Spicing Up Your Seasonal Soirees

New Traditions and Activities to Incorporate in Your Fall Holiday Festivities



Thanksgiving Graphic

Hanna Grass, Writer

Since becoming a public holiday in 1862, Thanksgiving has taken place on the fourth Thursday of November each year. In the United States, it is widely celebrated by having family and friends gather for a traditional Thanksgiving dinner. Around the table, they will share what they are thankful for, whether that be the delicacies on their plates, blessings, certain people, pets, or even a sentimental object. The modern Thanksgiving is rather different from the first, celebrated by the Pilgrims after their first harvest in the New World in October 1621. But despite the divergence between the two, both versions are equally beautiful.

Approximately 53.4 million people in the U.S. travel for the Thanksgiving holiday each year. They spend upwards of a thousand dollars on flights, attire, decorations, and of course, the food. Thanksgiving is a big deal for Americans, but I think I’ve made that inherently clear by now.

My point being: If you’re going to put forth an extravagant effort for this November holiday, why not switch up the traditions? Why not keep things fun, different, and evolving like the ever-changing world we live in?

If you agree, take a look at these five new traditions you could incorporate into your Thanksgiving celebration going forward!

1. Dine Al Fresco

Of course, living in Kentucky, eating in an outdoor environment may not always be the way to go. Who knows what the forecast will have in store for us this year? However, if you are traveling to a more accommodating climate, this is a great method to specialize this year’s meal. It will create a new memory and conversation starters revolving around the scenery around you. Practically, it can also mean more table space if your yard is bigger than your dining room. This tradition may not be for everyone, but you cannot deny the aesthetic appeal of carving a turkey under a November sunset.

2. Hold Cuisine Competitions

Calling all competitive families, this one’s for you! Pick a favorite Thanksgiving dish and host a competition over who can make the most delicious, best decorated, or most innovative version. I would encourage you to steer away from choosing the turkey, ham, or any big entre, but appetizers, sides, and desserts are all up for grabs. Personally, I think a pie competition would be so much fun. You could express your inner baker with endless combinations of lattice decoration, or hone in on mesmerizing your guests’ taste buds. Creating competitions for different dishes can up a basic green bean casserole or sweet potato pie to a whole new level of tastiness. Try it for yourself!

3. Craft a Cornucopia

For those who don’t know, a cornucopia is an ornamental basket shaped like a goat’s horn often symbolizing abundance and nourishment. They can be placed as decoration around the house for guests to gaze at, or even as an eye-catching centerpiece at the dinner table. Unsure what to place in yours? Ask the friends and family attending to bring small autumnal objects that are meaningful to them. This could be leaves, flowers, candies, toys, and whatever else feels like your own personal bounty. Creating a cornucopia can give your Thanksgiving group another sense of community and belonging. It can get people thinking about the holiday weeks in advance and add something uniquely beautiful to the group gathered that Thursday in November.

4. Grow Your Gratitude

Thanksgiving is all about sharing what you are grateful for, whatever that may be. Sometimes however, it can be difficult to let that person know how much you appreciate them or realize all the things you are thankful for. One method to make this easier is to leave a cute little card for each guest to fill out when setting the table. You can direct them to scratch down something they are thankful for and before dining, go around the group and share what you wrote. It can be truly heartwarming to hear what your peers and family members have gratitude for, and can instill a realization of how lucky you are. Reflection over the goodness and beauty in our lives is so refreshing and something we need to do more often. Why not kick off the tradition at the holiday dedicated to recognizing our blessings itself, Thanksgiving.

5. Bond over A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving

Chances are, many of the adults in your Thanksgiving clan have watched this 1973 classic on Turkey Day at some point in their lives. For the younger members however, this family-friendly special may be completely foreign. If the group is feeling cozy, full, and lazy after the feast, try cuddling up on the couch to watch A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving. It is always available for Apple TV+ users, and will likely be streaming on Thanksgiving Day on your local channels. Whether from nostalgia or laughter, you will surely crack a smile while watching this treasure.

Thanksgiving is a holiday that some love and some feel indifferent to. It is nestled between two of the most popularly anticipated days of the year: Halloween and Christmas, and for this reason, is often overlooked for its pure, humble, and wholesome nature. If you are someone who finds Thanksgiving a bit bland or boring, I encourage you to spice up the celebration this year with one of these traditions, or something else altogether! Anything can be fun with the right attitude and a little bit of gravy on top.