DAY 19: “Give Thanks, Have Fun, Make Memories!”

“Give thanks to the Lord for He is good, for His mercy endures forever!” — Psalm 135

Happy Thanksgiving! I love saying that! This is my favorite holiday! Today is all about faith, family, food, and fun! It’s about giving thanks for the many blessings God has given us! We have sooo much to be thankful for this year. I even got my recipes out a couple of weeks early and bought all my groceries because I got so excited about cooking and being together! My family laughs because my number one love language is quality time. They all know that if we can all go in one car — or be in the same room at the same time — mom is happy. I like having all my chicks close to the nest!

This Thanksgiving, we are blessed to have a new addition to the Swanson household: our five-month-old grandson, Theo! So Exciting! Even though he can’t eat the food, (I’ll need extra groceries next year with the way he’s growing), he will be creating fond memories that he can build off. The sights, sounds, smells, and loudness (haha) especially during games because everyone is sooooo competitive. Some of our traditions will be changing this year with him in the mix. We will be looking for new things to add as he grows and more grandkids come. (see what I did there? …more grandkids…. yes please… ) When adding new traditions to the mix, the most important thing to remember is to do what is best for your own family! Try something. If that doesn’t work, try something else. At the end of the day, it’s all about enjoying the moments together.

Here are some things you can do to create new traditions, add to your old ones, or distract the kids while the turkey is being carved or the pie is being served!

  1. Watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. This is one of the longest Thanksgiving traditions and kids love it at the end when Santa appears!
  2. Play Turkey Tag. Make a turkey out of a clothespin, (kids love to help design this), and clip it on a family member’s clothes when they’re not looking. Come up with prizes. Turkey tag! You’re it!
  3. Do a Jigsaw Puzzle. Growing up we always had a card table in the living room with a puzzle from Thanksgiving through the Christmas Season and sometimes longer. Have an adult puzzle and one for kids. It keeps hands and fingers busy.
  4. Have a Mini-Pumpkin Hunt. Why wait for Easter? Hide the mini pumpkins inside or out depending on weather. Tape prizes to the bottom.
  5. Take a walk. Do jumping jacks with the kids. Run around the house. After a big meal ,we need to get the blood flowing so we can eat again!
  6. Play the Grateful Game. Ask everyone what they are thankful for. Start with the letter A, then B, and so on through the alphabet.
  7. Fill out a “Bucket List” of things you want to do over the Holidays. If the kids are out of school, have them write down what they want to do over the breaks.
  8. Ask the oldest and the youngest (if they can talk) to pray the prayer over the meal. Have everyone hold hands around the table as you pray. Very powerful.
  9. Fill a jar with Candy Corn and other candies and have everyone guess how many pieces fit inside. (Of course, at my house I get to eat the candy after the game is over!)
  10. Thanksgiving Charades. Take 3 in. x 5 in. cards and write Thanksgiving themes on them. Pick teams, act them out, and have fun! Some ideas: scarecrow, bobbing for apples, raking leaves, carving a pumpkin, carving the turkey, playing football, I’m a turkey, giving thanks, I’m a Pilgrim, farmer, and more. Have fun and get creative!
  11. “Pass the Journal.” Start a tradition by having everyone who is present sign (kids put your age) and write something they are thankful for. Parents can ask their kids what they are thankful for and write it down for them. Every year, review and write something new.
  12. Watch a Holiday movie together.
  13. Read the history of Thanksgiving. Maybe act out the story. Kids will love this too.
  14. Serve at a homeless shelter as a family or give a bag of groceries to a shelter. They can always use help.
  15. Invite someone to join you for Thanksgiving. Whether it’s a college kid who can’t go home for Christmas or anyone who may be alone, a kind gesture goes a long way.
  16. Hug a lot. Hugs are therapeutic and healing. Hugs can speak when words can’t.

Psalm 135 says: “Give thanks to the Lord for He is good, for His mercy endures forever!”

Throughout the Holidays, remember God is a good God! His mercies are new every day for every situation. As we give Him thanks, He showers us with His love and we are forever changed. I hope you enjoy these ideas to start or add to your own traditions.

Give thanks, have fun, make happy memories, and have a happy Thanksgiving!

Shalom,

Mama Swan