8 Thanksgiving Traditions to Start this Year


It feels like every year the time between when we hang up our Halloween costumes and start holiday prep gets shorter and shorter. It’s goodbye pumpkin spice and the crisp smell of fall leaves and hello to peppermint mocha and the cozy smell of pine needles.

I don’t blame us though. Christmas has bright lights, sugar cookies, and SANTA! I mean, it’s hard for Thanksgiving to complete! However, I think there’s just something about having family gathered around delicious food and the warm colors of fall that feels so nostalgic. It takes me back to my childhood and it feels like home.

I talked with some mama friends about their favorite Thanksgiving traditions, so if you’re considering starting a new one, here are a couple of ideas to get you started.

1. Handmade Placemats

Gather all the children together the day before, or the morning of, Thanksgiving to create individual placemats for your big dinner. This is a great way to entertain the littles while the adults are in the kitchen. (Pinspiration: Handmade Placemats)

2. Cooking Together

Some of my favorite Thanksgiving memories are helping my great-grandmother make mashed potatoes and rolls for dinner. They were special moments that now, over 25 years later, I cherish so deeply. She had the tiniest kitchen but always made room for me and my sister when it came to cooking holiday meals.

3. Share What You’re Grateful For

This is a great conversation to have during your meal! Everyone takes a turn going around the table and sharing what they are grateful for this year. We also like to include one wish for the New Year.

4. Movie Marathon

PJ pants. Hot cocoa. Cuddles on the couch. I’m just going to leave this right here … Thanksgiving Day Movie Marathons.

5. Games

This year I am starting a new Thanksgiving tradition with my family by playing the Saran Wrap Ball game. Every year around the holidays these videos circulate online and they’re hilarious! The best part is you can get the supplies rather inexpensively and it looks like a whole lot of fun. (Pinspiration: Saran Wrap Ball Game )

6. Shopping

Do you prefer Black Friday shopping or Small Business Saturday? Either way, you’re bound to have some fun while burning off some of those extra feast calories. Best advice: go with a plan, some comfy shoes, and a whole lot of patience.

7. Christmas Decorations

One of our favorite family traditions is to put up our Christmas decorations, tree included, the day after Thanksgiving. We like to light some candles, turn on Shrek the Halls (which if you haven’t watched before you should), and dive headfirst into the holidays. This is also a great day to relax and enjoy some yummy leftovers.

8. Ornament Making

Another fun way to entertain the kiddos while all the cooking takes place – or even during post-dinner nap time – is to make ornaments together. These would be great to gift the Thanksgiving cooks or to take home to hang on the tree. (Pinspiration: Ornament Making)

What Thanksgiving traditions does your family celebrate?

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Originally from Indiana, Carey moved to South Carolina in 2009. She and her husband, Brett, met during college at USC and now reside in Forest Acres. She is an elementary school teacher turned stay-at-home mom to two wonderful boys. After struggling with infertility for years, their son, Milo, joined their family in November of 2017 through domestic adoption. In March of 2020 baby River joined the family via embryo adoption. In addition to being a SAHM, Carey works in Social Media Management, is a babywearing educator, and a postpartum doula. She enjoys writing, iced coffee, road trips, and connecting with other mamas online. Her passions include adoption ethics and education, infertility, mental health advocacy, plus size life, and social justice issues. You can follow Carey’s motherhood journey and more on Instagram at MessyAsAMother.


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