10 Not-Your-Usual Thanksgiving Ideas

by ChristinaPilkington on November 9, 2011 · 14 comments

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Here are 15 unusual ideas or websites to check out with Thanksgiving in mind. If you live outside the US, you can use this tweak these ideas a bit to celebrate your own county’s or religion’s version of Thanksgiving. 

On this list you won’t find the usual Thanksgiving crafts and ideas. Not that those aren’t fun to do. But you can find them on a dozen different websites already.

 1. Make a list of things you aren’t thankful for. Why aren’t you thankful for them? One of my favorite stories is that of Corrie ten Boom when she was in the concentration camp with her sister. She was thanking God for the fleas. Her sister thought she was insane for doing that. Turns out the fleas in their bunkhouse were the reason the soldiers didn’t come in at night to molest or rape the women.

2. Play the Thankful/Unthankful Connections game. This is a variation of the above activity. List something you’re not thankful for at one end of a sheet of paper. Next, list something you are thankful for at the other end. Now see how many links you need to take you from unthankful to thankful. For example: Beets-Red Blood Cells-Oxygen-Muscles-Swimming at the Water Park.

3. Read The Real Story of Thanksgiving- An American Indian’s Perspective.

It’s awesome to volunteer at a soup kitchen on Thanksgiving morning, but hurting people need to be helped throughout the entire year.

5. Research other countries or ethnic groups that have a celebration of thanksgiving. Canada does on the second Monday of October. Jewish people have a Feast of Tabernacles where they are thankful for the bountiful blessings of the year. What traditions are different? Are there any the same?

6. Play Thanksgiving Catch Phrase.  Have everyone write down five phrases related to Thanksgiving. Write each phrase down on a small scrap of paper. Encourage everyone to think beyond the usual Thanksgiving words and phrases. Put all the pieces of paper in a bowl. Split into two teams. Everyone sits in a circle, alternating people on each team. So if Mom, Grandma and daughter were a team, and Dad, brother and Grandpa a team, the seating would look like: Mom, Dad, Grandma, brother, daughter and Grandpa. Give the bowl to the first person. Set a timer for a short amount of time- say three minutes. The first person draws out a piece of paper and tries to get the other people on her team to say the phrase without saying any of the words on the piece of paper. If there is a repeat phrase, then choose another slip of paper. When her team guesses correctly, she passes the bowl to the opposite team member on her right. The team with the most correct at the end of the three minutes receives a point.

7.  Write to five people you have never spoken to or written to before and tell them why you are thankful for them. It could be a favorite author, game creator or park district employee was instrumental in building a new playground.

8. Play Thanksgiving Match-up.  Everyone writes down one thing they are thankful for on a scrap of paper, writes down his or her name, and then puts the scrap of paper into a bowl. When everyone is done, one person is designated the reader for that round. The reader chooses a scrap of paper and reads aloud the item that the person is thankful for.  Each person votes for who they think wrote that item down. The reader then reads of the name of the person from the scrap of paper. If the player guessed correctly, he gets one point. Then a new reader is designated and the next round starts. You play until all scraps of paper have been read aloud and voted on.

9.  Make a new dish this year for Thanksgiving- a food you’ve never tasted before. We all have our favorites, which is great, but why not introduce a new tradition?  Hint: it might be helpful to do a run-through first J

10. Put together homemade “TV dinners” from your Thanksgiving leftovers and deliver them to people who are cannot leave their homes, are sick or have just had a baby.

Do you have any unusual Thanksgiving traditions?

Photo Credit: tinaxduzgen

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  • http://profiles.google.com/kacagle Karen Terry Cagle

    This is such a great list Chris. I always love your list. I love the Native American perspective links. Will save this for sure!! :)

    • christinapilkington

      That story is really chilling. We just finished watching an episode of Little House that was really hard to watch about the Native Americans and the Trail of Tears. It’s too easy to forget the other side of Thanksgiving.

  • Tbcmc26

    Thanks for the ideas!

    • Anonymous

      You’re welcome!

  • http://momto3feistykids.blogspot.com Steph

    This is a great list, and I am so glad you included the *real* story of Thanksgiving from the Native American perspective. I really like #7.

    • Anonymous

      Thanks! It’s an important story that needs to be told.

  • http://www.teachablemoments-jessica.blogspot.com Jessica

    Thank you for sharing the links for the Native American Perspective. My girls do not have this knowledge and I feel they are old enough to learn the whole truth behind this holiday, especially living upon the land that was part of the Pequot Nation.

    • Anonymous

      We’ve had the best discussions in our family when we make a point of considering all perspectives of a story. My kids are young, so it’s still hard to grasp that there often isn’t a clear “good” guy and “bad” guy to a story.

  • Stephanie Kush

    Awesome ideas! Thanks

    • Anonymous

      You’re welcome!

  • http://www.sattvicfamily.net Elizabeth

    Chris these ideas are wonderful; my ancestors on my American side were Native Americans, so I appreciate you sharing a link to their perspective. I also love point number one, as I feel we all need to really look at our lives and see that all things have a purpose, even the unpleasant.

    • Anonymous

      I think it’s so important to look at many different sides of a subject. Too often kids are given one perspective to consider and nothing else. One of my favorite things about homeschooling is having a lot of time to explore subjects and topics from many different angles for as long as we want.

  • http://profiles.google.com/kacagle Karen Terry Cagle

    Great ideas as usual Christina. I love number 7.

    • Anonymous

      Thanks so much, Karen!

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