Thanksgiving is a wonderful holiday full of fun, feasting, family and football. But it can also be a time to start new traditions meant to increase your family's thanks and encourage giving.You can use Thanksgiving as a springboard to cultivate a deeper sense of gratitude and awareness of the needs of others. Here's some simple and even fun ideas to get you started.

1. Make a blessings box.

Pass out lots of slips of brightly colored paper to your family and guests at the beginning of the day. Ask them to write one thing they are thankful for on each slip of paper, and then write something else on the next one, etc. It can be silly, like "I'm thankful for SpongeBob cartoons" or it can be serious, as in "I'm grateful Aunt Betty is feeling better". But it should be specific. Then place all the pieces of paper in a gift box, mix them up and read them after turkey dinner. If you need incentive to get the kids thinking, you could offer a small prize like a candy bar to whoever comes up with the most items. The object, of course, is to inspire your family to count their blessings.

2. Create certificates of appreciation. Use your computer software to set up official looking certificates and print them. The certificate should say something like, every Thanksgiving our family tradition is for each of us to choose one special person to whom we would like to express our appreciation. This year, I have chosen you to thank because.... There should be blanks on the certificate to fill in the person's name, date, and why they have been chosen. For example, your daughter might decide to thank an old teacher for inspiring her love of reading. Or your son might want to show gratitude to his best friend's father for taking him along with them to the baseball game. It should be someone outside the immediate family. After Thanksgiving, they can mail the certificates or present them in person.

3. Thank the troops. There are websites that will tell you how to send holiday cards and letters to the troops stationed overseas. Take the time to let a stranger in the military know that you support and appreciate their sacrifice.

4. Report a job well done. Have you received consistently good service from someone throughout the year? It could be your hair stylist, a waiter, a patient store employee who seemed eager to answer all your questions? Every Thanksgiving, make a list of those people. Jot down a quick note that outlines the attentive care you received from that person, and then send it to their supervisor and also a copy to them.

5. Start a family gratitude journal. Beginning at Thanksgiving dinner and continuing on to mealtimes throughout the year, ask each family member what they are grateful for that day. Write down all the comments. It's a great way to collectively focus on the positive.

6. Invite someone to Thanksgiving dinner.

Is your elderly neighbor unable to make the big 200 mile trip to her family's gathering, but would be able to travel across the street to your house? How about your single friend who just lost her mother? Don't assume that people have Thanksgiving plans. Instead, ask "what are you doing for Thanksgiving?" The holidays are a rough time to be alone, so make sure that no one that you care about spends Thanksgiving that way.

7. Make a video with highlights of the day for someone who couldn't make it.

In case, there are circumstances preventing a family member from joining family on Thanksgiving, document it for them. Whether use a camcorder or the movie mode on digital camera, take footage of the festivities. Include special messages from each person there. If you have got your ipod, it will make your Thanksgiving Day video perfect. you can upload this video onto your ipod by using ipod video converter software, so that you would show your enjoyable time to your friends at any where any time. If you have a teenager, this could be a project they would enjoy.

8. Enjoy Thanksgiving Day movies at home. In addition to the start of the Christmas shopping season, Thanksgiving weekend is also a time for major motion picture releases. With many movie goers enjoying time off from work for the holiday, there are more opportunities to enjoy a movie with family and friends. In 2010, there are six films that have a Thanksgiving weekend release date. Tangled, Burlesque, Love and Other Drugs and Faster, each have a November 24th release date. Black Friday releases include Red Dawn and The King's Speech. However most of these movies are Blu-ray Discs. Do not worry if your DVD player can not read the movies, just use blu-ray converter software, which can enable your family watch movies on DVD player smoothly.

9. Issue the not so random acts of kindness challenge. While you're eating pumpkin pie, call upon those around the table to come up with ideas for nice little things they can do for others. Here are some suggestions. You could donate books you've already read to the library or toys you've outgrown to the homeless shelter. If you see litter, you could pick it up and put it in the trash can. You could let someone cut in front of you in line or put a quarter in an expired parking meter. You could pick a flower from your garden and give it to a friend. Make a list of those ideas and in the coming months, see how many little acts of kindness your family can accomplish.

10. Sponsor a child from a third world country. Thanksgiving is a great time to begin. As your family is giving thanks, why not reach out to someone less fortunate?
So, go ahead and dig into those candied sweet potatoes, watch the parade on TV and listen to grandpa reminisce about the good old days.

Then go beyond the turkey and make this holiday the most memorable Thanksgiving of all. By adopting some of these new family traditions for counting blessings and reaching out to others, you'll be putting the thanks and the giving back into the holiday.