Make Wonderful Lifelong Memories

Kids love rituals -- it's how they anchor memories. So here's an easy (and cheap) way to start a wonderful Thanksgiving tradition. And all it involves is a sofa, a DVD, and two random hours.

First, pick a night over the weekend where everyone's home (we love Friday night after thanksgiving where we eat leftovers).

Then, pick a movie. Since parents and kids often disagree about what movies are okay for kids to see, this is a great opportunity to go to Common Sense Media and find an age-appropriate movie that everyone can agree on. There are thousands to choose from. Sort by age or interest. Have everyone pick something and vote -- or give everyone a turn. (Hint: if you have little kids, pre-select three or four movies so you don't run the risk of having to sit through Care Bears IV. This way they get to choose but you won't lose brain cells in the process.)

Do something wacky.
Have everyone dress up in costume, wear crazy pajamas, serve dinner backwards on with dessert first. Set up a tent, a picnic blanket, have food that can only be eaten with fingers. Plan a meal with each person's favorite food. Invite your kids to be critics and have them rate each movie when it's done. The more festive the evening, the more fun and special it will be.

Pile on the sofa together, turn off the phones, put the buzzing mobiles away. Spend two hours of sacred family time. What a deal.