Create your own turkey day traditions

Thanksgiving Day is a holiday rich in its traditions: turkey, pumpkin pie, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade and football.

Many families have the tradition of gathering around the dinner table or in the living room and makes a “gratitude circle.” Each friend or family member has to say what they’re most thankful for this past year.

Here are a few new ways to carry on the same spirit of this tradition, but with a little more flare.

Kernels of Thanks
One family begins each Thanksgiving Day meal by telling the story of the first Thanksgiving. To remind them of how thankful and lucky they are, each member at the table has three kernels of corn on their plate. Before they serve the meal, they pass a basket around. Each person puts their kernels in the basket and shares three things they’re thankful for.

Thanksgiving Tablecloth
Designate a special tablecloth to be used each year for the Thanksgiving meal. Provide markers so your guests can record their “gratitudes” or special prayers for the year ahead. Ask them to sign and date it and continue to use the tablecloth each year. Returning guests can look back on their notes and reflect on the previous year.

Say it with Feathers
Here’s a way to celebrate the blessings of Thanksgiving all month with your family (this is especially great if you have younger children). Craft a construction paper turkey (minus the feathers) and glue it to poster board. Cut out orange, red and yellow paper feathers (enough so each family member has one for each day of November up to Thanksgiving Day). After dinner, every night, each family member writes what they are thankful for that day on a paper feather and tapes it to the turkey. As Thanksgiving approaches, the Blessing Turkey becomes covered in feathers and keeps you mindful of your many blessings.

Some traditions are a little less conventional, but just as important to pass to the next generation.

No Buttons Allowed
That’s the rule in one family’s house on Thanksgiving Day. No guest at the table can wear pants with buttons or zippers. Only elastic and drawstrings are allowed so they can eat as much as they want of the fabulous feast without any unnecessary restrictions.

Toilet Paper Turkey Day
Believe it or not, this is an actual family tradition. A generation or so ago, there were some rambunctious brothers in a small town outside of Charlotte, NC  who were playing with toilet paper in the house while their father was cooking the Thanksgiving meal. He actually told them to “take it outside,” which they did, “TPing” their own backyard. The tradition has lived on ever since.

These days, the grandchildren and great-grandchildren get into the act. Each year, after dinner, they step into the backyard for their “exercise.” They take the cheapest, one-ply toilet paper possible, up to 24 rolls these days, and string it up along the trees, blanketing the backyard. There are always small competitions such as who can get a “hanger,” the last piece of toiler paper that still has the end of the roll connected, or who can throw a roll from the back of the house, over the roof to the front yard.

No matter how your friends and family celebrate the great Thanksgiving – just take a moment to remember why you celebrate the holiday to begin with, enjoy your turkey and the time you have with those around you.