Welcome to All Things Home for the Holidays where we’re finding inspiration for what matters most this holiday season!
In the last post, we talked about asking ourselves why we celebrate. (If you missed it, it’s HERE!)
Today, it’s all about Thanksgiving Day!
Thanksgiving Day is my favorite holiday. And that’s saying a lot, because friends, you know I love a good holiday! Perhaps it’s the simple way we celebrate… Gather around the table with friends and family-share food, love, laughter and give thanks. Simple to be sure, but really, it boils everyday life down to the sweetest essence.
For what I thought would be forever, we spent Thanksgiving Day at Mom and Dad’s.
Looking back, those were such good days. All of us were so young. My four children and six nieces and nephews were chubby little mischief makers. Gramma, Mom and my little brother David were still on this side of eternity. What I wouldn’t give to go back in time, like Scrouge in A Christmas Carol, and watch one of those Thanksgiving Days unfold. And I can’t help wondering…did younger-me have any idea how fast time would fly? Or did I take those days for granted?
While going back in time isn’t an option, what I can do this year is squeeze every bit of joy out of the moments I’m given right now.
For a while now, my sister and brother-in-law have hosted Thanksgiving dinner. We don’t do things exactly the same as when Mama and Daddy hosted, but we try to keep focus on those elements that have always been important to us…our faith and the strength we find in family.
My mama, she was a tough act to follow…always a planner, it’s no surprise that she had a schedule. And by schedule, I mean one that was actually written out, decorated with a flourish and posted somewhere in the kitchen on Thanksgiving Day.
The schedule went something like this:
*Cider, appetizers and Sharing (what we’re thankful for over the past year)
*Christmas crafts for the women while men play in the yard with the kids
*Christmas crafts for the kids while the men sleep and pretend to watch football 🙂
*Dessert & coffee
*Decorate the Christmas tree (always while watching the lighting of the Rich’s Christmas Tree– a Thanksgiving Day tradition for most Atlantans)
*Turning on the outside Christmas lights- (right before everyone went home-)
Thanksgiving was an all day affair and we loved every minute. What I want you to know is, for Mama (and Daddy!) celebrating this way was a joy. Spending the weeks before Thanksgiving planning and decorating and pulling together crafts for the girls and crafts for the kids…well, she loved it.
While we may not find joy in Thanksgiving Day schedules or crafts or tree decorating, there still might be room to start something new this year.
After Mama left this world, we simplified our Thanksgiving celebration. These days, grown children who are married, need time to see two sets of families on Thanksgiving Day. While the festivities are shortened, we’ve added a couple of meaningful traditions.
Before dinner (or lunch in our case), we all gather in a circle…Daddy says a few words (usually thoughts about what he’s thankful for concerning our family over the past 12 months) – there’s also time for anyone else to share, then Daddy says a blessing over the year ahead and the food.
After dinner, the girls (and Daddy, ’cause he loves this stuff 🙂 ) get together and do a white-elephant ornament exchange. (lots of laughing and stealing of ornaments…it’s really fun!) Lastly, my daughter Emma (who’s quite the photographer!) takes pictures of each family for their Christmas cards!
Here’s ours from 2013…
Today, I’m going to throw out 7 Thanksgiving Day Ideas – my ideas are meant to get you thinking and I’d LOVE to hear ideas from you guys!
If you read the last post and have your answers to why you celebrate, knowing what to add to your Thanksgiving Day might be easier. Here’s what I mean:
If your reason for celebrating during the holidays, revolves around your faith, adding a time for everyone to say something they’re thankful for is a logical addition to your Thanksgiving Day celebration- If your focus is family-fun during the holidays, you might want to play a game of touch football or a board game on Thanksgiving Day!
7 Ideas for Thanksgiving Day
1- Do an easy craft project- (like making a Christmas ornament)
If you need some, I’ve got lots of EASY ornament ideas HERE
2- Making a Kid’s Advent Calendar or Kid’s Craft
3- White-Elephant Christmas ornament exchange for the girls or anyone who wants to play!
(I love this & everyone goes home with an ornament and a good laugh!)
4- A game of touch football or a fun game like Catch Phrase or Uno!
5- A time of sharing what everyone’s thankful for, someone sharing a devotion or even a saying a simple prayer over the coming year.
6- Cookie decorating for the kids!
(This can be SUPER simple! Buy pre-made gingerbread cookies at the grocery- get packaged frosting and sprinkles- each Little gets some cookies, some frosting and sprinkles and a parchment covered cookie sheet…let the fun begin!)
7- Decorating a Christmas tree (only if you’re ready to kick off the Christmas season! If you are, it’s a nice way to end the day~)
Like I said, we’ve simplified our Thanksgiving Day. While we don’t do a bunch of different activities anymore, the simple traditions we have are meaningful and give us something to count on year after year.
Now, I’d love to hear about your celebration or any ideas you might have!
Sending love my friends xo
Stay tuned for more: All Things Home for the Holidays~Finding inspiration for what matters most this holiday season.