Thanksgiving is a time where we reflect on all of the good in our lives. Why not document it all in one place? Use it to review the last year and find all of the things your family is thankful for. Document all of your goals for the coming year and share your love and gratitude for one another. What better way to kick off the holiday season than by spending time reflecting on all of the wonderful things in your life?
A Forgotten Holiday with a Lot to Offer
It seems that in recent years, Thanksgiving has become a forgotten holiday. Between Halloween and Christmas, it’s easy for Thanksgiving to get lost in the shuffle. Families gather together for Christmas and Easter, but Thanksgiving is often overlooked. This is a shame because Thanksgiving is a great holiday with a lot to offer families. Let’s take a closer look at why Thanksgiving is worth celebrating.
Thanksgiving is a time to practice gratitude
In our fast-paced lives, it’s easy to forget all of the things we have to be grateful for. Thanksgiving is the perfect time to slow down and reflect on all of the good things in our lives. We can express our gratitude to our family and friends for their love and support, and we can also be thankful for all of the material blessings we enjoy. By taking some time to focus on gratitude, we can start the holiday season off on the right foot.
Thanksgiving is a time to look back on the past year
It’s been said that hindsight is 20/20. Looking back on the past year can help us see all of the ways we’ve grown and changed as individuals and as a family. We can reflect on the happy times and learn from the challenges we’ve faced. Taking some time to reflect on the past year can help us appreciate all that we’ve been through—the good and the bad.
Thanksgiving is a time to plan for the coming year
The end of one year and the beginning of another is always a good time to set goals for ourselves and our families. What do we want to accomplish in the coming year? What kind of changes do we want to make? By taking some time to think about our goals for the future, we can make sure that we’re heading in the right direction.
How to Make Thanksgiving Special
There are lots of ways to make Thanksgiving special. Starting Thanksgiving traditions when your children are young will help to create amazing memories for you and your kids that you can all cherish for years to come. Here are a few ideas to get you started.
- Cook together. Let the kids make part of Thanksgiving dinner, even if it’s something as simple as setting up a relish tray. Giving them a part to play in the preparation of such a special meal for their family will give them such a sense of accomplishment and bonding that they will remember it forever.
- Watch your favorite Thanksgiving movies or TV shows together. Even if it’s just watching the Macy’s parade or a football game, create the expectation that there is one thing that you will watch together every year on this day. It will be something they look forward to each year.
- Enjoy the autumn weather. Go for a walk or to the park or even just into the backyard for a game of frisbee or a snowball fight. Enjoy the cooler weather and the falling leaves, and take it all in together.
- Make it a distraction free day. Make a rule of no computers or electronics. Spend time together without social media getting in the way. Be together in real time as much as possible.
- Play games together. Break out the board games or a deck of cards. Sit around the table and play old school games together, face to face. Either pick one game that you will play each year, or make it a tradition that you take turns picking a game. Family bonding is so important.
- Relax. Sit and talk together. Put on some background music or tv on a low volume and chat together. Ask questions and listen to answers.
- Make a centerpiece together. Have everyone add a little flair to it before placing it on the table at dinner.
- Have everyone write down something they are grateful for, and place it in a jar. Then, after dinner, reach into the jar and read them out loud.
- Go around the table and let everyone say what they are thankful for this year.
- Have everyone say something they are thankful for about each person at the table.
- Have everyone tell their favorite Thanksgiving memory.
These are only a few things you can do as a family to creating meaningful moments together on the day. There are so many more ways to make Thanksgiving special.
Thanksgiving Family Gratitude Journal
One of the best ways to make Thanksgiving extra special is to use it as a way to look back on the previous year to get a sense of all of the things your family has achieved together. It’s also a great time to begin planning for the next year and all the things you hope to accomplish.
A great way to do both of these things is to write them down in a Family Gratitude Journal. This free printable journal is three pages, and it helps guide you to think of all the things you and your family can be thankful for. These can be big or small things, but reflecting on the positive things that have happened, will help you see the year with new eyes.
This printable Thanksgiving journal also helps you to set goals for the upcoming year, which is an opportunity to get everyone’s input on what kinds of things they want to do as a family over the next twelve months. It’s a wonderful way to acknowledge where everyone’s at and how they are feeling.
You can use this journal together, or you can print one copy for each member of the family to fill out and use.
This makes such a wonderful keepsake if you keep using it year after year, and ask your kids grow up, you can see the progression of their lives through their answers to the questions. Keep these in a three ring binder if you wish so you can look back through them and see how things have changed and what has stayed the same. You and your family may get a bit of a laugh over some of the things you thought were important years ago, or you may smile wistfully at what never came to be.
Just download your copy of the journal, print it out, and fill it out (separately or together). Look back on it through the year, and then make sure you take it out again NEXT Thanksgiving so you can see how things went.
Thanksgiving may be a forgotten holiday, but it has a lot to offer families. From practicing gratitude to reflecting on the past year to setting goals for the future, Thanksgiving is a holiday that has something for everyone. So this year, let’s give Thanksgiving the attention it deserves. Let’s gather together with our loved ones and give thanks for all that we have—it just might be exactly what we need.
Katie Reed is a passionate writer and mother of four vivacious boys from Salt Lake City, Utah. Drawing from her own journey through TTC, pregnancy, and the joys of raising children, she offers a wealth of insight into the world of motherhood. Beyond her heartfelt tales, Katie delights her readers with family-friendly recipes, engaging crafts, and a curated library of printables for both kids and adults. When she’s not penning her experiences, you’ll find her crafting memories with her husband and sons—Dexter, Daniel, Chester, and Wilder.