There are several reasons why I love Thanksgiving. As a lifelong foodie and nutritionist I obviously love the food. More so than the actual food, I love that everyone cooks and contributes something special. My Mom and I usually spend all day in the kitchen; cooking, baking, and praying that our oven doesn’t fail. Aunt Karalyn brings her homemade pies, Susan makes rolls from scratch, and Grandma’s corn casserole never disappoints. I love that the Holiday celebrates food, family, and most importantly it reminds us to step back and take a minute to truly be thankful for everything we have in life.
Aside from the eating and the bonding, my family has two traditions we do every year on November 24th: play a football game and the Thankful Basket.
First let’s talk football. This is a family friendly game. We head to Coyote Park while the turkey is cooking for some non-contact football. It’s great because it feels good to get in some exercise before the impending giant meal. It also gives you a way to get your frustrations out on the half of your family that voted for “the other” political candidate, just kidding 🙂 I love playing games and it’s so rare that we all have a whole free day to play. Not to mention the weather is usually perfect in November for a football game.
On to tradition number 2, the Thankful Basket.
Here’s how it works: Get a nice bread basket, cookie jar, or any container-type thing. Label it “The Thankful Basket” and put small pieces of paper and pens next to it. Tell your guests they need to write what they are thankful for on the paper, fold it in half and put it in the basket (don’t write your name on it). They will probably groan and complain, its fine, just make them do it. Next year they will understand the magic and happily oblige.
After you eat your fabulous meal you bust out the Thankful Basket. Please, please make sure that the room is well lit and everyone is wearing their glasses! Otherwise there is just too many poorly read, misconstrued thankful messages. One by one, each person takes a and paper reads it out loud. Then the whole table tries to guess who wrote it. Whether the message is heart-felt or hilarious everyone has a good time guessing who wrote what and playing along. Here are some examples of past favorites…
“I am Thankful for family, both the one I grew up with and the new one I’ve come to know and love. I am thankful for my fiance too!”
“I am thankful my pants fit”
As you can see, sentimental or silly, they both get the job done! If you are looking to add some more fun to your Thanksgiving this year I would encourage you to try having a pre-feast football game and a post-feast Thankful Basket. What are your family’s favorite thanksgiving traditions?
Heather Mason is a Registered Dietitian who holds a Master’s Degree in Nutrition Science. She currently works at Sierra Vista Medical Clinic where she counsels adults and children with diabetes, obesity, and cardiovascular disease. She has a passion for blogging and delivering her healthy eating message in a fun and humorous way. Her hobbies include baking and cooking, snowboarding, and any outdoor activities. She is also an avid group exerciser and loves teaching Zumba Fitness classes. You can read more posts from her on her blog, Nutty Nutrition.