Thanksgiving traditions to start now

Nov 13, 2012 at 3:00 p.m. ET

Traditions are the glue of any family holiday and creating your own can help make the season more meaningful. Instead of huddling around the television to watch football after your holiday feast, start a few new family traditions this Thanksgiving.

As families age and grow, some traditions have a tendency to fall to the wayside. People move or decide they'd rather do something else. Maybe it's time to renovate some of those old traditions!

Here are seven new Thanksgiving traditions to consider: 

Go for a walk

What better way to work off the extra pounds consumed on one of the biggest eating days of the year than taking a brisk walk around your neighborhood? Many cities across the country offer 3-5K Turkey Trots. Visit for more information.

Touch down!

Instead of parking in front of the TV to watch the big game, why not play a game of touch football on your lawn or at a local park? Invite your neighbors and start an annual friendly competition.

What are you thankful for?

Rather than have each person around the table announce what they are most thankful for, have them write it down on a colorful piece of paper and keep everyone's notes in a glass jar to revisit and share all year long. Makes for a pretty centerpiece too.

Ready, set, bake

If you have family or friends visiting for the holiday, put them to work and bake your Thanksgiving desserts together. Set up an assembly line for pie making or cookie decorating. Crank some music and make it a party.

Get cozy

Pop some popcorn, cuddle up and watch a classic holiday movie together. Here are a few family-friendly Thanksgiving-themed films we love:

Home For The Holidays (1995) - It doesn't get any better than this. Jodie Foster's directorial debut is about family coming together for Thanksgiving and all the craziness that that entails. Featuring an all-star cast including Holly Hunter, Robert Downey Jr., Claire Danes and Anne Bancroft.

Planes, Trains and Automobiles (1987) - One of the best John Hughes comedies, this movie is sure to have your entire family in stitches. An advertising executive who just wants to fly home to spend Thanksgiving with his family is stuck with a loud but lovable salesman during an unbelievable succession of blizzards, transfers, strikes and delays. Steve Martin and John Candy are hilarious in this classic.

A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving (1973) - No one does the holidays better that Snoopy and the gang. This classic and charming tale of the ever-unfortunate Charlie Brown putting together a Thanksgiving meal for his friends is delightful. A perfect Thanksgiving film for the whole family.

Give back

Looking for a great way to teach your children the importance of community service and the beauty of giving back? Consider delivering food to the needy, volunteer at a local soup kitchen or homeless shelter. Visit your local social service office for a listing of soup kitchens in your area or ask an administrator at your child's school or the pastor at your church. Keep in mind that those in need, need help all year so if you enjoy the experience, try to make your goodwill last all year long.

Say turkey

No matter how you and your family spend Thanksgiving, be sure to capture some special candid moments on film, er, I mean digital. Start an album and add to it each year and over time you'll enjoy looking back on holidays passed.

Remember that your family traditions should be personal and meaningful to you and the people that you share the holiday with, so be mindful of the way you incorporate new traditions into your celebration, and you'll be sure to create a day that nobody will forget.

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