My oldest daughter recently told me, her favorite holiday is Thanksgiving because there’s so much good food and it’s cozy.  I love that she has that feeling from Thanksgiving, even if some of those holidays, I was stressed, or did a very minimal amount, or nothing at all, it’s encouraging to know that overall, she’s had a good feeling.

I think we all want to create a good feeling on this day and any other special days, but it can be tricky, trying to walk the line between fun traditions and just plain doing too much.  Sometimes we just need a plan and a few simple ideas, that is what today’s post will be about: a few simple ways to connect with our families and have a relaxed, meaningful day.  Some of these are ideas we’ve used in the past and some are new ideas I’d like to try.  Please, do not do all of them-that would be crazy!  Pick and choose 2 or maybe 3 that would work well for your family considering your unique family situations.

Disclaimer:  This post contains affiliate links, which means that should you choose to purchase through the links provided, I will receive a small commission.  Thank you.

Play some games.

There are tons of fun Thanksgiving party games out there.  Here are a few fun ones from Britni at Play Party Plan.

Source: 12 Hilarious Thanksgiving Games Everyone Will Love

Get outside.

Go for a walk, play in the snow, or go to the beach (depending on what part of the world you live in).  Anyway, you can get outside together and move will get out some pent up energy and increase everyone’s happiness endorphins.  On Thanksgiving, in many places, there are 5k events or flag football games.  These are fun to participate in, but if you’d rather just stick around or can’t find one you could make your own race or football game.

If you just want the kids to get out some pent up energy you could enlist them in a rousing game of turkey tag created by Natalie at Let’s Get Together.

Do something in your community.

Click here for some great ideas from, a blog about things to do in New York city,  many of her ideas could easily transfer to your city.  Look up your local calendar to see what’s shaking, go to a local hot spot, that’s open or just go see a movie together.

Cook together.

My kids are super excited about making these for Thanksgiving dinner.  This turkey fruit platter and meat and cheese platter would also be fun to try.

Source: Thanksgiving Chocolate Pilgrim Hats

Set up some simple, fun activities for kids to do on their own.

Here are some coloring pages from Penny at

or you could do this Thanksgiving Bingo Game with optional candy from Amber at

or this I spy printable from Stephanie at

We will be setting up this turkey playdough station from Jen at cute!

Source: Play Dough Turkeys – Mama.Papa.Bubba.

Amazon also has a lot of crafts like these.  Simple easy and fun.

Tell the story.

Most holidays have some sort of story associated with them.  You can encourage kids to create their own retelling of it, if they are so inclined by putting on a play with simple costumes like these ones from

Free Thanksgiving Day Play — each character tells what he or she is thankful for in this performance

Source: Free Thanksgiving Day Play

Figures like these can also be an easy, hands-off way to encourage your kids to re-enact the story without you actually having to do a lot of the work.

Be grateful.

Of course, this is what the holiday is all about, finding ways to be grateful can be as easy as writing them on a big poster board.  If you want to do more you can write thank you notes, add to a thankful tree

or play a gratitude game like this game from Jamie at  Extreme bonus points for finding a way to show gratitude by serving in your community (visiting a nursing home or helping out at a food shelter, for instance).


Make a tradition.

Who says you have to do the same thing your family did or your husband’s or your neighbors.  What do you think would be fun?  We are lucky to have lots of good ideas to draw from both our families, but we’ve also started a few of our own-like our annual croquet tournament.

Take pictures.

Do this yourself, assign a child or husband this responsibility or set up a photo booth.

Either way, no matter how cozy or totally stressful it is, I promise, you will want to remember it.


What fun and simple Thanksgiving traditions do you have or would like to start?

Write it down in a journal, talk it over with a friend or leave a comment on Facebook.