MEMORIES & TRADITIONS
It’s a time to reflect on the past year and establish goals for the future. Friends and family members that you haven’t seen for a while come together, children traveling during college break or visiting relatives that live across the pond.
Adding a few activities to family traditions make the day memorable.
• On a card each family member writes five reasons they are thankful and read their proclamations at the dinner table.
• Create a tree out of construction paper. Cut out decorate leaves. Have each guest write one reason they are thankful from the past year. After reading their note, each person tapes their leaf to the tree.
• This year, cover your table with paper table cloth or white linen. Leave a fabric marker at each setting. Guests should write their favorite Thanksgiving memory on the cloth. Reuse in the upcoming years!
• Create a pile of index cards with questions that guests must randomly select. Questions can include: What is the best way to cheer you up when you’re down?
• What is the one thing you’ve done in your life that you are proudest of?
• What was the best day of your life so far?
• If children are attending, perhaps they can help prepare a simple meal, set the table, or create and decorate menus. Consider games outside (weather permitting) or allowing a child to accompany any adults on additional errands during the day.
If a couple is married, Thanksgiving maybe the one time of year they host their in-laws. Depending on the existing relationship, some view in-laws as out-laws. If work still needs to be done on building a positive connection with your extended family, consider the below tips to get through the day without any negative incidents.
• Utilize place cards to arrange seating. Another person can act as a buffer if there are any tense conversations. Every person has at least one favorite family member or friend. Try to have a mixed guest list to reduce the chances of any undesirable antics.
• Ask your spouse if their parents have any favorite dishes, desserts or beverages that should be a part of the meal.
• Consider the audience. Is it best to eliminate alcohol from the festivities? If so, serve fun nonalcoholic beverages or mocktails, however, make sure guests are informed ahead of time that alcohol will not be served.
Certain foods are associated with Thanksgiving, but family recipes often make the celebration special. A grandmother’s secret recipe made with love adds to favorite desserts such as pumpkin, pecan, sweet potato, and apple pie.
• If any guests are vegetarians, consider preparing turkey made out of tofu or have squash, salads, fruit and vegetable dishes available.
• Perhaps your family includes breaking the turkey's wishbone as part of the celebration! Make sure the meat has been removed and the wishbone has had a chance to become dry and brittle, before two people each pull an end of the bone and make a wish.
A lot of work is involved for individuals hosting thanksgiving; however, avoiding travel is a major perk to preparing dinner. Thanksgiving is one of the most hectic travel days of the year. Many people live far from family members and travel long distances to see their loved ones.
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