11 Thanksgiving Traditions That Don't Involve Stuffing Your Face With Food (Not That You Shouldn't Do That)

We lovingly call it "turkey day", but Thanksgiving is so much more than a day dedicated to food. The holiday is one of my favorites, and some of my most memorable Thanksgiving traditions don't involve food. You know how some days just feel cozy? That's Thanksgiving to me. I love devouring my favorite dishes, but the idea of family togetherness and giving thanks trumps every piece of pie I consume that day.

Whether you have children or not, nothing beats a great holiday tradition. When I was pregnant, I was already brainstorming the traditions I would continue and start with my daughter. Thanksgiving morning, I nursed her in front of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, even though she had zero idea of what was going on. But it was one of my favorite memories as a kid, and I wanted to carry it on with her.

I mean, what's a holiday without traditions, right?If you're looking for some fun Thanksgiving traditions that don't involve cooking something with pumpkin, try one of these 11 out. Tweak them to fit you and your family, and marvel at how everyone brings them up year after year.


Watch The Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade

Other than the food and family , this is my favorite Thanksgiving tradition in our home. Because dinner is already in the oven at this point, I take this time to whip up some cinnamon rolls and sit down to relax. It doesn't matter how old I get, I can't pass up the opportunity to watch the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. Now that my daughter is into certain characters, it's even more fun and I can't wait to see her squeal and point at the floats she recognizes. It's such a fun way to start a great day.


Make A Thankful Tree

Whether you have kids or not, a thankful tree is a great way to keep kids entertained (and it doubles as a decoration too.) Build your tree before guests arrive, so they can fill out their "leaves" as they snack on appetaizers.



Volunteering is a phenomenal, hands-on way to really understand the meaning of Thanksgiving. Although volunteering at a homeless shelter or soup kitchen is incredibly noble, there are some other ways you can volunteer, like delivering meals to people at their homes or visiting with people at a nursing home or retirement center.


Watch 'A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving'

I mean, this has to be a tradition, right? Kids and adults alike love this classic holiday film. Don't worry if you don't own it; it's bound to be airing on some channel come Thanksgiving.


Pass Around The Pigskin

You may want a way to work off all the turkey. A fun game of touch football in the backyard is a great way to do that, while simmultaneously bonding with your family.


Board Games And Pie

When the kitchen's cleaned and you're ready to slice those pies, break out some board games, too. It's an activity that requires little mental or physcall effort, but still keeps peopel enfgaged. Have a tournament and crown whoever wins the champion... until next year.


Enjoy Home Movies

Now that I'm older and have lost a few family members, watching home videos is the best pastime. It's a wonderful way to teach your children about their family, while also laughing at your ridiculous fashion choices.


Have A Neighborhood Parade

After watching the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade as a kid, I was always ready to star in my own marching fun. Encourage your kids to decorate their bicycles and wagons, strut their stuff around the nieghborhood. It's a great time to say hi to your neighbors and share a cup of coffee while the kids stage their own extravaganza. Make sure to provide microphones or karaoke machines for the singing performances.


Have A Thanksgiving TV Marathon

The Thanksgiving episodes of your favorite sitcom totally deserve a marathon, right? So put the kids to bed, grab some wine, and get comfy on the couch for a few hours of comfort TV.

Images: Courtesy of martha_chapa95, Personal Creations, State Farm, Wendy Harman, Mike Fleming, Glenn Beltz/Flickr; Giphy (4)