Sunday, November 14, 2010


My LAST post was about decorating SIMPLY for Thanksgiving. Today I'll share how I get everyone involved in the preparation and also engaged in activities during the BIG DAY itself. Spreading the work around ALSO simplifies things.

Ahead of time:   Everything is more fun when everyone is involved somehow in the preparations. Some people love to share their favorite special dish for the meal. Now you don't have to do all the cooking.  Family will always look forward to "Aunt Bea's mincemeat pie" for example. I like to get the little children involved by having them make place cards ahead of time. Children can also make table decorations for a special children's table. There are a lot of fun and simple ideas on the internet.

On Thanksgiving Day:    Since the purpose of the day is to Give Thanks, one of the things I have done is to have the little children take a sheet of paper with the title on the top," I'M THANKFUL FOR..."and go around to everyone and have them write down what they are thankful for. Then I take"Thanksgiving kids coloring pages" that I've downloaded from the internet and have the kids color them. A Thanksgiving booklet can be made simply by stapling together the colored Thanksgiving pictures and the list of things everyone is thankful for. This can be read throughout the day by family and friends. It also keeps little ones busy with a project while the food is being prepard. Of course there is always a special prayer of thanks before the meal, remembering what God has done in all of our lives and a song of thanks that the grandchildren like to sing. Here is their favorite:

God, our Father,
God, our Father,
Once again, once again
Thank you for these blessings
Thank you for these blessings
Amen, Amen

But after the meal, the day is not over. Of course there are the typical football games that some enjoy watching and our family is no exception. But those of us not interested in sports on TV ( wierd people that we are ) I've usually planned some activities so we don't get lulled to sleep by the tryptophan in the turkey. So here are some things we have included in our "Day Of Thanks":

1) The kids ALWAYS have to put on a "show" for us. This just goes without saying. So we always plan on the" Kids Show". This takes up a lot of time for the kids because they have to spend time putting it together and then practicing. OUR kids also make PROGRAMS to hand out so making them also fills a lot of time for them! ( The football watching guys have to take time to watch this also so we shoot for commercial times. ) The show itself takes much less time than the practice and making the programs.
2) A walk. We DO need to take a walk to "walk off" the BIG MEAL. Most everyone gets in on this and the fresh air feels great!
3) Visit over pie and coffee. The candles are still lit for the ambience and everyone catches up on each others' lives.  It seems no one is hungry right after eating so we wait until later for this casual ritual.
4) Board Games.We pull out the favorites that require a bit of ACTION. Nothing is worse than a QUIET board game with people "drugged out" on tryptophan.
4) BINGO  This was a favorite for several years. My daughter and I found things around the house that we could use for prizes ( unwrapped note cards, unused candles, etc. but also some funny "booby prize" types.) We gift wrapped them also. So we had a large basket full of small gift wrapped presents as prizes. When someone would win they could pick a prize out of the pile. But after the first prize was opened, the next winner could take a gift from the pile OR someone else' gift ( and then they would give THAT person another wrapped prize). This became quite popular and was continued for several years.( We change up some activities depending on the ages of guests, the number of guests, etc.)
My daughter liked it so much that she and her husband continued the tradition when they moved to China. Their guests were from all over the world and most had not celebrated Thanksgiving, not being from the U.S. but wanted to celebrate with them. They also couldn't find turkeys in China so they settled for a different kind of bird. But the BINGO game went on with prizes and all and everyone LOVED it!

These are just SOME of the things we've done to entertain ourselves throughout our Thanksgiving holidays. Share some of YOURS here!

Below are some photos from Country Living of things you can do for place cards, kids table,  take-home left-overs, and other ideas.

I LOVE these ideas from COUNTRY LIVING because they are natural, simple, and affordable! 


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