Thursday, November 21, 2013

What Are Your Thanksgiving Day Traditions?

Hi everyone! Thanksgiving is one week from today, here in the states. I love Thanksgiving…family, food and lots of fun. We always have Thanksgiving here at our house with both my husband's family and mine. We usually have between 35-45 people each year. It's the best time.

Our family has many traditions for each holiday and Thanksgiving is no exception. Traditions can be anything from foods that are served for dinner to fun things we do that day. No matter what, we are just grateful to be together.

Some of our family traditions for Thanksgiving…

  • my husband and I and the girls always watch the Macy's Day Parade in the morning while I'm cooking and he's peeling 20 pounds of potatoes!
  • it's always at our home
  • there has to be heavenly hash (ambrosia) and creamed onions 
  • I make a green jello salad in honor of my mom, because she always made it for Thanksgiving. No eats it but me, but it HAS to be there!!
  • and a new one started last year…we set up the family room Christmas tree and everyone helps to decorate it. I hope we can do that again this year.

What are some of your family Thanksgiving traditions?

Thanks for sharing,

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  1. I've been alone for a number of years now; well, not 'alone', as I have the cats, but I don't have any other humans in the house with me anymore. I stay up late on Wednesday and sleep in on Thursday. I don't make anything I remember as being from past Thanksgivings anymore. It was always a lot of something which is fine if you have 6 other people in the house with you, but as much as I love sweet potatoes, I don't want sweet potato casserole for the next 5 days. I was thinking about lunch or dinner just today and I have no idea what I feel like cooking. One year it was salmon. Another year, it was a frozen pizza. I might watch football. I might not. I have crochet scarves to finish this year so I will probably plop into the recliner, turn on the TV and crochet the afternoon away. Sometimes, I get invited to friends' homes. Sometimes I got and sometimes I don't. I think traditions are nice in that they connect us to those who may not be around anymore, but I have come to like my sort of traditionless holiday. Does that make it a tradition? And I LOVE the green jello. When I was growing up, it was red jello with a can of fruit cocktail in it. It was called "company jello".

    1. I'm alone, too, except for my dog. :D I often make a turkey breast and just the sides that I especially like. Turkey freezes well and I love turkey sandwiches. This year, though, I'm thinking of making a nice filet mignon, baked potato, green beans, and something sinful for dessert. I'm taking care of a dog and a cat for a couple of neighbors who will be away so there won't be any sleeping in but I will probably do a good bit of sewing.

    2. I am alone as well, but I like it. When I was married, I hosted the family for holidays. We had a small farm and always had a home-raised turkey for dinner. It usually wasn't a "pretty" bird as we had not mastered the art of plucking, but it was beyond delicious!

      After my divorce, I went back to school to finish my degree, and I was grateful for undisturbed T'days to write papers -- I always had three or more to write, and could generally crank them all out over the Thanksgiving weekend. Now I continue that "tradition" as I hustle with xmas-gift-making. I prefer not to be invited to anyone's house, as it feels churlish to decline, but I really do love to spend this day on my own.

    3. CarolB - I know exactly what you mean by feeling churlish to decline. :D I don't mind having the holiday to myself so I often just tell people I've made other plans. It isn't a lie! I don't have to tell them my plan is to spend the day alone.

  2. Your traditions sound so fun and festive, Karen! I love that you must have the green jello salad in honor of you Mom, even though no one else eats it- I think that's just the sweetest thing! Have a great week! ~Bethany (in NH!) =)

  3. The size and location of our Thanksgiving festivities may change every year, however, there is one thing that never changes. We have coleslaw on the table. It has a sweet/tart dressing that my dad always made. It tastes fabulous with turkey...especially turkey breast meat. And I think Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade is playing in the background of just about everyone's house!

  4. As Thanksgiving isn't an official Swiss holiday, I usually celebrate Thanksgiving the Saturday after, with friends & my children. The participants change but the constant is the caramel walnut tart I make. This will be the first year I'm not able to make the meal as I usually do as I'll be travelling with my daughter but we'll still have the tart. :-)

  5. All of my children are now married. To make it easier on them and their children we celebrate on Friday so they can spend Thursday with their in-laws.I would rather have them all be with us on Friday than just some of them on Thursday. After dinner we have a rather spirited and competitive game of charades!

  6. We have had Thanksgiving at our house for the past several years with our son and youngest daughter's family, and the food HAS to be the same or else! But this year our son is in Korea and over the summer it struck me that I didn't want to fix dinner with two of my children missing (the oldest spends it with the in-laws each year so they can be here for Christmas). So we are flying to St. Louis to be with my husband's family and see his Mom for the first time since she entered the nursing home. It's going to be wonderful - there's even a chance we'll see one of our nephews play for the Missouri state football title on Friday since the game is in St. Louis! We will NOT be shopping on either Thanksgiving or Black Friday.

  7. My sister and I are now the "older generation" so our celebrations have changed, but I wanted to mention a tradition that we used to have. We had the celebration in our home with turkey, dressing, cranberry sauce--all the usual things. My mother was a casual, paper-plates-and-no-dishes-to-wash hostess, but in later years one of her brothers and his wife began coming. Uncle Fred refused to eat from paper plates, so when he came we had to use the china!

  8. This will be our first Thanksgiving with all of the kids here. I'm hoping to be able to watch the parade while we get all the cooking done, but you never know what will happen with 4 little girls running around.

  9. With my kids grown, the attendants of the Thanksgiving meal at our house changes each year, but one thing we ALWAYS do......Thanksgiving breakfast of biscuits & white gravy with chopped turkey in it. It's DELICIOUS. In order for this to happen, we cook our turkey sloooowly overnight. It's wonderful to awake to that aroma!

  10. Even as a kid, my favorite part of Thanksgiving was when everyone would sing the Doxology before the meal. In my extended family, we have some amazing musicians, so imagine 40-50 people singing a cappella and doing all the vocal parts. It was magical. I still like to sing it whenever I can talk people into it. We've done it a few times at our church's pre-Thanksgiving potluck - 400 people singing it is even more magical. For those who don't know the doxology, the words are "Praise God from whom all blessings flow. Praise him all creatures here below. Praise him above ye heavenly host. Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost. Amen." Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday because it's free of the pressure of gift-giving and decorating and events. It just is, and that's beautiful. I hate Black Friday and what it's done to Thanksgiving.

  11. Originally, my husband and I alternated years for Thanksgiving, one year with his folks, the next with mine. Now that my Mama is gone, and Daddy has moved to live across the street from us, I host Thanksgiving for my immediate family of grown children and their loves. This year, my son's girlfriend's father will be coming. It'll be the first time we met one of her parents. I am extra eager that all goes smoothly and that the house look nice! There will be nine of us in my tiny house-it's gonna be extra crowded!

    We have the traditional turkey meal and the tradition that causes the most laughter is when I usually burn the first layer of mini marshmallow on the candies yams and I have to scrap them off and start again! Lots of laughter at me as I try to Multitask! One year it took four tries before I succeeded in just browning the marshmallows! Boy were they extra gooey that year!

  12. Oh yes, and after dinner, our tradition is to watch the Santa Clause movie together to kick off the Christmas season! Sometimes we go shopping on Black Friday, but NEVER on Thanksgiving!

  13. There is always cranberry and my homemade stuffing. My question to you is: where do you put 35+ people?

  14. Hi Karen,
    I had the same question as do you seat and feed up to 45 people.? I'd love it if you did a post with some of your tips for entertaining such a large crowd. (We had 24 last year and it nearly killed me!) As to food, my daughter would not think it was Thanksgiving unless my Mom made her creamed onions. Mom is 92 now and still makes them to bring every year. I love the green salad MIL used to always serve that...I have the recipe but had forgotten about it. Because Thanksgiving is so late this year, we also plan to have the tree up and let the family decorate it while we put the finishing touches on dinner. I love and family without all the angst of Christmas. Happy Thanksgiving! ~Cheryl

  15. In my country we don´t celebrate this day


    Costa Rica

  16. We always have the whole family over, which usually means football on tv in one room, the Macy's parade on another, and lots of kids (of all ages) running hither and yon. I set out a large tray of veggies with dips, cheese/crackers/deli meats tray, and a tray of pickled items, so people can graze as needed (and stay out of my kitchen lol).

  17. I just spend thanksgiving wondering how the heck you cope with so many holidays one after another , it must be hard work being an American

  18. The typical dinner here with turkey, stuffing, potatoes and gravy etc. It varies as to how many there will be. This year due to people's schedules we are doing it on Friday. Meaning I am making it and they eat it , ha ha

    I loved reading the comments too ...the doxology one was wonderful! :)

    You have a VERY large crowd to peel potatoes for!!! :)


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