is quick to share his knowledge and “insider tips” for a successful marketing campaign that will lead to increased exposure, awareness and most importantly, sales.