Guys. . . it’s almost Thanksgiving! I know this holiday can easily be overshadowed by its glitzy bookends Halloween and Christmas, but I truly love the spirit and traditions of gathering around a table for a huge festive meal.

And I am borderline addicted to a connoisseur of stuffing so that may add to my excitement.

Friends and family? Yummy food? Cozy weather? Thanksgiving deserves a little more love.

After getting married and having my own baby, our Thanksgiving celebrations have expanded to include my family and my husband’s family; I absolutely love everyone coming together, but I realized that we needed some more activities to occupy the horde than just stuffing our faces. These traditions are easy little ways to bring everyone together and inject some non-turkey related fun into the day.

1. Book of Thanks

I started this for my little Vi’s first Thanksgiving, and I am so happy that I did. Last year I set up a little space with a blank page of cardstock and some pens for everyone to sign with their name and what they were most Thankful for that year. Later, I added a group photo of everyone who came to dinner. You could do this with a blank scrapbook or use separate pages and bind them together. As a new page is added each year, we will always be able to look back at the loved family and friends who we have been with to celebrate.  At first I thought it was a little cheesy…and then I didn’t care because it is just so cute.

2. Count the Candy

Everyone likes a sweet little guessing game, so why not fill a jar with some festive candy and ask your guests to guess how many are in there? This will entertain the kid’s table all the way up to grandpa, and it could take advantage of some leftover Halloween candy you might still have laying around.

3. A Fall Walk

This is the holiday where we are supposed to gobble until we wobble, so a nice walk could be the perfect way to stretch those legs before a nice tryptophan-induced nap. Since dinner is usually early, it leaves plenty of time to stroll around the neighborhood or wander through a park. It can be a wonderful reminder to be thankful for our gorgeous fall Florida weather.

4. Stuffing Competition

Ok, so this one is a little eating-related, but it is one of my absolute favorites and lets me blame my parents for my stuffing addiction because apparently it is genetic. Ever since I was in high school and developed my own theories of what makes delicious stuffing (extra celery, onion, and sage thank you very much), we have held an annual stuffing competition. It started with just me and my parents, but now everyone wants to share their family’s classic recipe or a modern take they just read about on Pinterest or their absolute favorite version. Everyone votes, and a stuffing champion is declared. After my loss last year, I have been revamping my classic recipe and, personally, I am pretty sure the title is mine this year (watch your back, Mom).  Of course, this can be adapted to be the best side dish, best dessert, best seasonal cocktail, even worst dish if your family is the we-relentlessly-tease-you-because-we-love-you type.

It's on this year. Mom's Southern cornbread stuffing is going down (and I mean that in the most loving way possible).
It’s on this year. Mom’s Southern cornbread stuffing is going down (and I mean that in the most loving way possible).

Use these little traditions to build memories and guarantee the best Thanksgiving ever. Does your family have any traditions that make this day of thanks even cozier?


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