Five New Traditions for your Best Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is right around the corner, and as you prepare your grocery shopping lists or make your travel plans, we want you to think about how you can add some fun twists to the holiday. The past eighteen months have been tough on all of us. Now more than ever it’s so important to express gratitude and appreciate our loved ones. These five ideas will help you have a special turkey day you’ll never forget.

Place cards

Even if you know the names of all your guests at the Thanksgiving table, it’s still fun to use place cards. They dress up your tablescape by making it feel a little more formal and traditional. You can challenge yourself to design them on Canva or Paint and print them out, or you can break out the markers and construction paper to make them by hand. If you’re looking for a fun activity for you and your guests, you could all decorate your own place cards.

Give back

It’s easy to get caught up in our own Thanksgiving plans and forget to consider people in need. There are families in our communities facing food insecurity and poverty, making the holiday season particularly hard for them. As you do your Thanksgiving shopping, pick up some canned and boxed goods to donate to your local food bank or shelter. We recommend checking with the food bank/shelter to see if there are particular foods they need. Personal care items like toothbrushes, toothpaste, soap, and women’s sanitary products are always in need too.

I’m thankful for…

Three women standing around a table snacking and drinking wineGoing around the Thanksgiving table and saying what you’re thankful for is hardly a unique holiday tradition. However, this year you can turn this annual ritual into a fun game. Give everyone a slip of paper and have them write down what they’re thankful for this year. Don’t write your name! The goal is for each one to be anonymous. Fold all of the papers and put them in a small bowl. Have everyone draw a paper and take turns guessing who wrote each one. Whoever guesses the most correctly gets to serve themselves dessert first.

Sides cook-off

A little competition makes holidays all the more fun, right? This cook-off is pretty self-explanatory. Everyone makes a side dish to bring to Thanksgiving dinner. At the end of the meal, everyone votes for their favorite. Make sure your group lets each other know who’s making what so that there aren’t any doubles and you get a good variety of sides!


Who says you have to wait for the new year to set resolutions? New Year’s resolutions are usually about bettering ourselves – eating healthier, joining a gym, saving more, etc. Thanksgiving resolutions can be centered more on gratitude, friends/family, and giving back. Some ideas are writing in a gratitude journal, volunteering or donating to a good cause, and setting goals to spend more time with your loved ones. Taking time to give thanks for all the great things in your life doesn’t have to happen once a year. Many of us are so busy that we forget to take a moment to acknowledge and appreciate what we have. Setting Thanksgiving goals can help keep you accountable to do these things more regularly. And, if you spend the holiday with the same group each year, you can check in with each other next year to see how well you followed your resolutions.

These five ideas are easy to incorporate into your Thanksgiving celebration but they add meaning to what’s already a special day. Changing up holiday traditions is a fun way to make life exciting – especially during a time where many of us are spending more time at home and not doing all of the social things we did pre-pandemic. Enjoy and have a happy turkey day!