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  • Writer's pictureJodi Jill

Thanksgiving Traditions: 6 Ideas to Try This Year

Updated: Sep 5, 2023

Are you looking for new Thanksgiving traditions this year?

With the holiday season coming up fast, you might be feeling a little bit of pressure to come up with new ways to make these special days feel unique and memorable for your family. After all, it’s easy to get stuck in a rut when so many traditions revolve around the same few activities year after year. Add all the world health issues, and yeah, it's been tough to introduce something new!

New Thanksgiving Traditions to try this year
New Thanksgiving Traditions

Thanksgiving Traditions: Your Family Will Thank You

But don’t worry—there are plenty of ideas out there, you just have to dig a little bit deeper than you might be used to when thinking about how best to bring some new life into your home and family this season.

If you need inspiration and ideas on how to find new meaning in the holidays, look no further than these amazing tips on how to build new traditions as well as old classics that will make this the most memorable Thanksgiving feast yet!

I've come up with five Thanksgiving traditions you should try. Whether you do all five, pick one or come up with your own traditions, the idea is to bring your friends and family closer together during this special time of year!

1. Have one different side dish this year

If you’re looking for a way to bring a new tradition to the dinner table every year, why not try having a different side dish this year? You know a dish that might be of a different cuisine that would enlighten people in a whole new way!

That way, even the dishes you always have will feel new and exciting every time. You might want to think about how many people you plan to have over as well, to make sure you have enough to feed everyone.

While traditional Thanksgiving side dishes are great and tasty, there are tons of other options out there that your family will enjoy trying. My favorite was last year when I bought stuffed grape leaves from the local market. The kids loved them!

Turkey head looking around
A turkey Enjoying the day

2. Have a Turkey Scavenger Hunt

If you have kids, you might be looking for ways to get them involved in the celebration while also keeping them (and everyone else in the house) occupied while you’re finishing up dinner. A Turkey Scavenger Hunt is a great way to get everyone engaged and having fun while also getting kids to think about what Thanksgiving is all about.

First, you’ll need to create a list of items that kids can find throughout the house that relate to the holiday, like a feather for example. You can also include things that your kids can do to help out.

Then, you can send kids out on their hunt and let them come back whenever they’ve completed their task. This is a great activity to do with a large group of kids and can be easily modified depending on the ages of those participating. Even the adults will love this Thanksgiving tradition.

3. Make a Thanksgiving Movie Night

Kids love to cuddle up on the couch on cold fall and winter nights, so why not make a new tradition out of a regular family activity? Make a Thanksgiving Movie Night a yearly event, and have your family vote on what they want to watch. This way, you can make sure that everyone gets to decide what they want to see.

As an added bonus, it’ll also help to quiet down younger kids who may still be awake while you’re finishing up dinner. We typically have holiday movie nights for Halloween and Christmas, but there are plenty of Thanksgiving themed movies too. In fact, if you're feeling like the pressure of finding a thanksgiving movie is too much, then just enjoy a movie the whole family can watch! it's all about spending time together after all!

4. Play a Thanksgiving Game (in the Backyard)

If you’re looking for a new way to get the family interacting, try playing a Thanksgiving Scavenger Hunt in the backyard. Different than in the house and definitely not on Thanksgiving, your family will enjoy the chance to find things about Thanksgiving.

This is a great way to get kids and teens to interact with each other and with the adults in the house while also (hopefully) getting everyone to think a little bit more about Thanksgiving and the traditions surrounding the holiday.

To create your list, try to think of things that would be easy to find outside and that relate to the holiday. For example, you could plant some potatoes in a pot in the backyard and have kids find where they’ve sprouted. This is a great way to get everyone engaged, and it also gives you some time to relax while the kids are out in the backyard having fun.

5. Celebrate with a Thankful List

If you’re looking for a way to get your family talking about what they’re thankful for, try making a list of things that your family members are thankful for and posting it up on the fridge or somewhere else where everyone can see it.

This is a great way to get everyone in the house thinking about things that they normally might not have paid much attention to before. You can also do this with kids, either by having them write in a journal or by creating a thankfulness board where they can post pictures and words of gratitude that they’re feeling. This can be a great thing for kids to do up to Thanksgiving and then at your Thanksgiving table they could share why these items are so important to them.

6. Take a Plate to a Stranger after Thanksgiving Dinner

Finally, if you’re looking for a new tradition that can help to enrich your family and make you more grateful for everything that you have, you might want to consider taking a plate of food to a stranger after your Thanksgiving dinner.

This is a wonderful way to show your appreciation to those who may not be able to have a Thanksgiving meal of their own. You can find places to donate your food online, or call your local churches to see if they can offer suggestions. Use this as a chance to get your kids involved, and let them know how important this is. Some families feel going to a soup kitchen or food pantry one day of the year sends a mixed message, but dropping off a plate of food to an individual is quite empowering. Gratitude starts with giving and they will understand how easy it is to make someone’s day just a little bit better.

Child wearing pilgrim hat


Thanksgiving is a special time of year that brings families together to celebrate and appreciate each other and all they have accomplished throughout the year. The food, the decorations, and even the family traditions all come together to create a warm, friendly environment.

With a little bit of creativity, you can make this year’s Thanksgiving tradition moments even more special than last year’s. From hosting guests to planning the perfect menu, there are many ways you can improve your celebration. With these tips, you can make this Thanksgiving the most memorable one yet for you and your loved ones.


Jodi Jill

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