thanksgiving traditions

Thanksgiving traditions promote family, food, and gratitude.

This time last year, our family was split between two Texas cities; Houston and Austin. My husband started working in Austin while the children, my mother, and I stayed put. It was hard (and expensive) balancing two households during a pandemic while simultaneously jumping into Austin’s chaotic housing market.

Fast forward to this fall and there is an air of excitement! We are extremely grateful to be under one roof and our family is preparing to host this year’s Thanksgiving dinner!

Growing up, Thanksgiving was a time for celebrating with family and food. I remember gathering at my grandmother’s house in Beaumont, Texas with generations of aunts, uncles, and cousins around a table of delicious homemade southern cuisine. Sweet potatoes and macaroni are still my favorite holiday staples.

As we plan for this year’s Thanksgiving dinner, we want to intentionally create positive family memories with our children. Here are some activities that #teammays is considering that promote family, food, and gratitude this Thanksgiving.

the mays family


My primary love language is quality time and I look forward to the Thanksgiving break so that our family can take advantage of everyone being home with more free time to spend together.

One activity that is sure to keep the focus on family is creating a Family Tree Craft. Creating a family tree together will help spark your children’s interest in their family history and build their sense of identity by learning about the generations that came before them.

Another craft idea that can keep the kids engaged during Thanksgiving is to provide them with place mats that can be decorated with a festive theme. This not only helps to keep kids busy while waiting on the dinner rolls to get ready, but it can also spark a conversation about what they created and why. Thanksgiving kid crafts like this and toilet paper roll turkeys can also double as decorations.

If crafting does not interest you or your family then plan focused family time and do things together like taking a walk after dinner. This promotes family health, wellness, and device free time for the kids. Thanksgiving movie marathons or game nights are also fun.

thanksgiving bingo

Download a free Thanksgiving bingo card here.


Enjoying food together is necessary during Thanksgiving whether you eat a traditional turkey dinner or opt for something more unconventional like vegetarian lasagna. One new tradition that I want to indulge in is having desert for breakfast Thanksgiving morning. Since we are often too full to enjoy a healthy round of peach cobbler or my husband’s famous pecan pie after Thanksgiving dinner, having desert with a warm cup of coffee seems like a fantastic idea. I am sure the kids will agree.

Other ways to enjoy food together is by enlisting the kids’ help with cooking. Check out these fun Thanksgiving recipes that kids will enjoy creating or let them help whip up a tried-and-true family staple.


Thanksgiving is about being thankful. Help you kids show thanks with activities that are fun, festive, and focused gratitude.

There are several ways that families can volunteer here in central Texas. Sign your family up to run a turkey trot, serve food to the homeless, or donate to a holiday charity drive.

One of the easiest ways to show thanks is by saying grace or having meditation before the meal. You could even do a round robin prayer and include the kids.

There are also fun gratitude table topics and games like grateful from A to Z that can be played during dinner. Each person says with they are grateful for using a letter of the alphabet. The first person starts with A. The second person starts with B and so on.

My favorite activity is having each guest write thank-yous to members of the family in attendance. Provide each guest with fall-colored sheets of paper and something to write with. Have them place their thank-yous in a clear decorative glass that can double as a centerpiece and read them aloud during dinner.

I am looking forward to celebrating Thanksgiving this year and incorporating new family traditions. Feel free to share your ideas and traditions for celebrating Thanksgiving with family, food, and a heavy side of gratitude.



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