I absolutely LOVE the holidays. I love the festivals, the food, the hustle and bustle, the lights, and the gifts.
Every year, I can hardly wait for October 1st, the official start of my favorite season! But as I was looking at my calendar of upcoming holiday hoopla, I realized November looks a little blank. It occurred to me that with all of my enthusiasm for the holidays, I sort of skip over Thanksgiving.
This year, I want to change that. We have so much to be thankful for here in Frisco. While we practice gratitude daily, I want to make November a month of special traditions we’ll look forward to each year. Here are some simple ideas for creating a “month of Thankfulness” in your household.
Get Active Together
Health is our greatest (and probably most taken for granted) gift. This November, start a tradition of being thankful for health by being active together. Carve out time to enjoy a favorite outdoor activity each weekend – or better yet, try something new.
North Texas Turkey Trot: This popular Frisco tradition offers a 10K, 5K, and a Miracle Mile – and benefits a really great cause. The Trot is the morning of Thanksgiving Day, but you can make it month-long event by training together. Your “training” can be as goofy or serious as you want, depending on the age and interest of your kids. Add in some silly turkey-themed “flair” for the race and you have THE ultimate Thanksgiving tradition. (Hear more about the Turkey Trot by listening to the Frisco Podcast or watching Lifestyle PROFILES.)
Hit the Frisco Parks and Trails: Fall is the perfect time to enjoy our area’s great hike and bike trails with your children. Try Cottonwood Creek Trail, Frisco Commons, or McCord Park for family-friendly walks. For even more adventure, explore Arbor Hills Nature Preserve, the Heard Wildlife Sanctuary, or Connemara Meadow Preserve.
Try a new sport or activity: Create a tradition of trying a new activity or challenge together each November. A few ideas to consider: fishing (try Frisco Commons, or Bacchus Park), indoor skydiving at IFly in Frisco, indoor surfing at Aqua Surf Shop, or ice skating at the Star Center (for free!).
Get Creative About Being Grateful
Not crafty? No problem! These ideas are fun, meaningful, and a snap for even the least Pinterest-y parents.
Thankful pumpkin: Start with a plain pumpkin. Each day in November, write one thing you are thankful for with a permanent marker. This simple project gives you an easy way to talk about gratitude daily (and a whimsical centerpiece for your Thanksgiving table).
Thankful paper chain: Deck the halls with thankful thoughts! Cut strips of colorful paper. Each day, help your children write one thing they are thankful for on a strip. Then make a ring and add it to your “thankful garland”. Kids will love watching the garland grow over the month and you’ll have a precious decoration to enjoy.
Thanksgiving keepsake tablecloth: Use a plain white tablecloth on your Thanksgiving table. On Thanksgiving, ask each person present to write something they’re thankful for on the tablecloth along with the date and their signature. Over the years, your tablecloth will be a sweet reminder of your family’s blessings and of the special people who have shared your Thanksgiving meal.
Cooking together is the most time-honored Thanksgiving tradition – be intentional about involving your children!
Master a signature family dish: Every family has a few favorite Thanksgiving dishes (definitely cornbread dressing for me!) These treasured recipes are a special part of the family culture and have often been passed down for generations.
Introduce a new dish: This is a fun way to involve teenagers or college-age kids. Encourage your young chef to research and pick a new dish to add to the table each year. It could be something trendy or a new twist on an old favorite. Work together to test and master the dish before the big day. Your teen will love contributing creatively to the meal (and you’ll love spending quality time with them in the kitchen).
Host a “Kidsgiving”: Let’s be honest, the traditional Thanksgiving meal sometimes isn’t the biggest hit with kids. You may treasure your grandmother’s squash casserole recipe but your five year old probably doesn’t appreciate it yet. Plus, the Thanksgiving meal can be formal, with good china on the table and good behavior required.
A few days before Thanksgiving, host a “Kidsgiving” to let the kids cut loose before the big day. Invite friends and help your children design a menu that reflects their tastes.
Replace turkey with chicken nuggets and ask each guest to bring a kid-friendly side dish to share. Go all out with the dessert table, loading up on easy to bake favorites or an ice cream Sunday bar. Kidsgiving is a fun (and surprisingly easy) way to pass down the Thanksgiving traditions of hosting, menu planning, and sharing with friends. Plus, everyone can be loud, messy, and even eat dessert first!
Talking about gratitude is important, but demonstrating gratitude by giving back is even better! Here are a few ideas for this November.
Support Frisco Family Services’ Thanksgiving meal program: Last year, the organization distributed 205 full Thanksgiving meals to local families. Help serve even more families this year by contributing a full Thanksgiving meal box. Or go big and coordinate a Thanksgiving meal drive for your neighborhood.
Set a goal to “adopt” a certain number of families and hit your street to recruit volunteers and supplies. Your kids can take the lead on asking for donations, gathering items, and putting together boxes. This is a great way to connect with your neighbors and make a difference.
Participate together in Tango Tab’s Feed the City on November 17 . This family-friendly event takes place at City Works at The Star in Frisco from 8:30 – 11 am. All ages are welcome. Bring supplies for sandwich lunches and work together to feed those in need!
Support another favorite charity: Thanksgiving philanthropy is typically focused on fighting hunger, but don’t limit yourself to one cause. Kids will enjoy giving back more if the project is close to their hearts. Whether it’s volunteering with animals or raising funds for another favorite cause, look for a “giving” tradition that hits home for your family.
Find simple ways to spread the Thanksgiving spirit: Sometimes the smallest acts are the best! Challenge your family to perform one random act of kindness per day this month. Encourage children to reach out to a struggling classmate at lunch or on the playground (and model inclusive behavior by inviting new neighbors or friends over for a homecooked meal).
Deliver “thank you” goodies to the local fire station or make Thanksgiving placemats to brighten a nursing home. Help your children find ways to show gratitude for each other by sharing special toys or assisting with chores. Reach out to far away family members or friends throughout the month with FaceTime, handmade cards, or Thanksgiving care packages. Remember, “not all of us can do great things. But we can all do small things with great love.”
What are YOUR Thanksgiving traditions, Frisco? How to emphasize a season of gratitude in your household? Leave us a comment, below.