This year, Thanksgiving dinner will look different in our household. We will be missing the kids’ grandparents, our siblings, and our other usual family members. Due to this absence and change in our holiday routine, I want to “go all out” on decorations and activities to make it special for the kids. There are some super cute ideas all over the internet. Below is a list of the ideas I loved the most.
A special tablecloth –
I would guess that many families have seen “A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving.” I was thrilled to find a “Peanuts” Thanksgiving tablecloth on Oriental Trading’s website.
Fun placemats –
There are many options for entertaining placemats for kids. On Amazon, there is a package of placemats that come with stickers and a connect-the-dots activity. The internet also provides many printable options for free. On the website, “kidsactivities.com”, there is a sign-up to receive a free Thanksgiving printable placemat in your email inbox. Whether you purchase them or print them, kids are sure to enjoy placemats that provide an activity.
Creative “treats” –
There are tons of “Cute Treats for Thanksgiving” available online. It is honestly overwhelming how many choices there are. When I searched for seasonal treats for kids to make, I searched by images rather than reading all the recipes. I found a winner that is adorable. The end result is a “turkey”. Items needed are 1) peanut butter 2) twist pretzels 3) pretzel sticks 4) craisins 5) cookie dough 6) candy eyes 7) cashews. The recipe and construction sound simple, and I think kids would have a blast putting it together and eating it.
Making a “traditional” dish –
In our house, the kids like to help in the kitchen. There is one dish they especially like to help me put together. It has become a tradition for us. This Thanksgiving dish came off of a “Food Network” show a few years back. It is called “Delilah’s 7 Cheese Mac and Cheese.” As the name suggests, it is a baked macaroni and cheese dish with seven different types of cheese! I realize not all households will embrace the millions of calories that come with it, but we don’t mind, ha-ha. If kids can help with at least one dish during each Thanksgiving, it may be a wonderful memory for them later in life. I can’t speak for others, but I absolutely cherish my memories of occasionally being in the kitchen with my family on Thanksgiving.
Thanksgiving scavenger hunt –
I found a fun, free scavenger hunt template on a website called, “playpartyplan.com”. I read and read the article and couldn’t find the actual link, but then finally found a note that said, “Find the sign-up at the bottom of the page.” So I scrolled almost all the way down, entered my first name and email and voila! The cards were sent to me in my inbox.
Thanksgiving music –
I can’t really vouch for these suggestions personally, because I haven’t listened to them, but YouTube has several options available for kids Thanksgiving music. There is a 27-minute long playlist of “Thanksgiving songs for kids.” There is also a “Turkey Hokey Pokey.” Lastly, a 30-second video called, “The Turkey Dance.”
Teach kids about the origin of Thanksgiving –
This suggestion is likely a sensitive one. There is much controversy about what happened during the first “Real Thanksgiving.” Some lessons and videos paint a picture of two different cultures helping each other and coming together peacefully to sit and have a meal. Others have insisted that this did not happen, and there was plenty of conflict. There is an abundance of research to support the idea that native americans suffered when the Europeans arrived, particularly the Wampanoag group. Each family will decide what they want to share with their children about the happenings of the first Thanksgiving, but in our household: we will be exploring the native american side. It is important to know that some people don’t celebrate Thanksgiving because it is a day of mourning. Since the 1970’s, some Native American people gather at the statue of Massasoit to honor the Wampanoag people who lost their lives. In my opinion: it is important for kids to know about people being mistreated in the past and present so that they can be raised as “anti-racist” and aware of others’ lack of advantages. There are many resources online to start the conversation. There’s a National Geographic article that summarizes the holiday very well. I also found a video to teach kids about the Wampanoag and the first Thanksgiving.
Utilizing technology to be with loved ones –
The CDC has some great suggestions about “being with loved ones” when everyone is in separate households. Holding a Zoom meeting with family members can provide a chance to have dinner together, watch the same program on TV, or even “cook together.” Here is another link for a more detailed virtual get-together for Thanksgiving.
Unfortunately, the cases in Oregon seem to be rising and the restrictions are growing tighter. But we can make the best of it with the great suggestions we have online, the local markets that ar ready to prepare food for us and deliver it from a distance, and families who are ready to customize their usual holiday routine. Best of luck to you all in celebrating yet another holiday in quarantine.