Screen Shot 2016-01-14 at 1.51.22 PMLike many people, Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. First, because we always have a great meal! Second, it’s a time when we disconnect from our busy lives and hopefully our screens, and reconnect with friends and family we may not see as often as we’d like.

Thanksgiving reminds me and my family to be grateful for each other and our blessings. While we should make time each day to be grateful, we’re often stressed and distracted by the day to day goings on. So, Thanksgiving is the perfect day to stop, and reconnect. One tradition my family enjoys is to go around the table and share a nice story or memory about another member. My family always share the same story about me, remembering the first time I cooked the turkey, or to be more specific, what happened after…but this is a humiliation for another time

For now, I’m looking forward to planning meals, cooking, reading about the holiday, creating crafts, giving thanks and, and most importantly, disconnecting from screens to reconnect with loved ones.

Here are some family activities for a screen ­free holiday I would like to share with you.

Thanksgiving Crafts – Tabletop Turkey

One fun craft that makes an adorable dinner table decoration (and kids love) is the Tabletop Turkey, posted on

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1. Paint a paper cup brown. Turn the cup upside down & glue a pom­pom to the top of the cop for the head.

2. Cut nine 4­ inch leaf shapes from different colors of construction paper. Fold a 1­inch­ square piece of orange construction paper in half; cut a triangle shape out of the folded paper for the beak. Using a 2­inch square of red paper folded in half, cut a heart shape to create the turkey’s wattle.

3. Glue the beak and wattle to the pom­pom. Add googly eyes. Glue on the “feathers.”
Here is a link to some other ideas.

Thanksgiving and Cooking

Get the kids off the game consoles and into mash potatoes preparations. Here is Julia Moskin’s mash potatoes recipe.

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Put a large pot of water on to boil, adding a tablespoon of salt for each gallon of water. While the water heats, peel the largest potatoes you have (two per person is a good rule of thumb) and roughly cut into large chunks, about the size of a jumbo egg. Boil until tender all the way through.
Meanwhile, heat any flavorings (buttermilk, milk, cream, butter, stock) you plan to add. When potatoes are tender, scoop out and set aside a cup of cooking water. Drain potatoes and return them to the pot. Place over low heat and shake until most of the steam has dissipated. Add some of your flavorings, mash, and taste. Add salt. Repeat until mashed and seasoned to your liking. Adjust the texture with cooking water. Serve immediately or cover tightly and set aside for up to 30 minutes.

Here are some more ideas from the New York Times for your holiday dinner.

Board games
While you and the kids are cooking, your guests are probably watching the game on the TV. If you bring out some classic board games, chances are good everyone will put down the remote and team up for some friendly competition. Everyone’s got a favorite – for my family it’s Monopoly, Apples to Apples, and Rummikub.

Whether you are hosting or traveling, I wish you and your love ones a happy & enjoyable Thanksgiving.

By @TaliOrad