Thanksgiving is our original Freedom's Feast holiday celebration. First created in October 2001, it was a response to 9/11 as we all struggled to recover from the terrible assault on our nation. 

We began with a ceremony and expanded over the years to include other holidays and the offerings below.


We all love Thanksgiving, America’s most widely celebrated holiday. Its centerpiece meal and universal appeal give us the opportunity to reflect on what makes our nation special. 

  • Give thanks for the freedoms we enjoy  
  • Learn more about family American stories
  • Explore America’s civic heritage
  • Do more than eat, watch football, and shop, because so many of us want to do more





Ceremonies to Choose

Ceremonies help us to stop and think about why we've gathered. They remind us that the holiday has a unique purpose. We offer a range of ceremonies from the simple “Try a Slice”  to our full version with its many variations. Some of the ceremonies we offer were created by others to make their own traditions for friends and family. We hope you enjoy our options and are inspired to create your own. Conduct them wherever your group gathers usually before eating!

A Memory Harvest (use stories to honor or remember those who cannot be with us at our Thanksgiving Table)


Freedom's Feast Thanksgiving Ceremony (sparks conversation about why we are thankful to be Americans)



Celebrate Your Way

Choose the way that works best for you and add one or more of our celebration ideas to add to your current Thanksgiving practice. Whatever choice you make will help to involve everyone and provide new ways to share stories, history, and special talents across generations.


Create a Keepsake

Make your own Thanksgiving Gratitude Plate that expresses the things you are thankful for and becomes a treasured Thanksgiving display item.



Explore More

Holidays have a history. Thanksgiving has the original Pilgrim and Native American story from 1621. Yet our most popular national holiday didn't become part of the permanent federal calendar until 1941. Enjoy exploring the resources we've gathered to learn more.

Thanksgiving Resources For You

  • A Simple Thanksgiving History
  • Pilgrim Hall, our nation’s oldest continuously operating public museum located in Plymouth, Massachusetts, teaches about some of our earliest settlers from Europe. 
  • Check out Kid Info - Native Americans, a comprehensive guide to Native American histories and Native American facts.
  • The National Museum of the American Indian at the Smithsonian Institute has over 800,000 artifacts and 300,000 images. The story of the Native cultures of the western hemisphere includes our country's difficult history of encounters with Native American Indians.
  • Scholastic, a reliable vendor of educational content, offers quality information about the first Thanksgiving and early life in America. Start here and see where your explorations take you.

Suggested Children's Thanksgiving Booklist






Celebrate Thanksgiving

A Thanksgiving Message from Project Director Lee Hendler.


















Photo: Library of Congress


Copyright Freedom's Feast, 2014. All rights reserved.