Thanksgiving is coming around once again. Many people may be looking for new ideas on how to give thanks on Thanksgiving. I think it’s time to spruce up the standard matters that we often give thanks for, but do so in a way that helps us recognise the value our planet brings to the table, if you’ll pardon the pun.
We can easily choose to be more resourceful and caring in what we do and use on Thanksgiving. We can learn what changes to make or alternatives to use when we are in the act of giving thanks. We can opt to do across every aspect of the day, from the decorations, the feast, the traditions, what activities we partake in, and even how we can perform random acts of kindness or volunteering of our time.
I have already touched upon what to give thanks for on Thanksgiving in a previous article, this post follows on and brings it all together to give you the best Thanksgiving ideas in through the entertainment, the celebrations and in keeping with your ideals.
New Thanksgiving Traditions To Embrace
Let’s Begin With How We Can Give Our Usual Traditions A Fresh New Approach With Some Of These Ideas.
Start a new tradition by painting pebbles and writing the things you are thankful for each year. Each year, add more and use them to line your footpaths or surround rockeries or gardens. You might even like to stick them to the sides of plant pots or decorative walls to serve as a reminder each year of the things you have been grateful for in each particular year. Have each member of the family participate in this tradition.
- Decorate a mason jar with some simple raffia and Autumn leaves, place some ice cream sticks and a pen on the table, and get everyone to write down on the sticks what they are grateful for and place them in the jar. They could be read out as part of your prayer or discussion about what you are giving thanks for this year.
- Gratitude jars have become quite popular. It was originally something that was suggested for a person to start for themselves about feeling gratitude and learning to look for the joy in everyday life. The idea is to write down on note paper what you are grateful for at the time of an event. Each year on New Year’s Eve, the person would open the jar and read all of the positive messages they had written to themselves throughout the year and reflect on the good things in life. You could extend this to create a family gratitude jar and instead of New Year, read them out at Thanksgiving, for all the family to see what their blessings truly are. If you are not inclined to make the jar, why not start a gratitude journal?
- If you’d prefer something a little more decorative than a Grateful Jar, you could create a Thankful Tree. This is so simple, all you need is a glass jar or vase with a bit of ribbon or raffia around the top for effect. Then collect some thin branches of similar but varied diameters and lengths with plenty of little twigs jutting out from them. An ideal diameter for the twigs would be slightly smaller than the hole made from a hole punch. Place them in the jar in a bunch, like you would flowers. Tie them together if needed. Buy or make some paper tags or card, you might try using some scrapbooking tags or labels. You could even use scraps of material and a special pen that can write on fabric. Punch a hole in the top of each with a hole punch and leave them with a pen or marker of some kind next to them.Every time something good happens, or there is something to be thankful for, write it down on the card and place it over one of the twigs to keep for Thanksgiving. It would double as a lovely table decoration too, or take pride of place on a mantle in the lounge or even in the hallway entrance. You may wish to do a new one each year, or add to it each year. It’s your tradition, so it’s your decision.
I saw a whole tree dedicated to people putting their wishes on to it at a gardens I visited a while back, which leaves you with another idea of how to express your thankfulness. Use a tree in your own garden and created a proper ‘Thankful Tree’. Gather around it for your prayer, offerings of Thanks, your family games, anything really.
- Take the time to thank a different person each day for being a part of your life. Maybe even do it for the whole month of November leading up to Thanksgiving. Verbal, written, creatively presented, however you decide to show your thanks to the person, it all counts, it all brings joy to them.
- Pressed for time? Give each of your guests little hand notes and a pen so that they can write down what they are thankful for this year while enjoying their thanksgiving feast.
- Create a family tradition where each person writes a thank you note for their other family members everyday of November until Thanksgiving, telling them one thing each day why they are grateful for them.
- Everyone has heard of “Warm Fuzzies” right? The act of writing down nice things about other people and giving it to them. Adapt this to Thanksgiving where each person writes down something they are thankful for about each person gathered there, or something positive, or even a happy memory they have shared with them, and everyone gets to feel very loved and blessed on a very special day. In fact, it could even be a great way to start the day and have everyone feeling good at the first.
- A popular trend at the moment is taking photos with props to commemorate special occasions. It would be very easy to make your own props with a Thanksgiving theme to do this yourself. Different styles of moustaches are always popular, the various styles of pilgrim hats would go well with this theme, and there are always the standard props such as beards, glasses, monocles, lips, bow ties. You can make other styles such as frowns, pipes, cigars, various Thanksgiving feast items, and make up captions for photos too. If you prefer to get the photograph instantly to place in a special commemorative scrapbook or other album you could buy an Instant camera. Then you can have a great old get together with some precious memories and family photos. If you make it a tradition you can get them out and share them next year and every year. Don’t forget Christmas is just around the corner too. You could extend this tradition into Christmas very easily.
Bring On Christmas Traditions At Thanksgiving!
Thanksgiving heralds Christmas so it is a perfect time to put some of your Christmas traditions into action and warm up your Christmas spirit. Make it a tradition to set up and decorate your Christmas Tree at the end of the day.
- Have a Christmas movie marathon. I love Christmas movies, I just can’t get enough of them. It’s one of my warm fuzzies that I give to myself.
- Use thanksgiving to draw names out of a hat for your Secret Santa or Kris Kringle Christmas gifts. For those of you who aren’t aware what a Kris Kringle is, it’s where everyone’s name who will be sharing Christmas day together goes into a hat. Each person draws a name from the hat and that person becomes the one that they buy a gift for. Everyone gets a gift and it cuts down the cost of Christmas for those on a budget. It also allows people to have a slightly more expensive gift bought for them as only one gift is being bought rather than many small gifts.
Choose Eco-Friendly Thanksgiving Crafts That Double As Decorations
Make some planet safe paint and use it to create a Thanksgiving tablecloth. Here are a couple of ways you can do this. To make the profile of a turkey, you can paint the base of the hand with brown paint including the thumb, and then paint each finger a different color, such as yellow and red or orange and purple for example. Then stamp the hand down and add eyes, beak, snood, wattle, legs, etc. The thumb part of the print becomes the turkey’s neck and head. To print a frontal image of a turkey, you can paint the entire hand, including fingers with one color such as yellow, then stamp it down. Next paint the entire hand red and stamp down next to the first one, partially overlapping the first hand, then repeat with another color. This should produce the turkey’s traditional fan tail. Then paint a body and head at the front and add the eyes, etc.
- Make little turkeys from autumn leaves, whole walnuts in the shell, hazelnuts. googly eyes and a bit of felt. Glue the hazelnut on to the top of the walnut. This becomes the head and body. Glue a medium sized autumn leaf to the front of a large orange or red autumn leaf, making sure the bottoms are lined up together. This is your turkey tail. Glue the tail to the body, add googly eyes or draw them on, and use felt to stick on to make a beak, snood and wattle. If the turkey does not sit up properly, you may need to glue something to the base to help it. Use these cute little turkeys for a wide range of things. They could be used as simple table decorations, props, write guests names on them and use as place setting guides, write what you are thankful for on them, or give the guests a pen to write their own, games prizes, little gifts to give away to guests, you might even use them as invitations. I’m sure you can think of many more uses.
- Use orange or onion netting bags and fill it with a gift or treat, tie it at the top, lean it slightly to the side, allowing for enough net to use it as a tail. Make a turkey neck and head from a brown pipe cleaner by rolling the pipe cleaner into a head shape leaving some length to form the neck. Add a beak made from orange or red pipe cleaner and a googly eye each side. Using the netting bag you have made, stick the pipe cleaner down into the bag through the netting, or use glue to stick the neck and head to the bag. You now have a cute turkey gift for someone, or a delightful way to wrap a gift.
Random Acts Of Kindness At Thanksgiving Embodies The True Meaning Of Thanksgiving
You could do a name draw where each member of the family have their names put into a hat to be drawn out. Each person draws a name and must do a random act of kindness for the person they drew from the hat that day. This could be a daily event or if doing this everyday is a bit too difficult, perhaps do it on the weekends, or draw names at the start of each week and at some time during the week, the act of kindness must be carried out before the next draw. There are many ways to incorporate something like this into your household. Not only does this mean that people get treated nicely, but it is a great way to cement the family relationship and encourage unconditional love for each other, as well as fostering respect as well.
- A popular tradition that isn’t necessarily new to some people, but may be to others, is the volunteer aspect of Thanksgiving. Helping out at soup kitchens are a great way to share the love for your fellow humans. As a family, deliver a hamper to another family in need, or provide one for an organisation that give them away. If this is not easy or makes you uncomfortable, choose to donate to food banks or other organisations, where your kindness can be anonymous.
- Following on from the volunteering side of things, have a big clean out of your unwanted scarves, jumpers, jackets, gloves, hats, blankets and give them to a charity or shelter for the homeless. You are contributing to protecting the environment by recycling, while helping another person in need. If you don’t have anything to give, set about performing random acts of kindness in your neighborhood, or the next one over, if you prefer anonymity.
- When you start talking about what you are grateful for, think of a way to pay it forward to other people. For example if you are grateful for food, give food to the needy. Use your own thanks as a way to help others, it will help give you ideas for how to pay it forward. Here’s a couple of easy ones to do. If thankful for your toys, give old toys away to charity. If you are thankful for a warm fire, deliver firewood to an area where you know people may need it. If you are thankful for money, find a way to provide a means for a person in need to earn a few dollars from you by doing an odd job for you, or simply put money in their hands.
- Invite Thanksgiving ‘orphans’ over for dinner, those people who have no family to spend it with. We have done this before at Christmas as well, where we knew families with only one parent and invited them to come for dinner with us, likewise for our single friends, or people who were not at home to be with their own families. Sometimes our single friends were feeling a little lonely at this time of year and they were very appreciative that we included them and made them feel welcome in our home.
- You could also go slightly different and throw and ‘Friendsgiving’ dinner where you invite friends over to share your family Thanksgiving celebrations together as an expression of how you are thankful for them to be in your life.
Don’t Forget The Thanksgiving Feast – You Can Give Thanks By Choosing Eco-Wise Food And Methods
Have you ever considered raising your own turkey for your Thanksgiving dinner? I know this idea is not for everyone, especially if you have a soft spot for animals and tend to make them pets. For those of you who are able to immerse yourselves more fully into living sustainably, raising livestock for food goes with the territory. Many of you may even choose to supplement your income with raising a few extra birds along with your own to sell to others come Thanksgiving. Sustainable living doesn’t have to mean that your income is less than other people, in fact, in can mean a whole plethora of extra income ideas for many people in terms of selling produce, creating clothing and crafts, and even sharing your knowledge with others.
- Getting everyone involved in the preparation and cooking of the meal contributes a wonderful sharing experience for the whole family and/or guests and gives people a chance to have a catch up and chat while enjoying each others company. Every one helps and therefore no one feels as if they haven’t given something to the day.
- As a Thanksgiving craft that doubles as a food item, melt chocolate and pour onto small flat plates and let set. There are many ways in which you can use this, write a comment on them for each person to show them that you are grateful for them, or an inspirational or motivational word, perhaps draw a cute picture, or make it a family activity to share. You could also use them as place markers by writing names on them with icing or white chocolate colored with a natural food coloring if you so choose.
- If changing over to a cleaner eating style or using greener food choices is a bit much to begin with at Thanksgiving, try replacing one traditional dish by one new clean food dish every year until you are comfortable with the change. I realise that Thanksgiving has very deeply inground traditions that make it difficult to completely turn away all in one hit so go easy on yourself, take it slow and enjoy the journey.
- Create a thanksgiving cook book from the recipes to share between each other every few years. Creations like these often become family heirlooms by scrapbooking the cookbook and passing it down through the years to the grandchildren and beyond. Everyone loves old recipes and they will be treasured for many years to come if they are made with the love and commitment that goes into creating a scrapbook style cooking book.
- Create a new tradition of sharing your family’s recipes on specially made cards with other members of your family or neighbors. How many times have you been asked how to make that wonderful meal you served up one time they visited?
When thinking about what to cook, using a more natural style of recipe, try looking at a Paleo version of Thanksgiving.
If Paleo is not your thing, then the option of Clean Eating will give you great healthy recipes, or help you to learn ways to adapt any meal, including your Thanksgiving meal to using all clean ingredients.
What better way to save the environment than beginning a clean eating program where you do not use processed foods at all, instead, let nature provide as nature intended and avoid processed goods. Eating clean allows you to continue a sustainable living lifestyle by choosing to eat foods whose processing has not caused harm to the environment, or shows you how to make everything from scratch?
Wow, I surprised even myself when thinking on suggestions for you on how to give thanks on Thanksgiving. These are really only scratching the surface of what is possible. We live in a world where so much is becoming more easily available to us to give us a choice in how we live on this planet. We can do it, we can bring about change in even the smallest of adjustments we make in our lives. Keep up the good work you are doing so far.
Thank you for reading this rather long article and I hope you have been shown that even Thanksgiving can be altered to suit your ideals and the planet. If I have missed anything, or you would like me to look into anything else, please leave a comment and include how you make your own changes to Thanksgiving. I love hearing from my readers.
Warm Wishes and Happy Thanksgiving.