thanksgiving traditions


10 Traditions to Bring Your Family Closer
by Nicole Wallace
Once Upon a Family

What do you remember about your childhood? Was it the leather bound book set you received from Grandma or was it her apple pie that she cooked for every family event? We often miss the opportunity to do the things that matter most while we’re off spending time and money doing things that don’t matter. It’s not the expensive gifts or the big parties that we remember from our childhood -- it is the family rituals that we did over and over again. These events are traditions that can help us instill strong family values and give us a sense of family identity. Traditions are also the building blocks for strong, caring, happy families. This holiday season why not try out a few new ones:

1) Designate one night a week as family night. It doesn’t matter what you do together, just that you do it together. Play board games, go bowling, rent a movie and order pizza.

2) Take pictures of Grandma making her famous apple pie. Save the picture and recipe in an album along with other family pictures and recipes.

3) Ask everyone to write what he or she is thankful for on a beautiful colored paper leaf at Thanksgiving. Put the leaves in a basket and read them after dinner. Collage the leaves and a picture of the event into a Thanksgiving album each year. 

4) Keep a blessings box all year long. Whenever something wonderful happens (the baby sleeps through the night, your son scores the first goal in the soccer game, etc.) write it down and put it in this box. Read and count your blessings every Thanksgiving.

5) Use a sheet as a tablecloth this Thanksgiving. Give everyone a permanent marker to write a thought, wish or dream. Date and sign each message. Bring the tablecloth out for every family gathering.

6) Gather the family and discuss your Family Motto. This could be one word that you stand for like, honesty, integrity, loving, etc. Or you could us a standard proverb such as “Anything worth doing is worth doing well,” or “Never judge another person till you’ve walked a mile in their shoes.” Hang on a suitable wall where everyone can have a daily reminder.

7) Write yourself or a family member a letter every year at Thanksgiving. Keep the letters and bring them out again in five years to read.

8) Write your children letters every year on their birthdays. Save them in a beautiful box. Present the letters to them at a special time (graduation, 21st birthday, wedding, etc)

9) Write a specific assignment on back of each person’s place card this Thanksgiving. Examples could be: carve the turkey, clear the plates, organize the coffee, fold the napkins, take beverage orders, etc. This makes everyone feel a part of the celebration.

10) Start a new Friday night dinner tradition. Tell each other ‘the best thing that happened to me this week was…” You can also use this as part of your weekly phone call to the grandparents.

Family ties are all about what you do together as a family and making loved ones feel special. So start a few new traditions this holiday season and continue the ones your family enjoys. These simple family events will bring your family closer and create lasting memories.

Nicole Wallace is a stay-at-home mother of two children and an Independent Consultant for Once Upon a Family. Visit her website for more tradition ideas or reach her via email at

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thanksgiving traditions

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thanksgiving traditions