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How Best to Give Thanks this Thanksgiving …
Create Long-Lasting Loving Memories and Traditions


It was 1621 when the colonists and native Americans shared their first autumn feast together -- an event that marks what is traditionally considered to be the first Thanksgiving. Colonies and states continued to celebrate Thanksgiving on various days for another 200 years -- until 1863. That is when then president Abraham Lincoln declared a national Thanksgiving holiday to be held on the final Thursday in November each year.


Thanksgiving is a holiday for sharing time with your family and giving thanks for all the joys in your life. This year, start a new family tradition of joining hands as you each share what you’re most grateful for.

You probably have your own set of Thanksgiving traditions that your family shares each year, but there’s always room for more. Establishing meaningful and memorable family traditions helps bring joy, unification and love to your family, plus helps you create memories that will last a lifetime.  

This year, try some of these tips for creating a memorable and loving holiday that is in the true spirit of Thanksgiving.

Tips for Showing Your Thanks on Thanksgiving

The following traditions can help bring joy and a family focus to your Thanksgiving holiday.

For Hosts …

  • Over 38 million Americans traveled 50 miles or more over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend in 2009. If you’ll be having out-of-town guests, welcome them into your home with a bite to eat, a glass of wine or warm apple cider and a big hug!

  • Set your table thoughtfully, including special touches of the season to add warmth and ambiance. Gourds, small pumpkins, fall leaves, acorns and other autumn elements will set the mood and bring in a touch of the outdoors.

Looking to Start Your Own Thanksgiving Recipe Traditions?

Thanksgiving is made even more special by passing down holiday recipes through the generations. If you don’t have your own recipes, start your own traditions with the delicious and healthy recipes in:

  • If you’ll be having a large gathering, think about where you’d like guests to sit. You may want to use place cards at the table so you can seat people accordingly, either in a way that encourages mingling and conversation or to keep couples and families together.

  • Be aware of your guests’ dining preferences. If you’ll be having a vegetarian dinner guest or two, be sure to prepare some non-meat options like the stuffed mushrooms and broccoli in cheese sauce in Alive in 5: Raw Gourmet Meals in 5 Minutes. This recipe book is filled with healthy, raw food recipes that are suitable for a feast, and will please vegetarians, raw foodists, and meat eaters alike.

  • If you have guests with gluten sensitivities, they’ll appreciate your efforts to provide a gluten-free dessert. Try the Ginger Pear Flan, Chocolate and Hazelnut Gratin or Chestnut Brownies in Gluten-Free French Desserts and Baked Goods -- they’re always crowd pleasers, and are entirely gluten-free.

  • Consider leaving guests with a keepsake from the day, such as a collection of recipes you served or a group photo.

For Guests …

  • Bring a dish to share. Hosts will appreciate your thoughtfulness in sharing one of your favorite Thanksgiving dishes. Be sure to ask the host ahead of time what type of dish (appetizer, side dish, dessert, etc.) to bring.

  • Surprise the host with a special gift. A framed photo of a loved one who could not attend is a thoughtful sentiment, or try a practical gift like the MiniMate Refrigerator Unit, which will keep the host’s leftovers fresh longer throughout the year.

For Everyone …

  • Consider spending the day volunteering to help those in need, such as providing holiday meals to the homeless.

  • Take time to think about, or better yet write down, all the things you are thankful for in your life. Be sure to share at least a portion of this list with your friends and loved ones.
  • Think about starting a Thanksgiving Eve or Morning tradition. If your family will be together the night before, create a special meal (something simple, like a big pot of homemade soup) that you enjoy together in the advent of the holiday. You can do this with Thanksgiving morning too by creating a traditional breakfast you all share together.
  • Think about friends, neighbors or acquaintances who might be alone for the holiday. Invite them to share in the festivities with your family.
  • Come up with a way to celebrate with loved ones who could not attend, for instance making a joint family phone call and toasting together.
  • Remember those who have passed by saying a few words in remembrance and toasting to their many happy memories.
  • Remember that Thanksgiving isn’t over after the meal is served. Whether you spend the rest of the day watching football, playing board games or catching up on each other’s lives, enjoy every minute the day has to offer.
  • Enjoy the day after Thanksgiving, too. Many people have the day after Thanksgiving off, so instead of heading out to the malls, stay home and watch movies, cuddle on the couch, play football as a family or go for a hike in a forest preserve -- anything that you enjoy doing together with your family. Whatever you choose, make it a set event, one that you can look forward to each and every year.

Remember, traditions are so much more than events that take place only on holidays. They act as a source of stability upon which your family can depend on and look forward to year after year. They offer you and your kids a sense of identity as a family and help bridge the gap between old and new generations, as well as provide a way to remember those who have passed.

Traditions needn’t be extravagant or time consuming, and some of the best are completely free of charge. This year take some time to reflect on your favorite Thanksgiving traditions, and perhaps adopt a new one or two, to make your holiday the most memorable one yet.

SixWise Ways!
SixWise Says ...

Nearly 88 percent of Americans say they eat turkey on Thanksgiving, according to the National Turkey Federation. The average turkey weight purchased for the holiday is 15 pounds.

Recommended Reading

Becoming Thankful This Thanksgiving

What are You Thankful for This Thanksgiving?

Have You Heard "The Thanksgiving Song"?

Sources Thanksgiving Thanksgiving Facts

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