Most holidays throughout the year are immersed in commercialism. Thanksgiving is the one holiday where food and family take center stage. The modern-age turmoil of our times magnifies the importance of being together. The traditions of this holiday that are deeply comforting and meaningful. Gathering around the table for a Thanksgiving celebration with friends and family is an annual ritual for most Americans. A table is a place of remembrance where we become aware of who we are as a family and ourselves. It is a place where the family gathers through time, a symbol of solidarity, and a creator of memories. It’s a hotbed of associations that at the end of the day shape the people we become. The new traditions you start with your loved ones could end up being as anticipated as pumpkin pie, and span generations to come!
New Table Traditions
Some of Thanksgiving’s time-honored traditions have been ingrained into our families for generations. However, there’s no reason they can’t have a more modern spin that represents and fits your family better. Here are a variety of traditions with a modern spin to help you and yours build a memorable celebration of thanks around your feast.
Craft a runner or tablecloth:
This is a great way to keep little ones busy and make a keep’s sake to cherish for years to come. Put a plastic cloth on the table followed by a white tablecloth over the Thanksgiving table with a jar of fabric markers and encourage your guest to draw a picture or write what they are grateful for. You and yours can continue adding to it every year.
Thanksgiving breakfast (early buffet at the table):
Who says the dining room table is just for Thanksgiving dinner? Start celebrating from the get-go by breaking out the mimosas and coffee! You don’t have to toil over something massive, just turn your table into a casual buffet with croissants or bagels, some fruit, and simple ready-made sides, like yogurt. This is especially nice if your family prefers to eat dinner on the later side, or if you had guests arrive late in from out of town the night before, who may need a pick me up.
Kids setting the table:
A great way to make little ones get involved in the festivities is by having them set the table. They’ll learn a new skill of setting a formal holiday table while feeling accomplished and appreciated for their contribution. Just make sure someone monitors them with the fragile heirlooms!
Create your own centerpiece or cornucopia:
Rather than the usual generic autumn decorations, place an empty cornucopia or basket on the Thanksgiving table. Have your guest bring an object that is meaningful to them, then gather around the table to fill it together. The centerpiece or cornucopia will be a significant reminder of what matters to your loved ones and represent your Thanksgiving table guests.
Thanksgiving is all about togetherness, and the traditions we share are the ties that bind us through the generations. People are communal by nature. Sitting down at a table during Thanksgiving is a great way to converse and bond with those we desire to remain connected to. Thanksgiving gatherings held at the table help us understand our loved ones, and their values.
Basket of thanks:
Give everyone a piece of paper and pencil, ask them to write down one thing they’re grateful for, and have them put their slip into the basket. Then pass the basket around the table, and have each person read another person’s paper, and try to guess who it belongs to.
Memento of Thanksgiving’s past:
Get a journal and ask your table guest at the end of the celebration to write down their favorite part of the year’s festivities. The next year, get the old journal out and give people a chance to look back at the Thanksgiving time capsule. Just remember to keep the journal going, so the tradition and fun of looking back at how much your family has grown and changed continues.
Have everyone take a turn while joining hands to verbally state what they are thankful for. Sometimes just hearing what your loved one is grateful for and what’s important to them can bring you closer together.
Wishbone name draw:
Pass a hat around the table after dinner with your place cards inside, then draw out a name to see who will break the wishbone. To add a fun twist, the winner can also grab dessert first! Just don’t forget to make a wish if you win…
Pass down a family recipe or create a new recipe:
Thanksgiving Day is the perfect time to gather around the table, dust off inherited family cookbooks and recipe cards, and make a dish that hasn’t seen the light of day for quite some time. You don’t have to settle for the same recipes made every year, even if everyone loves grandma’s famous apple pie! You can perhaps pick a recipe of grandma’s no one’s ever had the pleasure of trying before. If you don’t have a family with a culinary past, don’t fret. This is a perfect opportunity for you can try a new making recipe you’ve been wanting to try. Who knows, it may become a hit for your future Thanksgivings, and be passed down.
Teach something at the table:
We all have our own attributes. The Thanksgiving table is the perfect place and time to showcase our talents or share some info with our loved ones. After cleaning up, take five-minute turns going around the table teaching one another something. It can be something as simple as a card trick, or helpful hints on getting cheap flights. The point is to keep the conversations going, learn about each other, and most importantly, have fun!
This day is permanently embedded into our nation’s story. However, Thanksgiving has transformed from its origins of pure historical significance. It now revolves around the desire to bond with loved ones around the table. Engaging in customs older than our own families has itself become an American tradition. The table is at the heart of all the memorable feasting, grateful appreciation, recreation, and nostalgia for simpler times. The table’s traditions still give us a chance to disengage from the distractions of everyday life. They provide us with the ability to connect with our loved ones in a genuine way.
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