In light of the Thanksgiving holiday tomorrow, we thought it would be fun to talk Thanksgiving traditions. These range from traditions that started long before we were children, or new ones our contributors began with their own children.
We’d love to hear from you: Tell us your favorite Thanksgiving tradition or memory in the comments or on Facebook!
Happy Thanksgiving everyone!
Carolyn: Our family plays bocce ball on the front lawn while the turkey is roasting. It’s an easy game for everyone to play — from grandparents to grandchildren — yet competitive enough to keep it interesting. Plus, it beats sitting around and filling up on appetizers before the Thanksgiving meal is served!
Dawn: My mom, aunt and I always spend the morning of Thanksgiving baking together while watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. We make a special Polish dessert that was passed down by my great-grandmother. Now that I have a little girl, she’ll be able to enjoy this tradition with us!
Elisabeth: All the cousins (the children!) gather around the table the morning of Thanksgiving and make monkey bread. This tradition started when my husband was a child and it’s been fun to see the tradition go from two, then three, to eight little ones! Even better, now that some of the kiddos are bigger, they can help cut the biscuit dough and make the topping. Bonus: all the kids love eating something they helped make!
Kim: My husband works every Thanksgiving covering college football games, so the twins and I spend the morning watching the Macy’s parade and cooking pancakes before meeting up with family.
Kristen B.: To me, Thanksgiving means dishes high and bellies full, football blaring and Yahtzee rolling. Drawstring pants and pumpkin pie, buttered rolls and two-hour naps. Dicing, baking, playing, resting — oven piping, hearts a ‘glowing.
Kristen S.: Each year, we participate in a Turkey Trot in whatever city we’re in: Orlando, Nashville or Tallahassee. It can be a 5K, 10 mile, 15K, etc. This started in November 2011 when I was pregnant with Aria and my husband and I ran Track Shack’s Turkey Trot at Lake Eola. Last year in 2012, we were in Tallahassee. Everyone ran the 5K (3.1 miles) and I ran the 15K (9.3 miles). This year, we’ll be in Orlando again and we’re deciding between two different races. I plan on pushing Aria in the baby jogger/running stroller this time. I look forward to doing this with my family every year to be active and burn some extra calories before the big family dinner!
Kristi: One of my earliest memories of Thanksgiving involved going bowling on Thanksgiving night. No matter if we were visiting my grandma across the state or feasting at our house, we would always go bowling after the turkey and stuffing (and after the Thanksgiving nap of course!). This is a tradition that I have carried on with my kids too. Last year we went bowling, and I got a TURKEY (three strikes in a row!). The kids thought that was so funny (and I thought it was a miracle of God!). I guess I have big shoes to fill this year when we go bowling!
Meghan: Our Thanksgiving always includes two dinners. The second party at my Uncle George’s house is a beautiful mix of family and friends from Florida and Jamaica, ridiculously delicious food, booze for days, and loud music. Perhaps an argument or two, definitely a fire pit, and lots of laughs. The biggest tradition for that party is a game of Chicken Foot–a domino game even the kids can”help” with. My cousin Candace and I always plan matching outfits for our kids, order early, and come prepped for an annual picture of our growing babies together (tip: take the photo the moment everyone arrives, or the outfits will be ruined). And to round out the evening… we draw names for our Christmas gift exchange!
Natalie: We honestly don’t have a ton of Thanksgiving traditions besides food, football, etc. However, each year after Thanksgiving dinner we get down our boxes of Christmas decor and begin decorating the house! I love having Christmas decor up as long as possible!
Sarah: I know it’s Thanksgiving when the good dishes come out! Some of them are heirloom pieces, and others are just fancy standalone treasures we’ve picked up over the years. The gravy boat and the turkey platter come to mind. But some take a year or two off between appearances. Frosted horn-shaped mugs, for example, or the relish dish. Who uses a relish dish outside of the holiday season?! The appearance of these favorites at the table is a sure sign that the air’s about to turn cold and the atmosphere will be festive!
Shelley: Prior to marrying my husband, he shared that when he was a child, living in Maine, his mother and aunts would make homemade “whoopie pies” – those delectable cream filled, devils-food-cake sandwiches that require ingredients too scandalous to list here. Eager to impress him and his family, I naively requested the recipe from his mother and suggested that in exchange for the hand-crafted whoopies, she make one of her signature apple pies. She agreed and I got to baking and whipping and filling and wrapping, and…as you can see these treats require what I like to call a “full day of fun.” Needless to say, after a few fails, I mastered the whoopie pie and the family rejoiced as they devoured these childhood favorites. And then, the precedent was set. I became the family’s official annual whoopie pie maker. Thirteen+ years later, I’ve made hundreds of whoopie pies, and my mother-in-law? Well, she’s made only ONE apple pie (and it was delicious), so I guess she technically held up her end of the bargain, but I remind her otherwise each year! The moral of this story: research before you request to impress!