Start a New Thanksgiving Tradition

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Thanksgiving is coming up. For most families, this is a time to watch the Thanksgiving Day parade, eat sweet potato pie, and share what we’re thankful for. This year, in honor of Family Stories Month, switch things up a bit! This year start a new Thanksgiving tradition and share family stories at the dinner table instead.

The dinner table is a wonderful time to share family stories. It’s one of the few occasions where everyone can give each other their undivided attention, without the distractions of TVs and smartphones. This Thanksgiving, when you bring your holiday dish to the dinner, have a fun family story prepared as well. Also, be sure to get the rest of the family in on this activity. Listed below are a few creative ways to encourage the rest of the family to share their stories and participate in this new Thanksgiving tradition.

Tips for Thanksgiving Story Time

  1. Send everyone an email. To get everyone in the family to participate, it’s best to give your family members a little advance notice. So consider sending out an email before Thanksgiving and encourage everyone to have a story to share at the dinner table. It doesn’t have to be a long speech—just something brief and sweet. Tell them about this is a twist on the traditional “what I’m thankful for” speeches.
  2. Set a few ground rules. If you anticipate some family hostility this holiday season, consider setting some ground rules for family story time. Gently remind your family that the purpose for this new tradition is to share joy and laughs as a family. Everyone should stick to positive, kind memories.
  3. Bring your photo albums. Some people might feel a little shy about this new tradition. Help facilitate things by bringing along family photo albums. After flipping through the album people can reminisce on good times like weddings, baby milestones, graduations, etc. It’s an easy way to relieve tension and get the ball rolling.
  4. Play games. Want to have some fun at your Thanksgiving dinner? Consider making a game out of story time. Create your own jeopardy with categories based on family stories. For instance, your “Happily Ever After” category can be about family weddings. And your “Who Done It?” category can be about funny troublemaker stories. Find more ideas here.
  5. Get the kids involved. While the adults reminisce, get the kids involved in Thanksgiving story time too. Give them paper, markers, and crayons and have the young ones draw an illustration of a funny family story. They can pass it around after dinner and describe what they’ve created.

We hope you have a fun this holiday season. May this Thanksgiving be one to remember!