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Bring children into the the celebration of Thanksgiving with one of their favorite activities, coloring. If you have a printer these simple pictures can provide a quiet time in the midst of meal preparations.

How did Thanksgiving become a National Holiday?

Sara Hale tirelessly advocated for a National Thanksgiving holiday. Source: Richards Free Library

Sara Hale tirelessly advocated for a National Thanksgiving holiday.
Source: Richards Free Library

A woman named Sarah Hale, editor of the famous Godey’s Lady’s Book magazine, spearheaded a move to enshrine observation of thankfulness in the nation. She wrote to five presidents and numerous governors in her campaign for a Thanksgiving Day.

Hale is largely responsible for the idealistic, somewhat fictional view that Americans today hold in regards to interactions of these first New England colonists and the native peoples. Her picture of this feast with tables laden with turkey, stuffing, many dishes and gravies caught on with Victorian readers.

Godey’s Lady’s Book menu suggestions outlined what we consider a traditional holiday menu, today. How-to and recipes were provided to complete the celebration.

In keeping with her vision of this holiday, pictures here include those that represent parts of the meal, the idea of what the meal was like, how the English and Indian guests were believed to have dressed, and of course, the fat turkey.

Many of this things are now known to have little historical basis, but they are icons of the American Thanksgiving Holiday. I hope you will have fun coloring the ones you download and print.


coloring page

Crayola site has loads of coloring pages


Centering around food, family, and gratefulness, Thanksgiving has ready-made themes. American Indians, native foods of pumpkin and corn, turkey and trimmings, pie…. it is a cornucopia of fun coloring with a bit of history.

Food Concepts of Hunger and Plenty

cherry pie pic

Pie is the American idea of a dessert dish served at holidays. This is a cherry pie, but pumpkin is the most popular choice.


Corn, a native food staple helped the new Colonists to survive.


cornucopia coloring picture

Cornucopia is symbol of “plenty”

download a PDF coloring page

History, Pilgrims and American Indians

The story changes depending on who tells it and when, but certain facts are undeniable. One is that without the help and instruction of the Natives of the land, the Pilgrims were likely to fail. They greatly suffered from lack of food, and the Indians corn was a Godsend.

Pumpkins, maize, and wild turkeys were some of the bounties of this land where the Pilgrims landed.

The sharing of a feast is a symbol of the peaceful meeting of diverse people and cultures.


indian canoe


Who Were The Pilgrims?

In their native England they were dissenters against the prevailing religious establishment. Braving a journey to an unknown land was worth it to be able to practice their beliefs freely.

When traveling to the new world they came in the company of those wishing to settle for different reasons. The fellow travelers were called “strangers” by their more religious comrades.

Who Were The Wampanoag?

This was the Indian tribe which interacted with the Pilgrims in the original feast. Also called the Massasoit, they had a tradition that all the male leaders should be invited to village feasts. Thus 98 surprise guests turned up at this all-male meal. No worries, though… they came with plenty of meat to supply the tables.

The original celebration lasted three days.

The name means “People of the First Light” since they were situated at the eastern coastal region of the continent. This was a large confederation of tribal villages.

deer coloring pic

The Wampanoag later came into conflict with the English and suffered great loss from disease with the remnants of their people being sold into slavery, many to the Caribbean islands; but their early relations with the colonists were helpful and supportive. The famous “Squanto” was part of this tribal group:

Tisquantum and other Wampanoag taught the non-native newly arrived Pilgrims how to cultivate varieties of corn, squash and beans (the Three Sisters); catch fish, and collect seafood.(1)

Thankfulness and Gratitude

As first conceived, this was a religious holiday, observed with piety and solemnity. Modern times sees it as a family time with parades, watching football games, and overeating as all part of the day.

What remains is the idea that we should take time to be thankful for our many blessings. Remembrance of the bounty of the nation we live in, gratitude for freedoms and for friendship and family. For religious and secular alike, it is time to recall the good things we enjoy the rest of the year.

thanksgiving coloring picture

Source: Buck Denver


If you liked this page, you may enjoy more coloring, history, and thankful thoughts on this page. 5 Kernels of Corn



From, which has many more free images to print out for coloring fun.