• By: Adele Blair

Incorporate some new traditions into your Thanksgiving celebration


Dear Adele,

Thanksgiving is fast approaching and I'm at a loss about how to make it a special weekend for the immediate family. Covid-19 is impacting my traditions and I'm looking for some new ideas for a family of four and possibly a few guests. Can you help?

Out of Exciting New Ideas


Dear Out of Exciting New Ideas,

According to the Canadian Encyclopedia the first Thanksgiving after Canadian Confederation was observed on April 5, 1872. It was held as a civic holiday to celebrate the recovery of the Prince of Wales from an illness. It is now traditionally held on the second Monday in October and is a time to give thanks, celebrate the harvest and spend time with friends and family.

During the pandemic, you will need to observe some safety precautions that may preclude traditional celebrations of the holiday. However, you can still make it fun and meaningful for your family. Thanksgiving is an opportunity for good food and gratitude.

This year it is wise to keep your guest list small.Plan to stay 6 feet apart. Clean hands frequently and stay at home with your immediate family if you're feeling unwell. Make some rules about masks for your visitors and think about having out-of-town people stay at a hotel. October 2021 is not an ideal time for travel or for indoor parties so you might want to consider something outside.

Listed below are some fun ideas from which you might select to start some new family traditions given the parameters with which we must work to keep people safe from the coronavirus.

  • Start a gratitude jar
  • Research your family tree
  • Volunteer at a soup kitchen
  • Have a mini pumpkin hunt
  • Write Thanksgiving thank you cards
  • Organize a pie breakfast
  • Make personalized place cards for the table
  • Video chat with relatives
  • Take a drive through the Gatineau Hills
  • Try some new recipes
  • Collect nonperishable foods to donate
  • Make a seasonal craft
  • Start the day with mimosas or Bloody Mary’s
  • Make a Thanksgiving toast
  • Draw names to break the wishbone after supper
  • Take a group photo
  • Feed the geese at Andrew Haydon Park
  • Write notes of thanks on a paper tablecloth with marker pens
  • Enjoy a weekend away
  • Bake pumpkin muffins or cupcakes
  • Decorate Thanksgiving cookies in the shape of pumpkins apples or leaves
  • Drop off treats to those who are isolated
  • Play video games with family and friends at a distance
  • Let the children set the table
  • Watch a Thanksgiving movie such as Jim Henson's Turkey Hollow, Free Birds, The Blind Side. Anne of Green Gables: Fire and Dew, or the Turkey Bowl
  • Share beloved family stories
  • Play charades
  • Plan a family hike through an NCC trail
  • Write out your wishes for the future and share
  • Toss a football around in the yard
  • Thank the Creator with a special family prayer

Remember Out of Exciting New Ideas, that the holiday is about your family and friends and showing gratitude for life’s blessings. May you enjoy a special day with your loved ones. Hopefully the suggestions listed above have been helpful to your creation of a memorable Thanksgiving.

I will conclude with a few inspiring quotations:

Not what we say about our blessings, but how we use them, is the true measure of our thanksgiving. — W.T. Perkiser

We must find time to stop and thank the people who make a difference in our lives.” — John F. Kennedy

Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have you will never, ever have enough.— Oprah Winfrey

Happy thanksgiving to you Out of Exciting New Ideas!

Sincerely, Adele

I'm looking forward to your questions! Email me at maryadeleblair@gmail.com and please put Heart to Heart in the subject line. Note that all columns will remain anonymous.

Photo: iStock