Holidays are perfect times to have some extra family fun and build family traditions and memories. Today is Thanksgiving here in Canada. Here are some of our favourite Thanksgiving traditions:
As table favours and as little gifts for our neighbours, my daughter’s class, my students, and co-workers, we’d make these cookie turkeys. Essentially, you use one cookie for the base and one for the tail (I usually use fudge stripe cookies). Use frosting as your “glue” and add something as the body (I used a chocolate covered almond here), candy corn as the tail feathers, and then you can use candy corn for the head or some people will put small candies on for eyes etc, with something red like a red hot as the wattle.
Make a “thankful tree”. We’d cut out a tree trunk from cardboard and paint it. Then we’d cut out a bunch of leaves from coloured construction paper and every day, we’d write something we were grateful for on a leaf and add them to the tree trunk. The goal was to fill the tree with leaves before Thanksgiving came!
For our dinner guests, we’d use a smaller version of the thankful tree idea. We’d make turkeys for each of them using pine cones as the base (the walk on a cool Autumn day to gather the pine cones was half the fun!), acorns or something similar as the heads, and adding faces with markers or felt or something like that. We’d use leaves (real, fake, paper) as the tail feathers and for each pinecone turkey, we’d write down things about each person that we were thankful for on the leaves. These turkeys would be take home favours for our guests and would give them a visual reminder of just what we love about them!
Another option to use with our guests was the “5 Kernels of Corn” and this was always a very meaningful moment for all of us. At each place setting, we’d place 5 kernels of corn – either dried corn or candy corn. Then just before eating, we’d pass around a little cup and each person would drop a kernel in while stating something he/she was thankful for. We’d continue passing the cup around until all the kernels were put in it.
Blessing Mix: We would make this to snack on while waiting for the big holiday dinner to be ready. Mix together: Bugles corn snacks to represent cornucopias/horns of plenty (the harvest) , pretzel twists to represent arms folded in prayer or hugs, candy corn to represent the few kernels that early settlers had to survive on, nuts and/or seeds to represent the future harvest, Hershey’s Hugs and Kisses to represent the love of our families and friends, M & M’s to represent the Many Memories that we share. These were the basics but often my daughter would come up with a new idea and we’d adjust our recipe.
Another fun table favour, was to use an ice cream cone as a cornucopia – we’d put icing around the rim and then dip it into seeds or sprinkles or something like that. Then we’d fill the cones with a dried fruit and nut mix, topped off with Runts (fruit shaped candies – you can find other candies like gummies that are shaped as fruits too). When we’d lay them on people’s plates, the fruit candies would spill out of the cone onto the plate and make a really pretty display. Plus it was all edible!
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