Thanksgiving is a time for family, stuffing your face in delicious food and showing appreciation for the blessings of the year and the abundance in harvests. While the history behind Thanksgiving is much darker and is left out of what we celebrate now, there’s no denying that it has become an important annual event for families to gather, connect and express gratitude.

If you’re looking for meaningful ways to celebrate this Turkey day, here are 15 meaningful traditions for you:

1. Share a traditional thanksgiving meal

Thanksgiving table by fahrwasser, 123RF.

The very essence of a modern Thanksgiving celebration is the massive spread all ready to be feasted on. Special family-recipe roast turkey? Check. Cranberry sauce? Check. Mashed potatoes and gravy, just the way you like it? Also, check. Not forgetting the glorious pumpkin pie, of course! There’s just no celebration without a feast. Be careful not to over-prepare to reduce food waste.

2. Host a Friendsgiving

Young friends having fun by ammentorp, 123RF.

Friendsgiving is one for those who aren’t on good terms with their family, don’t have a family to celebrate with, or perhaps split across the world. It’s exactly like what you’d expect from the name – a combination of friends and Thanksgiving. Less drama, more fun!

3. Thank you cards

Mature couple holding a thank you card by rawpixel, 123RF.

Spare a few hours the day before to write up some thank you messages for your loved ones. Unsure of what to write? Other than the standard ‘Happy Thanksgiving Day’ wishes, write your favorite memory with them, or talk a walk down memory lane and reminisce about how you both met. Show your gratefulness and embrace those who enrich your life.

4. Break a wishbone

Children’s hands holding a wishbone by seanlockephotography, 123RF.

There’s no genie in a bottle here. On Thanksgiving, break a wishbone! The wishbone is a V-shaped bone found at the base of the neck in birds. Once the Thanksgiving meal is over, two people make their wish and break the wishbone. According to the tradition, whoever gets the larger chunk of the bone gets their wish granted!

5. Run a turkey trot

Local turkey trot race on Thanksgiving weekend by woodysphotos, 123RF.

End Thanksgiving on the right foot and participate in a turkey trot! If you’ve been cooped up at home hiding under your sheets, now is a great time to get a few miles in and get your heart rate up. With both in-person runs and virtual runs available, participate in a Turkey trot anywhere you are! And yes, you can totally dress up as a turkey. Please dress up in a turkey outfit.

6. Give back to charity

Woman with donation box by citalliance, 123RF.

They say charitable donations start to ramp up in November until the end of the year, so it’s the perfect time to get friends and family to open up their wallets and give back to the community. Start a donation fund for a cause you care about. 

If you’re vegan and munching on Turkeys isn’t your thing. Consider donating to a Turkey rescue fund.

7. Movie marathon

Couple with socks and woolen stockings watching movies by terovesalainen, 123RF.

One of the simplest ways to sit back and relax. Not really up for a big celebration this year? Want to keep it lowkey? Have a movie marathon. Leftovers from the feast in one hand and eyes on the screen. Here’s a pretty good list of what you can queue up for Turkey day.

8. Share a plate

Family gathering around dinner table by deagreez, 123RF.

“If you are really thankful, what do you do? You share.” This quote by W. Clement Stone pretty much sums it up. Grab a plate and give it to someone else.

9. Watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade

The 88th annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade by vankok, 123RF.

In New York City, thousands of people line the streets of Manhattan to watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade. The 95th year of the parade takes place on the 25th of November live on NBC and other platforms. While the 2020 parade was quiet, this year’s parade is set out to return to its full form – complete with live musical performances, marching bands, iconic giant floats.

10. Write down what you’re thankful for

Wooden table with notebook, pen and autumn leaves by tanacha, 123RF.

Take a breather and sit down with a pen and paper. The end of the year is a great time to reflect. Think of the year’s accomplishments and give thanks to those who stood by you along the way.

Get yourself a hot cup of tea, clear your headspace and reflect away.

11. Family game night

Friends with their smartphones on their foreheads by fpphotobank, 123RF.

Having too many cooks in the kitchen is a recipe for disaster, and that’s the last thing we want on Thanksgiving. While some are preparing for the meal, others can entertain the kids with a family-friendly game session! Not only is it an excellent way to bond and encourage people to stay off their phones and interact with each other, but it also creates lots of memories that you can cherish for years to come.

12. Craft a beautiful centerpiece 

Florist at work on autumn wreath by rolencino, 123RF.

Are you feeling crafty? Decorate a stunning centerpiece that will tie in the house decorations together. Let your creativity flow; get inspired by the bountiful harvests. Better yet, send the kids on a mission outdoors to forage for supplies!

13. Thanksgiving toast

Diverse group of people toasting wine glasses by seventyfour74, 123RF.

Want to say a few words to your guests? Make a toast! Your toast can be anything you want it to be. But as is with any toast, make sure to speak from the heart. For a thanksgiving twist, go around the table and ask everyone to make a toast and say what they’re thankful for. Clink!

14. Bake a pie

Traditional American autumn dessert by whitestorm, 123RF.

Treat your friends and family to a lovely serving of pie that doesn’t just look pretty but tastes fantastic. Incorporate the harvests like pumpkin, pecan, corn, and more. Here are some recipes you can try! 

15. Share family stories

Thanksgiving dinner by deagreez, 123RF.

Another year has gone by and the time we have with our loved ones shortened. After a bizarre year, relish in their presence and take the time to ask your older relatives questions about their lives. Share fun stories about the past and reminisce about them. Remember when grandma did that thing she was so proud of? 

Which was your favorite?

Thanksgiving is the perfect time to remind one another of the reason that you’re grateful for them in your life without being too cheesy about it. 

Have crazier ideas? Go for it! Tradition is what you make of it, and you can create unique traditions to share with your loved ones.


Add Autumn vibes to your Thanksgiving photos, find out how here.  Check out stunning photos that capture the magic of fall here