Make This Thanksgiving Memorable

(Copyright 2000 Catholic Exchange)

Answers to Trivia:

1. 1621

2. Mexico and Central America

3. a hen

4. a tom

5. Benjamin Franklin

6. click

7. gobble

8. 3,500

9. North Carolina

10. 25 mph

11. the Wampanoag tribe

12. Yes, 55 mph

13. 90%

14. 50%

15. snood

16. Abraham Lincoln

17. Franklin D. Roosevelt

18. Israel

19. in cold water

20. true

Tips & Hints for the Host and Cook(s)

Large gatherings have become a major tradition during the holidays in America, and on no holiday is this more clearly the case than Thanksgiving Day. At any dinner table across our land, it’s not unusual to find several generations represented, along with a host of friends. As such, Thanksgiving is a time to laugh, reminisce and enjoy the company of those closest to you.

If you are the host this year, how will you make it the most memorable one yet? With so many loved ones gathered together, there are not only many mouths to feed, but also many hands and minds to keep entertained. Below are a range of ideas for making this the most fun, festive and successful Thanksgiving celebration yet.

Central to the Thanksgiving Day experience, of course, is a great dinner. Since the meal is the main highlight and focus of the day, you might try visiting a few of the major “turkey Web sites,” which feature not only great information and ideas on how to cook your turkey just right, but also information on how to make the best tasting side dishes and desserts. Some also provide other great Thanksgiving fun, including a virtual tour of a turkey operation.

Children’s Activities (Before Dinner)

Salt Dough

Whip up a batch of salt dough (1 cup flour, 1 cup salt, 1/2 cup water, or enough to make a non-sticky dough) and cut into fall shapes or use a fall cookie cutter (leaves, pumpkins, etc). Bake at 200 degrees, 30 minutes per side or longer if the item is thick or large. Paint and hang in windows on a stick “tree” anchored in more salt dough. The sky is the limit! You also can shape the dough into fall figurines for knick-knacks such as Indians, Pilgrims, turkeys, etc.

Thanksgiving Placemats

A great way to keep the children busy, while also including them in the preparations for the big dinner, is to ask them to make placemats for all the guests. Have the children think about characteristic traits of the invited guests and then make a placemat specifically for that person. If you have a newcomer, this activity gives children a chance to get to know her and makes that guest feel welcome in the process. They can use pictures from old magazines, drawings or both. To make the placemats, they’ll need construction paper, scissors, glue, crayons or markers, and old magazines.

Games for Everyone

The Traditional Family Football Game

Not just watching football on television but actually playing the game with family and friends remains a classic entrée of American fun on Thanksgiving Day. Be sure to take lots of photographs, and if someone has a video recorder, be sure to record it all. Nothing is funnier than watching the family football game after the Thanksgiving Dinner. You’ll see many things that you never knew went on (like Aunt Mildred mischievously tripping cousin Joe and completely denying it during the game, only to be caught red-handed on videotape afterward!).

Pin the Feathers on the Turkey

This game is a rendition of the favorite “Pin the Tail on the Donkey.” First, have the children draw a colorful turkey on construction board paper, minus its feathers. Then, have the children draw the feathers of the turkey on a separate piece of paper. Next, cut out the feathers and hand them to family members and friends. To begin the game, attach the turkey illustration to the wall. Decide who will go first (maybe have everyone draw feathers), and then blindfold that person and spin them around once. Point the player in the direction of the turkey illustration and let him attempt to pin the feather on the turkey. Other players can help the blindfolded player know how close he is to the turkey. The object of the game is of course, to pin the feather on the turkey in its proper position. The player closest to doing it right wins the prize.

Turkey Hunt

Have the kids trace and cut out different color turkeys. Someone hides them throughout the house, then the kids go on a turkey hunt. Have treats for all the players, with a little extra for the winner. Another option would be to hide all the turkeys but assign a certain color for each to find, or have them find one of each different color. The first one to collect all their color or one of each color (depending on the rules) is the winner.

The Dinner

A major tradition of any Thanksgiving Dinner is, of course, giving thanks and saying grace. Oftentimes, family and friends will go around the room, with each person saying something they are thankful for that year. Along with this, you might introduce a few new ideas into your pre-dinner repertoire such as having someone read a short passage about the history of Thanksgiving Day, and maybe for fun, doing the turkey trivia quiz (above).

Enjoy this great American holiday, and may God's blessings be upon you.

Thanksgiving Trivia

Here is some Thanksgiving trivia to try out at your dinner (the winner gets in line first!):

1. When was the first American Thanksgiving celebration?

2. Where was the turkey first domesticated?

3. What is a female turkey called?

4. What is a male turkey called?

5. What great American statesman lobbied to make the turkey the national symbol?

6. What sound does a female turkey make?

7. What sound does a male turkey make?

8. About how many feathers does a mature turkey have?

9. Which state produces the most turkeys annually?

10. How fast can wild turkeys run?

11. What Native American tribe celebrated the first Thanksgiving with the colonists?

12. Can wild turkeys fly? If so, how fast?

13. Approximately what percentage of American homes eats turkey on Thanksgiving?

14. Approximately what percentage of American homes eats turkey on Christmas?

15. What is the name of the skin that hangs from a turkey's neck?

16. Which U.S. president specified that Thanksgiving would fall on the fourth Thursday of November?

17. Which president attempted to move the Thanksgiving holiday to the next to last Thursday in November to create a longer Christmas shopping season?

18. Which country consumes the most turkey per year per capita?

19. What is the fastest way to defrost a turkey?

20. (True or False) Turkeys can drown if they look up when it’s raining.

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