Thanksgiving is about so much more than stuffing ourselves with turkey and pie. We may gather with loved ones to share a delicious feast, but this heartwarming holiday is really about satisfying our hunger for special moments – eating together matters because we are meeting together.
Gathering memories becomes even more critical as our loved ones grow older…and possibly sicker. While everyone is alive and in good spirits, be the Christopher Columbus of your family and start some kick-butt traditions that will preserve memories for generations to come.
10 Memorable Traditions to Savor with Your Turkey
1. Cook From the Family Recipe Book
This Thanksgiving, make your whole menu old family favorites from your childhood or when your senior family members were young. Ask family members to tell you their favorites and to recall a story about preparing or eating them. What kind of stuffing did they make? What side dishes did they serve? It could be your tastiest Thanksgiving dinner yet.
2. Toast Across the Generations
Add a twist to the usual Thanksgiving toast by asking the oldest and youngest guests to raise a glass to each other and give one reason they are glad the other person is at the table. For instance, a young person might say, “A toast to Grampa, who always makes me laugh with his jokes.” Grampa could then say, “Let us all raise a glass to my granddaughter Mary, who keeps me young by sharing the latest hit music in her playlist.” You can ask people to prepare before the holiday or make impromptu speeches.
3. Pay it Forward with Gratitude Intentions
Many families take turns sharing what they are grateful for on this day of thanks. Give it a fresh spin by looking forward instead of backward. How will you show gratitude in the future? “I will call or visit Mom and Dad at least once a week next year,” or “I will send each of my brothers and sisters an email thanking them for something good they have done for me.” Everyone will leave the gathering looking forward to next year.
4. Draw From a Gratitude Jar
This is another creative way to express thanks. Have each guest come to the party with one expression of gratitude written on a piece of paper and throw it into a giant hat or silly pinata. At dinner, have each person draw a slip and read it. The fun part is, they will not necessarily be reading their own gratitude.
5. Open a Photo Album
Time for those delicious after-dinner leftovers? Serve them with a family photo album from previous holiday gatherings. When you come across one that includes someone at the table, ask the person to tell the story behind the photo. Just make sure to keep it clean and omit any honeymoon nudies.
6. Make Your Holiday Gift Lists
What gifts does everyone want to receive this holiday season? Not for themselves but for the world. Ask everyone, What gift would you give the world to make it a better place? You do not have to make all the wishes serious and important. How would you make the world laugh a little more and worry a little less?
7. Host a Friendsgiving
Not every family is related by blood. Sometimes, our friends become our family. If you and some of your circle cannot be with your “real” families, get everyone together for a potluck feast. Keep the holiday spirit by sharing stories about how everyone’s family celebrates Thanksgiving. Remember to take plenty of selfies!
8. Schedule a Family Video Call
If some family members are missing from the festivities – like in Tip No. 7 – you can still make them part of the celebration. Set up a video call after dinner. If someone in your family is a tech whiz, you can live stream the feast to the missing guest.
9. Take a Family Photo
Amp up the excitement of the traditional family photo by having everyone strike a funny or dramatic pose. How about asking everyone to come in costume or wear their favorite hat for the occasion?
10. Volunteer Together
Add real meaning to the holiday by having everyone volunteer at a soup kitchen or food pantry – but not on Thanksgiving itself, when feeding programs usually have plenty of help dishing up holiday meals to the homeless. They need your help more in the days and weeks after Thanksgiving – and most of all in the summer when nobody is thinking of volunteering.
At OC Estate & Elder Law, we are thankful for the opportunity to provide peace of mind to our clients and their loved ones. We can assist you with questions about your aging parents and how to take part in their financial and legal care. Begin putting your plans into place with a free phone consultation, contact us at (954) 251-0332 or email@example.com Our attorneys are fluent in English, Spanish and Russian.