Friday, November 16, 2012

A Mom's Guide To... THANKSGIVING

© The Norman Rockwell Estate; used with permission
Norman Rockwell's "Freedom From Want" (1943)
Thanksgiving is coming! Time to count your blessings. I love this Norman Rockwell painting, as so many others do as well. It is a gentle reminder of a simpler time, of time with families, and how blessed many of us are. Rockwell captured such beautiful images of life is such a perfect manner.

I truly believe that Thanksgiving is the official start of the holiday season. But that said, it is also its own holiday and should be honored as such. It's hard not to get caught up in the holiday hoopla early, however. This post will hopefully inspire you with some true Thanksgiving fun and traditions for families with little ones.

That's why it's

"A Mom's Guide To... Thanksgiving!"

We don't actually have Thanksgiving at our house. We have family to visit and see, and that said, I don't make a turkey with the trimmings. My specialty is dessert, particularly cookies. I try and make a few different kinds to offset the numerous pie options that abound for the holiday.

Last year's cookies: Snickerdoodles, chocolate turkeys and pumpkin pie cookies.
I try to make kid-friendly cookies. Turkey cut-outs, in some form, are always a must. Last year it was chocolate turkeys, this year it will sugar cookie turkeys, I think. One year I made these:

They were easy and adorable, but not my "taste." They looked cute, but the combination of fruit roll-ups and icing and Reese's Pieces and cookie was too much for me. I think I might make Aunt Ruthie's Snickerdoodles again this year and some Oreo truffles, which are easy and loved. I've pinned a few other cookie ideas this year on my "It's Fall, Y'All" board.

Thanksgiving decor does not have to break the bank. I think natural items are best for the harvest holiday, like acorns and pine cones and gourds. 

I love this little centerpiece:

Source: via Kellie on Pinterest

It's also great to leave the decorating to the kids. Have them make handprint turkeys on this cute free printable page. Family Fun also has a great printable placemat activity sheet. Older kids might enjoy this Mad Libs-style fill-in story sheet. And how cute is this FREE paper doll printable from TipJunkie:

So cute! If you have little girls, this could be a fun project for them to do on the holiday.

I'm not a big sit-around-and-watch-football person on Thanksgiving. Last year, the twins were so active and crazy I actually packed them up in the stroller and walked them around my aunt's neighborhood a few times. I was by myself -- everyone else was too stuffed or cleaning up to walk with me, but it was probably my most enjoyable moment of the holiday. I might do it again this year. When I saw this (below), I thought of my walk and realized how fun it might be for Big Girl and the twins to try and do this:

Source: via Kellie on Pinterest

Now on to other distractions for the little ones: If I had some extra cash, I think it would be cute to have this to pull out every November for the little ones:

It's a Fisher-Price Little People Thanksgiving set ($17 at It's so cute. We have Christmas ones that I pull out every year and they are always annual hit. I'd like to add this to the collection, but I don't really want to spend the money right now! You can use them as a decoration that the kids can actually touch! And it would make a great little centerpiece for a Thanksgiving kids' table.

Of course, no holiday would be complete without some entertainment! (It's also good to have a few special things to watch when you need to be in the kitchen preparing, right?) Of course, it wouldn't be a holiday with a Peanuts special, would it? A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving is fun, especially with Snoopy's unconventional holiday meal.

I also have always loved the Thanksgiving episode of "The Brady Bunch," with the funny film they make about the pilgrims. So retro and cool. If you are looking for this episode on DVD, it is from Season Two of the series.

Of course, it wouldn't be a holiday without a Disney movie! Pocahontas is the perfect choice for Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving is also the perfect time to watch "Miracle on 34th Street." The classic holiday movie begins on Thanksgiving, with the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. You can choose between two versions: the 1947 original or the 1994 remake. Both are worthy of watching and make great entertainment to kick off the holiday season.

Hallmark's An Old-FashionedThanksgiving is a great addition to any Thanksgiving family movie marathon. The film was inspired by a short story about Isabella Caldwell, a high-society woman in late 1800s New York. Her estranged daughter Mary falls ill and is too proud to ask her mother for assistance. Mary's daughter, Tilly, contacts her daughter and pleads for help. Isabella's arrival is not welcomed heartily, but the film chronicles how to heal deep wounds in a family-oriented way. The 2009 made-for-television movie is available on DVD.

I hope that some of these ideas make your holiday more special. 

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