Celebrating Thanksgiving in a Meaningful Way + Free Download


For some of us, we love all things fall and Thanksgiving. Our homes are decorated with farm-picked pumpkins and crisp, colorful leaves. The smells of freshly baked muffins waft through the air. For others of us, the rush of the season leaves us pressed for time. We set out a Walmart-bought pumpkin, light an autumn spice candle, and call it good. No matter where you fall on the decorating spectrum, celebrating Thanksgiving as a family is a tradition worth pondering.


Celebrating Thanksgiving through Story

Thanksgiving – the little holiday tucked in between the increasingly popular Halloween and the all-too-commercialized Christmas. It’s easily brushed over. Overshadowed by turkey, football, and parades.

However, there are a few resources that can help you turn your Thanksgiving season into one that celebrates the true reason why we observe it. This is so easy with just a couple of good books.  Cuddling on the couch and discussing a good book is so relaxing and a good discussion brings an event like Thanksgiving to life.

Take a moment to talk about the Pilgrims and their interaction with the Indians. Discuss how hard life was for the first settlers; why they chose to come to America; and what legacy they wanted to leave. Discuss the character traits of the Pilgrims.

Here are a few books that my family has enjoyed:

Squanto, Friend Of The Pilgrims

Thanksgiving: A Time to Remember– a great audiobook to turn on and listen to while snuggled under blankets and sipping hot chocolate or tea; or in the car as you run errands or drive to grandma’s house!

Squanto’s Journey: The Story of the First Thanksgiving

Squanto and the Miracle of Thanksgiving

Stories of the Pilgrims

Celebrating Thanksgiving through Song

Why not listen to some Thanksgiving Hymns? Music can have such a powerful impact on our hearts, especially for children. We like to either begin our mornings in worship or listen in the afternoon to revive our souls. These are perfect times to focus our hearts on a song of thanks/praise. Why not follow by reading one of the many Scriptures that extols God’s character and Jesus’ sacrifice.

The Psalms are a great place to start – Psalm 103, 107, 118, 136 to name just a few…

As a bonus, the audiobook mentioned above by Barbara Rainey includes a CD of Thanksgiving Hymns – 16 tracks of instrumental hymns that provide heart-warming relaxation.

Celebrating Thanksgiving through Study

Sometimes we can get laser-focused on checking off boxes and pressing forward in our curriculum that we neglect the holiday of this magnitude right before us that can bring great educational value. Don’t forget you can take a detour and study something…that’s not even in your curriculum!

Thanksgiving provides a perfect time to perhaps set aside some of your daily curricula and do a unit study on the Pilgrims. Even if you are studying ancient civilizations, or haven’t even begun studying history yet, consider taking the days before Thanksgiving to focus on our American history. In fact, it’s something that can become your homeschool tradition as each year you look at Thanksgiving from different perspectives:

  • the reasons the Pilgrims left England in the first place
  • the hardships encountered crossing the Atlantic on the crowded Mayflower
  • what it would have been like for the Indians… from their perspective
  • the possibilities are numerous

Awe-filled Homemaker offers a complete and fun unit study called Pilgrims and ThanksgivingPilgrims_and_Thanksgiving_Study

It’s easily downloadable and a great way to keep your kids engaged in the season while you are baking, cleaning, or sipping a pumpkin spiced latte!


Additional Free Thanksgiving Resource and Encouragement

While your kids are busy with their unit study, check out these Thankfulness Scripture Cards that are free to download at Awe-filled Homemaker! The download offers a study in thankfulness and gratitude which compiles Scriptures to read each day of the month – all for FREE!


Many moms feel overwhelmed as they approach the holidays, and after they are over some of us feel a bit guilty that we didn’t provide our family with enough of the beautiful truths that surround our celebrations.

I encourage you to take heart. Keep it simple, but meaningful. This can be as uncomplicated as beginning each day of the season with a song of worship/praise, and ending the day with a prayer of “Thanks” (where we simply recount one blessing from that day).

After all, we don’t have to be intimidated by Pinterest. Isn’t our desire to bring up our children to know, love and worship the Lord? Let’s set aside whatever time we have left before Thanksgiving to do just that.

And may the Lord, from whom flows every good and perfect gift, bless you and yours this holiday (holy-day) season.

Wishing you all the warmth of the Thanksgiving season!

Take heart,

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  • Reply JJ at

    Love this post! I was looking for some items to add to my homeschooling this season and I appreciate all the recommendations. Also, thank you for reminding me it is ok to detour from or take a break from regular curriculum and do a fun unit study. Even just giving thanks to God every morning and every night.

    • Reply Katie at

      Hi JJ, we can all use reminders, right? 🙂 I hope these resources are truly helpful for you! Katie

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