Thanksgiving: Holiday tips for family celebrations

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Today, Americans around the world will celebrate Thanksgiving. It is a holiday that we take seriously, and not only in the US.

American ex-pats will celebrate wherever they live. In some countries, it’s hard to find the necessary essential foods, such as cranberry sauce, or even whole turkeys. But no matter where we live, we try our best to reproduce the menu and the good feelings of this favorite holiday.

It is a family holiday and we like to involve family members who attend. It’s a time to create special family memories.

While the traditional dinner takes place on Thursday, many families get together for the long four-day weekend and enjoy many activities together. There is plenty of time to talk about family and make new memories.

Here are some tips for working family history into your turkey festival this year:

— Print out a large family tree so each person can find their name on the tree.

— Ask each guest to bring a copy of an old photo, even if the people are unidentified. Someone else at the table might recognize that photo.

— Encourage each person to share a story of an immigrant ancestor.

— Have each guest bring a chart of their immediate family, adding in new babies, marriages as well as the passing of immediate family members.

— Record your guests speaking about their families, but make sure to get their permission to record them.

— Take video and photos of all the guests and share them. Use your smartphones, tablets, video recorders and all of today’s technology.

— Make sure to upload these videos and photographs to your MyHeritage family site.

Specifically for the children, here’s an activity to get them started:

— Ask younger guests to write a poem about the holiday and sing the words to a well-known melody. Make sure to record the songs.

Encourage the children to interview the older generations with some suggestions to begin:

— What was Thanksgiving like when you were my age?

— What did you eat?

— What was your favorite game or toy?

— What was your favorite story your grandparents told you?

After the holiday, collect all the photos, the written stories of immigrant ancestors, and family charts to produce a guest album to be shared with all the guests.

These tips are good for all holidays when the family gathers.

Share your experiences below in the comments.

We wish you, your families and friends, a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday!

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