Putting the Thanks Back in Thanksgiving

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As I sit here, days before the Thanksgiving feast has even been served, I’ve noticed that somehow all my Christmas decorations that have been neatly tucked away since 2014 are starting to seep out of their storage and grace my tiny apartment once more. My current décor could be called something like “Christmas-Thanksgivingish.”

I turn to my husband and make a comment about the funny mixture of pumpkins and my red and green wreath on the door, and we quickly come to the conclusion that Thanksgiving gets NO respect! (I must add that we proclaimed these words as we were surfing the Internet, picking out a new Christmas tree!)

Even if we make a conscious decision to honor Thanksgiving and all that it symbolizes, society just continues telling us to rush it along. I’m expected to have most of my holiday shopping completed before Thanksgiving and Christmas tree erect, all the while my son is already coming home from school with holiday trip permission slips that must be signed! It’s almost impossible to give this lovely holiday of Thanksgiving the respect that it deserves.


How do we put the “thanks” back into “Thanksgiving?”

It can be hard not to get ahead of ourselves; after all, even the star of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is Santa Claus! But, we must do more than just “try” or make a conscious effort, but make a physical effort too. It’s important that the kiddos know that there is an actual holiday that exists in between Halloween and Christmas! (Or Hanukkah if you are Jewish.)

1. Start with a Thanksgiving craft.

Remember tracing your hand in elementary school and decorating it with feathers and a turkey gobble? Keep that tradition alive and pass it onto your kiddos to enjoy! Or, if you are much more creative than me, create your own craft that you can use to keep the spirit of Thanksgiving alive!

2. Tell the story of Thanksgiving.

You might be surprised, but there actually are books that exist that tell the story of Thanksgiving in a way that children can understand. Take them on a field trip to The Strand and gather up some new books to add to your collection and make reading them during that small period of time after the Halloween candy has disappeared and candy canes become king, and make it a tradition!

3. List what you are thankful for every night before going to bed.

We always go around the table on Thanksgiving and list what we are thankful for, but I try to do it during the weeks before as well. It’s important for kids to not take for granted how fortunate they are and truly be thankful for the things that they have in their lives. (Even though we already know they are dreaming of what they will be finding under the Christmas tree!)

4. It can be just as fun to decorate for Thanksgiving as it is for Halloween!

The cool thing is that so many of these Halloween decorations transition perfectly into Thanksgiving décor. Take some time to put together homemade decorations to be placed all over your apartment that are fun for the kids to look at and also remind them of what this holiday is all about.

5. Get creative with the leftovers.

Make Thanksgiving last a little bit longer by getting creative with all those leftovers! It can be so fun to get messy in the kitchen with your little ones and put together a new meal that you have never had before. They will be so proud knowing that they took part in creating that meal, that they may even lick their plate clean! (A Mama can dream, right?)

6. Thanksgiving Movies

I know that ABC’s 25 Days of Christmas is wonderful in every way imaginable, but there actually are some great movies that are centered on the Thanksgiving holiday that are just as warm and cozy.

Let’s make a pledge to keep the spirit of Thanksgiving alive this holiday season and those to come!

Fashionably Yours,


This piece was originally published in Mommy Nearest Magazine.

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