Thanksgiving Day is for fun, food, and football. So when the food is enjoyed and the football is over (or the score is out of reach), it is time for fun! We have some creative activities for kids and adults alike…rain, shine, or snow.
• Pin the tail on the turkey. Have your kids draw a turkey with a missing feather and feathered “tails” to take its place. Put a piece of tape on each tail and see who can get closest to the spot of the missing feather.
• If it’s warm enough, head outside. Have three-legged races, play a “Pass the sweet potato” relay, or have a turkey trot race where everyone has to strut like a turkey. To make it even more fun, give out a trophy every year to the big winner. Inscribe the year and winner’s name and have them bring back the trophy next Thanksgiving to hand off to the next winner.
• If you’re stuck inside, play board games. Have a chess tournament, a monopoly marathon, or play Pictionary.
• Get a spiral notebook or journal. Write the date and have everyone write down what they’re most thankful for from the past year. Make it a tradition. Bring out the book every year and add new memories.
• Decorating cookies isn’t just for Christmas. Prebake some sugar or gingerbread cookies. Have a decorating station where the kids and adults can decorate Thanksgiving-themed cookies.
• Write down the names of everyone at your Thanksgiving dinner on slips of paper. Draw a name and tell what you’re most thankful for in that person.
• Read the story of the Mayflower or the first Thanksgiving. Better yet, act it out!
• Have a blank card or have the children make a card. Have everyone sign it and mail it to a family member or a friend who couldn’t join you.
• Give each person a clothes pin to wear. Each time someone says “Christmas,” “holiday,” or “Thanksgiving,” they have to give up their pin. The person with the most pins wins.
• Have everyone bring a toiletry item (comb, brush, razor), snack food, or other small gift to pack up to send to a soldier overseas.
The idea behind Thanksgiving is so simple yet so profound. A gift is given, a thank you is returned.
In the case of the Pilgrims, they were given the gift of a new life where they could worship freely. They were given the gift of food from the Indians who helped them survive in their new unfamiliar home. To those gifts, they responded with thanks – thanks in a feast and thanks in words of prayer.
So, when you gather for Thanksgiving this year, consider saying some of these Thanksgiving prayers. Of course, any thanks that comes from the heart is always well said.
Thank you, Father, for having created us and given us to each other in the human family. Thank you for being with us in all our joys and sorrows, for your comfort in our sadness, your companionship in our loneliness. Thank you for yesterday, today, tomorrow and for the whole of our lives. Thank you for friends, for health and for grace. May we live this and every day conscious of all that has been given to us.
-From The Catholic Prayer Book, compiled by Msgr. Michael Buckley
O God, when I have food,
help me remember the hungry;
When I have work,
help me remember the jobless;
When I have a home,
help me remember those
who have no home at all;
When I am without pain,
help me remember those who suffer,
help me to destroy my complacency; bestir my compassion,
and be concerned enough to help;
By word and deed,
those who cry out for what we take for granted. Amen.
-Samuel F. Pugh
For beauty in nature, Your glory we see
For joy and for health, friends and family,
For daily provision, Your mercy and care
These are the blessings You graciously share.
So today we offer this response of praise
With a promise to follow You all of our days.
O Lord, that lends me life,
Lend me a heart replete with thankfulness!
Holy Father, give us, each
A thankful mind.
Make us more like Jesus,
Gentle, pure and kind.
-William H. Parker
For each new morning with its light,
For rest and shelter of the night,
For health and food,
For love and friends,
for everything Thy goodness sends.
-Ralph Waldo Emerson
Come, Lord Jesus, be our guest,
And may our meal by you be blest.
And may there be a godly share
on every table everywhere.
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