Thanksgiving is a fantastic opportunity to take the bond you have with your husband and make it even stronger by developing some intentional Thanksgiving traditions for couples.
Thanksgiving is a time that every year, come the fourth Thursday in November, we celebrate those things in life for which we are grateful.
Not only that – it marks the beginning of the holiday season.
Although Thanksgiving is a time to be with family, and generally the bigger the better, it can be an important date for couples as well.
Whether it’s a few moments that you sneak together before the rush of the day or a couple’s only Thanksgiving celebration, developing some Thanksgiving traditions for couples will provide you with fun ways to celebrate Thanksgiving that reinforce the importance of your relationship.
So if you’re searching for some Thanksgiving traditions ideas, you’ll be sure to find something here with suggestions that will take you from dawn to dusk.
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Cook a pre-Thanksgiving breakfast
Given that you’ll be eating your Thanksgiving meal at around 3.00pm, you don’t want to go too crazy with breakfast, but you don’t want to go so lean you cave in around lunchtime either.
Anything with pumpkin in it can’t be wrong, so how about you try one of the following delicious Thanksgiving breakfast ideas?
Capture the spirit of Thanksgiving harvest
After breakfast, it’s time to start moving! One of the most fun things I’ve done this year is going strawberry picking on my birthday.
I chose that activity because both as a child, and also when my children were little, we had many a happy time going out to pick berry fruit. This is hooking into the same vibe.
Channel your inner harvester and go to an apple orchard or pumpkin patch and pick your own apples or pumpkin.
When you’re done, you can go home and make some apple pie (see below for some recipes) or some tasty pumpkin-based treats.
Connect with nature
Another fantastic couple’s Thanksgiving tradition is to get out into nature by going for a walk.
Whether it’s a fast-paced, pre-Thanksgiving “burn off breakfast before indulging in dinner” walk, or a leisurely post-dinner stroll, wrap up warmly, then get outside and appreciate nature before the onset of Winter.
Remember those who have passed
While you’re walking, another idea is to share memories of those people who have passed – people who made your life brighter and more beautiful.
Share with each other the favorite memory you have of that person. If you have a special Thanksgiving memory that features them, then that’s even better.
Who we are is the sum of our experiences and the sum of the people who have shared in and shaped our lives. Honoring those people is a lovely Thanksgiving idea for couples to share in that also helps you learn more about each other.
Make someone else’s life a little better
One of the things I’ve spent a lot of time working on is my tendency to feel stressed and / or unhappy with my life when things are not happening exactly as I’d hoped for.
When I think about how much I have, I can’t believe that I can feel that way. I am sure there any many, MANY people out there who would give anything to have a life like mine.
Heck, even having a roof over my head, food in my fridge, and running water, makes me blessed beyond many.
Take some of that gratitude for the life you have and make someone else’s life a little better.
There are so many ways in which you can do this:
- volunteer at a soup kitchen
- donate to the food bank
- pay for someone else’s coffee
- go do a chore for someone who is struggling
- pick up rubbish at your favorite park
- do some yard work for an elderly neighbor
- take a Thanksgiving treat to someone alone this year
- donate money to a worthy cause
- let someone go in front of you at the supermarket
- donate your good quality clutter to a charity store
Get Thankful at Thanksgiving
Another way that you as a couple can focus on the joy of the holiday is by thinking of all the things you are thankful for, either for your life as a whole or in your life together.
- Get into the spirit of gratitude by starting a Thankful jar. Purchase a large jar like this one. Every day, on a small slip of paper, write something that you were thankful for that day. Don’t forget to add the date! At the next Thanksgiving you have, get the jar and share the things you were thankful for over the preceding 12 months.
- Write a Thankful love letter, sharing everything your spouse does that you are thankful for. It can be as small as making you a cup of coffee in the morning, to as large as marrying you in the first place! Once you have written the letters to each other, read them, and then store them to enjoy rereading every year.
Add a new food to the Thanksgiving menu
Chances are your Thanksgiving menu is a smorgasbord of things you both grew up with and loved.
Make a Thanksgiving tradition of adding in one new item to the menu – something you’ve always wanted to try but never got around to, or simply something you’ve found on Pinterest that looks Thanksgiving worthy.
Over time THIS food item might be the one your children make for their families in the years to come.
Top tip: If the recipe looks a little complicated and the Thanksgiving meal is high stakes (eg you are preparing it for people beyond just you and your husband) then give it a practice run first.
You can also start easy with Thanksgiving appetizers.
You might also like: 25 easy Thanksgiving recipes you can make in the Instant Pot.
Make a Thanksgiving dessert together
They say a couple that bakes together stays together – don’t they?
I never had much of a sweet tooth until I hit my mid-thirties. That was also the time I met my husband – so I can tell you, we have shared many a happy time over eating sweet treats (and many a not so happy time on the scales).
Take it to the next level by starting a Thanksgiving tradition of making dessert together.
What’s more, making dessert is the perfect thing to do before starting the next activity.
Watch a holiday movie
If you’ve made that dessert, then it’s time to sit down and watch a holiday movie that will get you into the Thanksgiving spirit.
Some Thanksgiving related movies to watch at this time of year include:
Neal Page is an advertising executive who just wants to get home to Chicago to spend Thanksgiving with his family. But Del Griffith - a loud-mouthed salesman, seems determined to lead Neal on a wild goose chase that will keep him from tasting his Thanksgiving turkey.
Retired Lt Colonel Frank is blind and impossible to get along with. To pay for a trip home for Christmas, Charlie agrees to look after Frank over Thanksgiving. Frank's niece thinks this will be easy money - but she didn't count on Frank spending his Thanksgiving in New York.
Incorporate a Thanksgiving tradition from another culture
If your day won’t be spent with family eating a massive meal and then lounging on the sofa wearing elasticated pants, then why not turn things on their head a little?
A new Thanksgiving tradition for couples can be to celebrate this super traditional day for the USA by bringing in an idea from another culture.
Thanksgiving is celebrated in Leiden in the Netherlands by some, as en route to the New World, the pilgrims stopped there for some 11 years (so just a short visit). Connect with those pilgrim roots by serving up some Dutch apple pie.
Thanksgiving in Germany is also celebrated, though the celebration is connected to honoring the harvest. Part of their celebrations includes lantern parades. Purchase some paper lanterns and hang them around your home, creating a warm, soothing ambiance.
The cornucopia (meaning horn of plenty) originates with the ancient Greeks and Romans. In Greek mythology, it was created by Zeus to give the owner a never-ending supply of whatever they desired. Explore this idea by getting a horn shaped basket and filling it with special treats (food and otherwise) to indulge in throughout the day.
Get into the spirit of Lammas – a pre-Thanksgiving festival in the British Isles, where it’s traditional to bake a loaf of bread with the first wheat harvest.
Stop: Photo time
So many times we take the photo. Thanksgiving is a great time to be in the photo.
Make this a fun Thanksgiving tradition more fun by printing out these free Thanksgiving photo booth accessories to use in your photo session!
Gift Thanksgiving decor
This activity needs to take place in part before Thanksgiving rolls around. Go out shopping together with the aim of purchasing a special item for each other that marks the Thanksgiving season.
Alternatively you can find Thanksgiving decor online.
Try to find decor that has some symbolic meaning you can attach to it. For example, a ceramic house might be an appropriate Thanksgiving ornament for a couple who has just shifted into a new home.
After your Thanksgiving meal, gift each other your ornaments and then display them in a prominent position. Over the years you will add to your collection.
If you have been able to pick ones that have meaning, then you can share the reason why you selected it with your spouse.
This Thanksgiving tradition can create lasting memories that will be refreshed every time you decorate the house for the Thanksgiving season.
Create a memory
Do you know that our memories are such that we take events that are super similar and essentially compress them into “one” memory?
This is why you can’t remember the specific details of the trip you take every day into work if there is nothing unusual about that trip.
It’s when things are unusual – such as you are forced to take a detour because there was an accident, or you got a flat tire – that you remember that specific event.
Work against this tendency of the human brain and make an effort to do something new and different every Thanksgiving (maybe even one of these new traditions).
If it is just you and your husband on your own, then try something you’ve always wanted to do – it doesn’t even have to be associated with Thanksgiving.
Just make it unique and novel and you will embed this memory to be savored for many years to come.
Get back to your roots
Another thing to do if circumstances are such that you are not spending Thanksgiving with any family is to get back to basics, just like the pilgrims.
Hopefully, you also have the Friday off work – if so then time to book a remote cabin in the woods, preferably where there’s no wifi or data access to be found.
Make it a mission to have four days off the grid – to rest, reconnect, and experience the last days of Fall enjoying everything nature has to offer.
I don’t know if there’s a better Thanksgiving tradition for couples to experience than this.
Summing up these Thanksgiving ideas for couples
Whether it’s as simple as a breakfast with just the two of you, or an all out retreat, you’ll find Thanksgiving tradition ideas here with your marriage at the center.
After all, a happy marriage is definitely something to be thankful for.
What Thanksgiving traditions for couples will you celebrate this year?