Someone told me a while ago: “You don’t marry a person, you marry a family.” I couldn’t agree more. I married into a terrific family. Family get-togethers are always God-honoring and fun. It is not unusual to have 30 to 50 enjoy a Thanksgiving together. Coming from over a half dozen states- coordinating the family feast is made easier with Facebook, texting, and emails.

What are some family traditions that are enjoyed by many?

  • Many local churches have a special Thanksgiving meeting on Wednesday night or early Thursday morning. A “Pie and Praise” service on Wednesday features Scripture reading related to giving thanks, a time for the congregation to stand and give thanks to God, and then a time of sampling the many delicious pies that the families brought in.
  • Local high school football games provide a community tradition by renewing friendly rivalries and reminiscences. James Alder, a sports writer said, “Thanksgiving is a holiday that is steeped in tradition. After all, it just wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without the turkey and dressing and the pumpkin pie with whipped cream. And, of course, it just would not be Thanksgiving without NFL Football.”
  • Large families might meet in a church dining area with a covered dish feast.
  • Go around the table and have each one mention something for which they are thankful.
  • Some families go out to a restaurant to save Mom and others from tangling with a turkey.
  • Decorations. Having the children design place setting decorations.
  • Family group pictures. They are fun to take and more fun to look at from year to year. A simple Power Point slide show would be a wonderful way to spend time with the family as they wait for dinner to “settle” and the pies to be parceled. Photo booths are currently very popular. An added Thanksgiving theme to the photo booth will bring out the turkey in all of us.
  • Donate food and/or time to a local shelter. It puts the giving in Thanksgiving.
  • Group games like Pictionary or charades. Touch football, wiffle ball, or volleyball can help burn a few of the calories consumed. It might take a very long game of football to cancel all of the carbs that were enjoyed.
  • If the family is really large it might be a good time to exchange names for a future Christmas gift exchange.

Some families like parades. Major cities host huge affairs with helium filled characters. You can travel to the parade or enjoy it on TV.

  • Decorate a tablecloth that will be used from year to year. You could add family member names and birthdates. Children can color the cloth with indelible markers.
  • Your family heritage might bring a cultural distinctive to your Thanksgiving celebration. The classic Thanksgiving might be thought of as American but other cultural nuances can be added.

Whether it is German, Mexican, Nigerian, Italian or dozens of other cultures, the family can also be thankful for the rich heritage they enjoy.