8 Memorable Ideas for Bonding with Family on Thanksgiving

  • Deborah HaddixCrosswalk.com Contributing Writer

8 Memorable Ideas for Bonding with Family on Thanksgiving

When your family gathers for Thanksgiving, what does it look like? Is there a table for the adults and one for the kids? Do the adults and kids eat together at the same time? Are all the adults in one room while the children play in another or do all the generations of your family huddle together?

I ask, because whether we are conscious of it or not, most of us live our life by an unwritten societal rule which has developed over the last century. The rule’s beginnings can be traced back in history to the time when one room schoolhouses were abandoned for schools with age-specific classrooms. It then became more entrenched into our society when its influence spread to the church manifesting itself in age-specific Sunday school classes and season-specific ministries.

This unwritten rule assumes that people are happier with others close to their own age.

The effects of this rule are not all bad. Age-specific groupings allow us to tailor such things as curriculum and activities and make it easier for us to form friendships with those in the same season of life.

However, if we allow our lives to be guided by this rule, we lose something fundamental – the intergenerational connection. And it’s this connection that is crucial to family bonding.

Sure, it’s easier to seat the children at a smaller table and let them go off to play by themselves. (It’s often a lot quieter, too!) But the effort expended in creating opportunities for interaction and connection is so worthwhile, reaping benefits for each family member no matter their generation.

As Thanksgiving approaches, consider these 7 ideas for bonding with family.

1. Establish Routines

Establish routines for mealtime, bedtime, the beginning of the day, outings, or anything else you can think of. Children (and even many adults) thrive on schedules and routine. Additionally, some people are wired to have a better day when they know ahead what’s coming.

Sweet memories and enduring traditions are often born out of the routines we enjoy.

2. Help Your Family Disconnect

We live in a face-paced, technology-saturated world. It’s so important to make time to disconnect—from social media, electronical devices, and other distractions of our often hurried daily life.

Encourage reconnection among family members by turning off the TV, collecting phones and other devices at the door, observing “tech-free” time, or whatever works for your family.

3. Guard Mealtimes

Set the stage for conversation and interaction. Institute a “no phones at the table” policy. Seat family members together regardless of age—mix it up! Be ready with some conversation-starting topics or questions.

You might even consider setting the stage by simplifying meal preparation so that more time and energy can be spent on family time. Rather than fixing a big, traditional meal, cook a quick family favorite or prepare something ahead and pull it from the freezer. Another option is to ditch dinner prep completely and enjoy time together eating at your favorite restaurant.

4. Foster a Positive, Healthy Atmosphere

Thanksgiving gatherings are not the time for lectures or the airing of dirty laundry. If there are things that need to be addressed, it should be done privately and appropriately.

Instead, promote bonding by creating an atmosphere where family members feel encouraged and built up.

“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up,” – 1 Thessalonians 5:11

Unsure where to begin? Try using your words to create a positive, healthy atmosphere when your family gathers. Compliment your grandchild’s obedience and effort. Commend your adult child’s character and quality of work. Acknowledge the faithfulness and contributions of your spouse.

5. Model the Life and Love of Christ

Family gatherings are a wonderful and effective vehicle for building bonds.

However, just as those bonds cannot be built among lectures and the airing of dirty laundry, they cannot be built in the presence of your sermons. Avoid the inclination to jump on your soapbox and preach while you have the family gathered.

Instead model the life and love of Christ. Practice the art of sharing your story when the mood and the conversation are right. Learn to listen well when your family members are sharing their story. Engage those who are gathered with questions that require a thoughtful response and provide insight into their lives.

6. Plan for Intergenerational Interactions

No, every moment of your family gathering doesn’t have to be planned out, nor does it have to be intergenerational.

It’s actually a good idea to allow for some time when all the adults can talk with one another, and the kids can go off to play together. Remember the good benefits of age-specific groupings. However, the bonding of family cannot happen if there is never any time set aside for members to interact with one another across the generations.

When your family gathers this Thanksgiving, be sure to plan some time when all the members are invited to be involved in something together.  This time can be as simple as pulling out some board games or heading outdoors for some kickball, tag, or hide-and-seek.

If games aren’t your thing, interact with one another as you enjoy some story time. Take turns telling stories about your childhood, designate a theme for your stories, or create your own by having each family member add a line in turn.

There are so many ways to create moments for interaction while tapping into the strengths and talents of your family. Learn new songs together, sing Karaoke, dance, create pizzas for a family pizza party, go for a hike, hold a scavenger hunt indoors or out, or start a family YouTube channel. The options are as great and varied as the interests of your family.

7. Create Traditions

Tradition is the handing down of something (information, statements, beliefs, legends, customs, etc.) from generation to generation. It’s a planned habit that has significance.

Family traditions help us look forward and backward. They provide a sense of belonging and create special bonding memories that will be treasured for a lifetime.

Consider instituting a new family tradition or two as your family gathers for Thanksgiving.

Do you prepare your turkey in a deep fryer? How about holding a “Does It Deep Fry?” after your main meal? This one comes from personal experience. My son-in-law introduced it a couple of years ago, and now everyone looks forward it to with great anticipation. This one new tradition brings to our gathering all kinds of crazy ideas and foods to throw into the deep fryer. While not quite as adventurous, perhaps an annual evening of S’mores around the firepit is more suited to your taste.

8. Enjoy a Family Outing the Day after Thanksgiving

Go to the same place every year or mix it up. How about bowling, roller skating, rock climbing, a visit to the zoo, or a stroll through a museum? Hold a Thanksgiving competition. Pit families or generations against one another in dance, song, joke telling, or cupcake baking. Shoot it out in a Nerf gun war.

Put your heads together and plan the family’s annual vacation or volunteer together at a local ministry/charity.

As you make plans for your upcoming Thanksgiving gathering, consider your family and the time you will spend together. Which ideas fit your family’s makeup and time frame? Choose one or two and plan for their incorporation into your holiday observance. Connecting the generations in these small but memorable ways helps to build fruitful family bonds.


cover of the book Connect by Deborah HaddixDeborah Haddix is the author of Connect: Passing the Faith. She also serves as co-director of Resources and Education for Christian Grandparenting Network’s Prayer Ministry. Deborah writes, blogs, speaks, and coaches on topics related to biblical grandparenting, other life relationships, and soul care. Read the blog and find resources at her website.

Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/monkeybusinessimages

Where I’m the Least Thankful – Thanksgiving Devotional – Nov. 14

 

Suzie Eller Where I’m the Least Thankful
SUZIE ELLER

EDITOR’S NOTE: Every day throughout November, we’ll bring you one devotional from our archives about Thanksgiving, giving thanks, gratitude, or giving of ourselves. Check back every morning as you thank the Lord for your many blessings!

“Jesus asked, ‘Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine?’” Luke 17:17 (NIV)

I’m terrible at Thanksgiving crafts, but I see those gratitude jars on Pinterest and think they’re a fantastic idea. I imagine that I pull a Mason jar from the cabinet and tie a burlap ribbon around it. Then I’ll grab a slip of patterned paper to try my hand at calligraphy, but admittedly my “G” looks a little crazy.

I hang in there. It’s not about the jar, right? It’s about the little slips of paper I’ll put in there every day. I’ll be like a gratitude ninja and capture sweet moments for which I’m thankful. Of course, I’ll jot them down immediately and then — maybe later that year, say Christmas — we’ll pull them out and read them as a family.

Everyone will smile at the memories …

Then reality kicks in. It’s more likely my gratitude jar will have three or four slips of paper, and the jar will be shoved on a shelf somewhere, forgotten. It’s a great idea, but somehow a pretty jar doesn’t do the heart work for me.

In Luke 17:11, ten lepers dare to approach Jesus. They are unclean. They are contagious, at least in close quarters. Jesus sends them to the priest, and on the way their disease is healed. No more disfigurement. No more pain. They can return to their jobs and families. Imagine their joy as they danced into the temple, showing the priest their restored fingers and skin as new as a babe.

One, a Samaritan (foreigners whom Jews considered total outcasts), returns to thank Jesus.

Only one.

There is no doubt the other nine are just as elated, but only one is grateful enough to return and thank Jesus. Nine people are healed on the exterior, but there’s some inner work that still needs to be done.

Sometimes our greatest heart work takes place when we acknowledge where we are the least thankful.

Maybe this Thanksgiving your house will be full. There’ll be dirty dishes. Lots of them. Maybe your dad will tell that same old joke — the corny one that isn’t that funny, but he can’t help but tell it. It’s easy to get distracted by the noise or the mess, but I can’t help but wonder, What if we stepped into our ingratitude with honesty?

Dear Lord, today I saw the mess and heard the noise but failed to be grateful for the people around the table. Let me pause for a moment and point out all the reasons I’m thankful.

Perhaps you’ve been busy at work. I know I have.

Oh Lord, I gripe about my workload, when just a year ago I was praying for a job. Have I stopped to thank You for provision?

I just celebrated another birthday. When I look in the mirror, I see those years adding up.

Father, I see wrinkles and years gaining, but I failed to thank You for another day. I’d like to change that.

When we step honestly into areas of ingratitude, it has the power to change us. We run back to Jesus, aware of the immense gifts we’ve been given.

Maybe one day I’ll make that pretty jar with a burlap ribbon, but for now I’m asking the Holy Spirit to open my eyes to see where ingratitude might be taking root.

This Thanksgiving, let’s listen to our words. Let’s look for the miracles and write them on our hearts.

Let’s run to Jesus and tell Him … thank You.

Father, sometimes I take my miracles for granted, or I think You already know that I’m grateful. For whatever reason, I haven’t expressed that, and I want to do it today. I’m falling to my knees to say how grateful I am. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

TRUTH FOR TODAY:
1 Thessalonians 5:18, “In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” (NKJV)

Romans 14:6a, “Whoever regards one day as special does so to the Lord.” (NIV)

1 Chronicles 16:34, “Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever.” (NIV)

RELATED RESOURCES:
Suzie Eller’s new bookCome With Me: Discovering the Beauty of Following Where He Leads, offers a chapter entitled “Living a Life of Thank You.”

CONNECT:
Today on her blog, Suzie offers a free printable prayer book and a giveaway of her book, Come With Me.

REFLECT AND RESPOND:
We are often hyper-aware of others’ ingratitude but can be blind to our own.

Ask a trusted, godly friend if they’ll share one way that you express gratitude well and one way you can get better. Take those words and allow the Holy Spirit to begin His work.

© 2016 by Suzie Eller. All rights reserved.

<strongProverbs 31 Ministries
630 Team Rd., Suite 100
Matthews, NC 28105
www.Proverbs31.org</strong

Destroying The Beautiful Land – Dave’s Daily Devo – November 14

20191114

Destroying The Beautiful Land     

Daniel 11:16-19

Though the wild fires seek to destroy some of the most beautiful parts of California with its glorious mix of mountain and sea, millions still are willing to take the risk of living on the west coast fault line because of the beauty. So what happens if we ask God, our Creator, “Which land do you call  beautiful?”

Just check out the land he promised to give to Abraham and his descendants. And when Moses sent the twelve spies to explore Canaan, they returned with grape clusters heavy enough to carry on poles on their shoulders. And in Daniel’s time, the prophet Ezekiel reminded his exiled people that God had promised to give them a land flowing with milk and honey, the most beautiful of all lands (Ezekiel 20:6). And like California, Israel has the sea on the west, beautiful forests and mountains in the north, and dry desert in the south.

In his vision of the wars between Persia and  Greece and the division of Alexander the Great’s Empire, Daniel told us then about a ruler who would rise up against the “beautiful land” (Daniel 8:9). In our section today he begins to set the stage for the desecration of the Temple in Jerusalem by predicting how Antiochus Epiphanes’ father would conquer the Egyptians and take firm control of Israel.

“The invader, the King of the North, will come and do as he pleases and no one will be able to stand before him. He will stand in the Beautiful Land and have in his hand the power to destroy it. He will set his face to come with all the power of his kingdom and will seek to smooth things over with the King of the South, giving him a daughter in marriage. His true intent will be to gain control over Egypt, but he will not achieve this end. Then he will turn his attention to the western coastlands and take control of many of them. But a commander will put an end to his insolence and turn his overstep in the west against him. After being blocked in the coastlands, he will return to the fortresses of his own country, but will stumble and fall, and will be found no more.”

Antiochus III is called the great because he did break the power of the Ptolemies over Israel and Lebanon. As Daniel predicted he had control over Jerusalem to do with it as he pleased. In 198 BC he entered the city and many looked upon him as a deliverer because they resented the Egyptian control. Little did they realize that in 23 years this ruler’s son would bring one of the worst periods in Jewish history.

Antiochus III did give Cleopatra  to Ptolemy V, the Egyptian ruler, as a wife. His purpose was for them to have a son who would become the heir to the throne and Antiochus would then be in control of both the Seleucid and Ptolemaic lands. Instead Cleopatra fell in love with her husband and turned against her father.

Her father turned his attention to the “coastlands,” the islands of the Mediterranean and the coast of what is today Turkey. The Roman government wasn’t about to put up with this venture towards Italy. They sent Lucius Cornelius Scipio against Antiochus and the Romans routed the Syrians at Thermopylae. They pursued Antiochus and defeated his much larger army at Symrna in 190 BC. The fourth iron empire, more powerful than all the rest, had begun to raise its head. Back in Syria, Antiochus III was killed by an angry mob in 187 BC.

LORD, again you bring down the insolent, arrogant ruler who falsely believes he can do whatever he wants. Also help me to be strengthened today as I see how you controlled the flow of history in the past. So I can trust you with the future.

For more from Dave Wyrtzen please visit TruthEncounter.com!

Love Life And Nature Rhythm

Spice up your world with Love,Life,Nature Rhythm.

Predestinated

Divinely Purposed

World News Exposed

Get all your news here!

lifezblogs

About: Stuff.

Nigeria no (1) wapcodehub.com

Home Music Video Entertainment | WAPCODEHUB TV | NEWS| WAPCODEHUB LIST | DJ MIX | TALK ZONE | SPORTS | WEDDING | BIRTHDAY | MORE | ON WAPCODEHUB.CALL +2348156633583

EA&EL

ea el solutions

God's Grace ~ God's Glory!

~ declaring His kingdom ~ for His glory

Starved Soul

A soul starved is a spirit fed.

Nieuws van de Dag

Breaking News

Marked Life

The Christian [Millennial] Woman delivered, restored, and set apart

Still Smiling

Smiling through the good times and the bad

Let's Talk

Life is running,Time is running, So the power, Use it.

Ten Lies I Believed

Lessons in repentance from a Latter-day Inmate

Grace to be Imperfect

A Christian's Journey through Social Anxiety

LIVING THE DREAM

MEET ME THROUGH MY CREATIONS

Jesus is King

Twitters Anonymous

Love Life And Nature Rhythm

Spice up your world with Love,Life,Nature Rhythm.

Predestinated

Divinely Purposed

World News Exposed

Get all your news here!

lifezblogs

About: Stuff.

Nigeria no (1) wapcodehub.com

Home Music Video Entertainment | WAPCODEHUB TV | NEWS| WAPCODEHUB LIST | DJ MIX | TALK ZONE | SPORTS | WEDDING | BIRTHDAY | MORE | ON WAPCODEHUB.CALL +2348156633583

EA&EL

ea el solutions

God's Grace ~ God's Glory!

~ declaring His kingdom ~ for His glory

Starved Soul

A soul starved is a spirit fed.

Nieuws van de Dag

Breaking News

Marked Life

The Christian [Millennial] Woman delivered, restored, and set apart

Still Smiling

Smiling through the good times and the bad

Let's Talk

Life is running,Time is running, So the power, Use it.

Ten Lies I Believed

Lessons in repentance from a Latter-day Inmate

Grace to be Imperfect

A Christian's Journey through Social Anxiety

LIVING THE DREAM

MEET ME THROUGH MY CREATIONS

Jesus is King

Twitters Anonymous

Love Life And Nature Rhythm

Spice up your world with Love,Life,Nature Rhythm.

Predestinated

Divinely Purposed

World News Exposed

Get all your news here!

lifezblogs

About: Stuff.

Nigeria no (1) wapcodehub.com

Home Music Video Entertainment | WAPCODEHUB TV | NEWS| WAPCODEHUB LIST | DJ MIX | TALK ZONE | SPORTS | WEDDING | BIRTHDAY | MORE | ON WAPCODEHUB.CALL +2348156633583

EA&EL

ea el solutions

Love Life And Nature Rhythm

Spice up your world with Love,Life,Nature Rhythm.

Predestinated

Divinely Purposed

World News Exposed

Get all your news here!

lifezblogs

About: Stuff.

Nigeria no (1) wapcodehub.com

Home Music Video Entertainment | WAPCODEHUB TV | NEWS| WAPCODEHUB LIST | DJ MIX | TALK ZONE | SPORTS | WEDDING | BIRTHDAY | MORE | ON WAPCODEHUB.CALL +2348156633583

EA&EL

ea el solutions

%d bloggers like this: