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10 Ways to Give Thanks with Your Family

thanksgiving sign

One of the greatest challenges about this wonderful holiday is not preparing an incredible meal, consuming an excessive amount of turkey or pie, or even trying not to groan after the fourth plate of food. The real challenge lies in both expressing and living with gratitude every day of the year.

And yet, perhaps the real test and challenge is not even in uttering words or having thoughts of gratitude - it is living and making evident that gratitude through our actions ... by helping others.

Below are listed 10 fun and meaningful Thanksgiving traditions and activity ideas for families:

1) Significance of the Holiday: Take a few minutes and remember what and why you are celebrating. Review the story and history of the holiday, and ensure it is a day that is much more than turkey, football, and pie!

2) Gratitude Table Cloth: Every year, pull out the same table cloth to use for the meal. Have everyone around the table write three things they are grateful for on the table cloth.

3) Give to the Homeless: Visit your local homeless shelter and serve a meal to people in need. Or, organize a local fund raiser at a local church, school, or community center. Collect food, financial donations, clothes, toys, books, etc., and give them as Thanksgiving gifts to local families in need.

4) Kick off the Christmas Season: As a family, set aside the night after Thanksgiving as the time to decorate the house in preparation for Christmas. Make it a family event. Put up the tree, decorate the house, turn on the Christmas music, play games!

5) Thanksgiving for a Family in Need: Have each child donate a little money (and/or their time) and help give Thanksgiving to a family in need. Contact the local homeless shelter, churches, schools, and find a family to help.

6) Express Gratitude: Before the meal starts, have each person express 3 things that they are grateful for.

7) "Thank You" Cards: Have everyone in the family take a few minutes to write thank you cards to people they are thankful for. It could be parents, friends, neighbors, teachers, relatives, etc.

8) Name Cards: Place a name card at every spot for the Thanksgiving meal. The outside will have the name of the person, and the inside is a small note of gratitude. Tell each child or guest why the are appreciated.

9) Yearly Family Thanksgiving Cards: Everyone sends their yearly family updates at Christmas ... so be a little different and send yours at Thanksgiving! Express your love, gratitude, and appreciation personally in your cards.

10) Family Day: Simply make this special holiday a family day. Eat the meal together, play games as a family, watch a movie, camp out in the family room, and spend time together.