13 Ways to Make Meaningful Memories this Thanksgiving

I know lots of people are in full Christmas mode by now, but over here we try to let Thanksgiving shine during the month of November before we roll into Advent. I know Thanksgiving often doesn’t have too many traditions beyond the menu, but I really think there are some great ways to spend quality time together and make memories. Some of these activities would be fun to do leading up to the big day, and a few would be fun additions to the day of festivities, or even throughout the weekend. Many of us might not be doing some of our go-to gatherings and these activities could be a fun alternative for the year or a new tradition to start.

1. Host a Turkey Trot– This is something I really want to do, we had it planned last year, but then a stomach bug struck. I know there are local races you can definitely join, but I love the idea of just gathering as friends and family for a little pre-feast run. Depending on the weather and the timing of your main meal, you could do a light breakfast after- bagels, fruit, juice, coffee. I love that this could all be done outside.

2. Thanksgiving Dinner Gratitude Journal– I just saw this idea and plan to start it this year. It’s a journal that everyone at the Thanksgiving meal writes/draws what they are thankful for that year. Then a group picture is taken and added to the journal. The journal is brought back year after year. I love that it serves as a guest book and a little time capsule for each person that year! For a cheap DIY, I covered a notebook that was laying around with Kraft paper and then added a printout to the front. I’m including 3 cover options at the end of the post.

3. Charlie Brown Thanksgiving Movie Night– This is a tradition that my boys love. We usually do it the weekend before Thanksgiving, but it would be fun the night before, too. We serve popcorn, toast, jelly beans and pretzels just like in the movie.

4. Friendsgiving or Friends-gifting– I’ve never hosted a Friendsgiving, but I would love to. I think a girls Friendsgiving lunch would be really fun, but 2020 has put that dream on hold. Since we really aren’t gathering with friends right now I hope to do a little friend-gifting. A porch drop off to say, “I’m thankful for your friendship”. I think pumpkin bread, or yummy cinnamon butter would be perfect!

5. Coloring pages– If you have kiddos that love to color, print out some fun coloring pages. They’re great to have around for read aloud time during the month or while your waiting for the feast to be served! My boys love it if I sit down and color with them, so don’t forget to join in on the fun. I really like these and these for older kids and adults. These are sweet for littler artists.

6. Watching the Parade- This is one tradition we didn’t do growing up, but I think it’s a fun way to start the morning. We have the book Balloons over Broadway, which is a great book that tells the history of the parade. My boys enjoy cuddling up on the couch to watch some of the parade.

7. Play games together- At my Grandparent’s house there was usually some game playing after the big meal. When the dishes were done you could count on finding a group playing Upwords, eating pie and drinking coffee. Now, in my family we often get back together on Friday to play games, relax by the fire and eat leftovers. This is honestly one of my favorite parts of the holiday. Thanksgiving bingo would, of course, be fun and festive with younger kids. Here is a free printable set.

8. Family Football Frenzy– My boys love it when my husband or I join in and play football (or any sport really) with them. I can be guilty of telling them to play together so I can get things done, so I think it is extra special when we all play together. There’s also been a few times that my family has played and it’s so fun to see cousins, aunts, uncles and even Papa out there playing together. There are usually a lot of laughs, some pretty winded adults and great memories. I think it would be fun to have an annual game, especially if you get to spend time together the whole weekend.

9. Thanksgiving reading & Festive Snack– We can’t let a holiday pass without digging into a stack of holiday books and a yummy themed snack. You can’t go wrong with a simple snack mix. We’ve also made these rolo and pretzel turkeys before, they are a great way to use up the last of the fall candy corn.

10. Go for a post-feast walk– I have fond memories of Thanksgiving growing up. We always went to my Grandparents house. My Mom has 10 siblings and depending on who came back for Thanksgiving, it was usually pretty loud and lively. If the weather was nice enough my Dad would often slip out for a walk around the neighborhood while we waited for the pie to be served. I loved tagging along, feeling the crisp air, crunchy leaves and looking at all the homes in the neighborhood. A walk might not seem like a memory making moment, but it could be a special part of the day.

11. Baking together– I enjoy baking, but I’m not always great at including my kids in the process. Baking with kids requires a little extra patience, and I’m often rushed, or worried about the baked good being just right. I’m hoping to squeeze in some intentional baking with my littles over the next couple months. Baking with the sole purpose of spending time together. My littlest guy loves making pretend pies, so I think he will really enjoy it.

12. Festive Breakfast– A festive breakfast can be a really fun way to kick off the holiday, or to get excited for the holiday a few days in advance. We’ve done Turkey shaped pancakes the last several years, but these turkey cinnamon rolls are pretty cute, too!

13. Pumpkin Spice Playdoh– We love this recipe for pumpkin spice playdoh. It smells so heavenly and is fun to have around all month long. We have even gifted it to friends with some fall cookie cutters.

I hope you have a little time this month to slow down and enjoy time with people that you love, make some memories and maybe eat a little pie!

Do you have any unique Thanksgiving traditions? I’d love to hear what you do for the holiday!



Hey, I’m Megan, wife to Chad, mama to our three rambunctious boys, Grady, Marshall, Stafford and our sweet little girl, Ainsley Nell.  I have a passion for celebrating holidays, cherishing seasons, creating memories, collecting traditions, connecting hearts and chasing joy.   Thanks for coming along for our journey.