Thanksgiving Traditions : 20 Fun Things to do to Celebrate

Dated: November 24 2021

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Try any of the Thanksgiving traditions on this list of Turkey Day celebration ideas with your family and friends.

This list of thanksgiving traditions and celebration ideas contains everything that you need to make Thanksgiving meaningful. Below you can find a list of traditional Thanksgiving menu items. Thanksgiving games, fall harvest decorations, gratitude crafts, and more to start in 2021!

Please remember that this is a can-do list of Thanksgiving traditions for families, not a must-do list. Pick a new Thanksgiving tradition or two to try with your family and friends this year. If it’s not fun, don’t do it!

This fun article about traditional thanksgiving celebration ideas also includes a brief history of all things Thanksgiving. Are you wondering when Thanksgiving is this year or looking for fun things to do on Thanksgiving day? Scroll down to have all of your questions answered! You may also enjoy this list of Christmas Traditions.

fun things to do on Thanksgiving - Thanksgiving traditions and celebration ideas

THANKSGIVING TRADITION FAQS

Before sharing our list of unique and classic family Thanksgiving traditions and celebration ideas, we thought we would answer a few FAQs (frequently asked questions) about Thanksgiving (also known as Turkey Day) and when Thanksgiving occurs in the United States and Canada.

WHAT IS THANKSGIVING?

Thanksgiving is a holiday in the United States and Canada to give thanks for a bountiful harvest and is also called “Turkey Day” because the traditional Thanksgiving menu features turkey as the main dish.

It has become common in modern days to give thanks not only for the bounty that we have received at harvest and the food on our table but to be grateful for all of the gifts that we have been given throughout the entire year.

WHY IS THANKSGIVING A TRADITION?

Several mistruths surround the story of Thanksgiving and why we celebrate it. Most of us have heard that the first American Thanksgiving meal was a three-day feast celebrated by the Pilgrims and the American Indians after their first harvest in the new world in October of 1621.

Unfortunately, this story is not entirely true. It is a “story” told to the American people to whitewash the history of the brutalities committed against the indigenous peoples that inhabited these lands long before us.

It is true that Pilgrims had trouble growing food and suffered from terrible famines and numerous diseases–and many of the first American settlers died as a result. And the Wampanoag Indians indeed showed the pilgrims how to grow crops such as corn to make it possible for the early settlers to harvest food.

The lies begin when “the story” shares that the Pilgrims had a Thanksgiving feast to thank the Native Americans for their help. As it turns out, this “story” is NOT true. Author James Barker dispels many myths surrounding the holiday known as Thanksgiving and outlines its actual history in “Thanksgiving: The Biography of an American Holiday.”

In this, the first in-depth study of the most American of holidays, James Baker sweeps away lingering myths and misconceptions to show how this celebration day was born and grew to be an essential part of our national spirit.

(source)

A few of the “stories” that we are told about “Thanksgiving” may be lies, but that does not mean we should not honor it as a time to “give thanks.” Instead, we can choose to leave the harmful “stories” behind and create new ones. Today we can create stories of connection, diversity, and thankfulness and keep celebrating Thanksgiving for what it should be–a time to be grateful. Make a fresh start with any of the Thanksgiving tradition ideas listed below the remaining FAQs.

WHAT ARE THANKSGIVING TRADITIONS?

Thanksgiving Traditions consist of how Thanksgiving is celebrated from household to household. Thus, Thanksgiving traditions are the rituals, routines, and holiday rhythms shared with family and friends on or around Thanksgiving.

The most classic Thanksgiving tradition is cooking a turkey dinner with all the fixings (or vegetarian alternative) to share with family, friends, and neighbors. This is the reason that Thanksgiving is also called “Turkey Day.”

Below, we have curated a list of classic Thanksgiving celebration ideas and unique traditions you can try with your family this year. Like the ideas listed below, meaningful Thanksgiving family traditions can help make the holidays a special time of year for all family members.

Thanksgiving traditions "Time spend with family is time well spent." quote meme pin

WHEN IS THANKSGIVING CELEBRATED?

Thanksgiving falls after the fall harvest in both Canada and the US. In Canada, Thanksgiving is celebrated on the second Monday in October, while Thanksgiving happens on the fourth Thursday in November in the United States.

My family has enjoyed the “blessings of an abundant harvest,” and Thanksgiving traditions with family and friends in both places–and quite a few of us are dual citizens. As a result, we have an even greater appreciation of how much we have to be grateful for.

HOW IS THANKSGIVING CELEBRATED?

Thanksgiving is celebrated in both the United States and Canada to remind ourselves to give thanks for the bounty we are given at harvest and throughout the year.

In other words, Thanksgiving is celebrated as a day to give thanks for what we have. We give thanks for the food on our table–and we give thanks for all of the blessings in our lives.

Traditionally, we celebrate Thanksgiving with a big meal shared between family and friends. A traditional Thanksgiving dinner most often includes the type of foods served at the first Thanksgiving; turkey, stuffing, potatoes, cranberry sauce, gravy, and seasonal vegetable side dishes such as corn or green beans.

If you are wondering about the differences between Canadian and American Thanksgiving, pop over to read THIS fun article.

WHAT DAY IS THANKSGIVING OR TURKEY DAY?

In the United States, Thanksgiving is traditionally celebrated on the fourth Thursday in November, while Thanksgiving is usually celebrated on the second Monday in October in Canada.

WHAT DAY IS THANKSGIVING THIS YEAR?

This year, Canadians celebrate Thanksgiving on Monday, October 11, 2021, while Americans will celebrate Thanksgiving on Thursday, November 25, 2021, in the United States.

Thanksgiving thankful tree with quote "Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings..."

20 THANKSGIVING TRADITIONS TO START WITH YOUR FAMILY

Use this collection of Thanksgiving Tradition ideas to help you and your family create meaning in your lives and memories that will last a lifetime. As mentioned above, Thanksgiving is traditionally celebrated to give thanks for a bountiful harvest, to give thanks for the bounty that we are given at harvest–and the bounty that we continue to receive throughout the year.

Many of these traditional ideas are fun things to do on Thanksgiving. Other Thanksgiving traditions are activities to do before your Thanksgiving celebration or the day after Thanksgiving. You may have already heard of some of these Thanksgiving traditions for families, but we are hoping that you can find something new and exciting to add to your Thanksgiving celebrations!

1. Host or attend a thanksgiving meal

2. Plan a destination vacation and make it a thanksgiving tradition

3. Make a thankful tree for thanksgiving

4. Decorate your home for thanksgiving or harvest with fall decor

5. Make an embroidered thansgiving tablecloth

6. Attend a harvest celebration or fair

7. Read children's thanksgiving books and books about the fall with the kids

8. Attend or watch a thanksgiving day parade

9. Serve others in need

10. Visit local farm

11. Enter a thanksgiving turkey trot or thanksgiving race

12. Give thanks around the table during your thanksgiving meal

13. Express your gratitude with thanksgiving gratitude activities and crafts

14. Go for a walk after thanksgiving meal

15. Play thanksgiving games

16. Make Thanksgiving crafts with the kids

17. Watch a thanksgiving movie

18. Make a wish on the turkey wishbone

19. Watch or play football

10. Go to thanksgiving services.

Source: Rhythms of Play

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Tanya O'Neil

Tanya is a long-time resident of Texas who is passionate about real estate and proud to be the team lead of the Estancia Group. She is a hard worker who believes integrity, professionalism and savvy n....

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