View Full Version : What are your Thanksgiving Traditions

11-14-2007, 01:21 PM
Are there any special traditions and/or dishes that you have on Thanksgiving?

I've always cooked Thanksgiving dinner. This started when we moved across state from family. Rather than driving up to see them for Thanksgiving and Christmas, we opted to host the first and go up for the second. Since the kids were young, the men would take the kids to a movie (yes, on Thanksgiving Day) while the women cooked.

I'm not a great cook...but I discovered that I love making desserts. One of the most anticipated ones that I make is a Strawberry Bottom Cheesecake Pie. One year, when I went grocery shopping for my Thanksgiving Dinner ingredients, I left the recipe for the dessert I had planned to make at home. So, knowing it required a pre-done pie shell that had recipes under the label, I started pulling labels off of the pie crusts...looking for my recipe. Well, I came across the strawberry recipe and decided it looked good. Voila! A new tradition. We typically have more desserts than regular food simply because I don't like making the other stuff. :teehee:

This year will be different, though...we are going across the country for a soccer tournament, so someone else will have to cook! :woot:


11-14-2007, 01:42 PM
We used to have Thanksgiving dinner at my parent's house and my brother and I and our families would be there. The last couple of years, my brother's family has gone to the IL's for Thanksgiving and at our parents house for Christmas. That's when I took over all the cooking and I absolutely love it!!!!! My parents and grandma now come to my house! My signature dish is a sweet potato casserole with brown sugar topping. YUM! When I bake it, it turns into a crisp topping and it is soooooooo good!!! My mom brings Greek Soup, the cranberries and the pies.
Most of you will probably now start throwing the tomatoes, but by Thanksgiving, my house is already decorated for Christmas. This is the only time that my family gets to see my house decorated and they really seem to enjoy it.

11-14-2007, 01:44 PM
We have a ton of Thanksgiving traditions. My parents were/are big on family traditions. I think it stems from being an Airforce family and not being able to be with our extended family most holidays. The traditions start about a week or two before. We have to hunt down the perfect pie pumpkin that I will cook and puree for the pumpkin pies. No canned pumpkinis allowed in our house!

I also always do the majority of the cooking. The day before my Mom and I make the pies (pumpkin and pecan). I make the fresh cranberry salad, and the caramel rolls for breakfast. The day of Thanksgiving every one is recruited to help chop the veggies (onions,green peppers, mushrooms , and celery) for the stuffing and peel potatoes. After that is done the guys go golfing and the serious cooking begins. We make our sausage stuffing. Which is the best stuffing ever! Once the turkey is in the oven and the bread is proofing, we do girly things (manicures, pedicures, and lots of talking). It great we have all these wonderful smells filling the house along with the laughter of the women of my family.

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday! It is the only holiday that it is guaranteed that my whole family will be together.

11-14-2007, 01:52 PM
My family tradition starts out like this.....a month or two before said holiday my mom calls me to tell me she hates the holidays, the music, the decorations all over and the advertising. I listen, saying nothing. Then a week or so after that she calls me to tell me she hates the holidays and hates to cook. I usually suggest either eating out or dinner at my house. If it's dinner at my house my parents arrive PO'd because it takes them an hour to get here, my dad won't speak to anyone because he's had a stressful drive over and hasn't taken his meds and my mom who hates to cook will proceed to tell me that everything I've cooked is wrong. If we eat out, we all have to be dressed in approved attire beforehand by my mom, lord forbid someone not be wearing what she says to. The meal will be terrible, the service even worse and she'll swear that next year she's going away for the holidays. Repeat same episode for each subsequent holiday.:roflhard:
This year I headed my frustration off at the pass and we made reservations in Savannah at Paula Deen's place for Thanksgiving just my husband and I. We're taking off Weds and coming home Sun. I'm way too old for this crap anymore. :teehee:

11-14-2007, 02:07 PM
I am a big decorator too. I always wanted everyone to get to see my decorations since we lived so far away, so I would start decorating about a week before Thanksgiving. The neighbors would be like...:whoosh:

BUT, I never turn on the Christmas lights until the day AFTER Thanksgiving. My fil always gets a kick out of it because he and my dh are not into decorating, but my fil likes to stir up trouble. He would egg me on by bringing garage sale finds...anything to add to the collection of decorations.

One year, I got into an impromptu decorating contest with the neighbor across the street. My fil would watch out the front window and announce that my neighbor was adding more lights to his front bushes. Off we'd go to the store to get more for my house. My dh was livid! :teehee:

11-14-2007, 02:09 PM
Don't really have any traditions - growing up we never lived near family so it was just my immediate family and dad did the cooking. While the bird was in the oven we would bundle everyone up (we never lived anywhere warm) and go for a very long walk/hike.
Since moving away and getting married either everyone converges on my house and I cook or we go to to in-laws where we will feast on overcooked, burnt or frozen food.
This year has been crazy so I am lobbying for staying home in the PJ's to watch rented movies and knit all day.

11-14-2007, 02:12 PM

My mom always calls before Thanksgiving and "hints" that she wants to come...to which I invite her...she has an open invitation anyway. But, she never comes. I see her one time a year...before Christmas, at my sister's house for about two or three hours. Then she and her dh drive home. She's always felt left out because we've always done things with my dh's family. I could never buck it because his grandfather was in command...set in his ways...

I've done my best, kind-of, to appease my mom, but in the end, I ignore it. I don't allow her to ruin my fun. She's always welcome, but she doesn't come. We go months without speaking to one another (not out of anger...we're just not close). She's never seen my new house, and we've lived here almost five years. I just accept it.

Enjoy your different outing! It's always fun to try something new.

11-14-2007, 02:28 PM
Since it is just dh and I, we make reservations on Holidays.:woot: My favorite Thanksgiving was years ago when we were traveling and stopped at Cracker Barrel in Va. It was cold and the big fire place was burning and we had a Turkey Dinner. Yum. :p

11-14-2007, 02:33 PM
When my immediate family hosts Thanksgiving (it usually rotates between my mom or two of her sisters) she cooks an EXTRA turkey! :teehee: and that always cracks me up.

Her absolute favorite thing about Thanksgiving is left-over turkey sandwhiches the next day, but the dinner bird is always picked clean in our family. She got upset years ago and started making an extra bird, hiding it in my Nana's apartment and not setting it out til leftover grazing time. (Dinner is a lunchtime deal, but family stays to nap and continue gorging all night.)

Thanksgiving has been small the past few years, but this year we're having a dinner that is very reminiscent of my youth. Just my mom's immediate family will be joining us, meaning: her brothers and sisters and their spouses/kids, plus my nana (grandfather died years ago). So the intimate gathering of immediate family will be no less than 25 people for a sit down dinner. :cheering::cheering:

Yeah, they're Irish Catholic. Why do you ask? :teehee:

11-14-2007, 02:46 PM
stitch, I think you've got the right idea! I tried to push for going out this year but my father wasn't having it.
Since my mom died, my dad cooks for us and my in-laws (yep, we actually get along!) My insanely picky SIL refuses to eat turkey, touch turkey, look at turkey or have anything to do with turkey, so we also have a ham.
The only new thing we have done in years is last year's dessert, pumkpin pita. It was a creamy pumpkin custard between layers of phyllo. Delish.

11-14-2007, 02:55 PM
Thanksgiving Dinner was a shared preparartion between four cooks for a long time - but has gradually over the years devolved upon me - not that I mind - I find it one of the easiest meals to prepare for a crowd that exists. Now if I could just talk someone into doing the CLEANUP. . . (I hate doing dishes)

But the important part of Thanksgiving (also Christmas, also Easter) is the night before - because that is when we celebrate the food tradtions that come from my childhood - Tortellini in brodo, green salad and a good crusty bread. Then eitherchocolate bread pudding with hard sauce for dessert, or possibly a cranberry-molasses steamed pudding.

11-14-2007, 04:34 PM
Our family splits holidays now that my grandparents have passed away. We always had the holidays at their house until then. Now my mother has Thanksgiving and my aunts split easter and christmas.

Every year I make the turkey and whatever side or dessert my little heart decides to unleash on the family. I actually don't EAT the turkey so there is always that moment of truth when everybody starts eating it as to whether they will turn their nose up to it or not...lol. (yeah that's right... they make the girl who doesn't like the thanksgiving turkey prepare it so it's their own fault if it is bad!) ;)

otherwise there isn't much beyond the normal stuff. :shrug:

11-14-2007, 06:53 PM
We alternate Thanksgivings between my folks and DH's folks.
Our task is always to bring the cranberry sauce, since they think we have a 'special secret recipe'. It always make me laugh because it takes about 2 minutes to make - and we just follow the instructions on the back of the bag of cranberries. :teehee:
But it is really delicious - and I don't even like cranberries that much.

11-15-2007, 12:41 PM
The only tradition that I've been able to maintain in later years is that no matter what happens with the dinner and all that, at some point, DH and I sit down and watch Planes, Trains & Automobiles - I love to watch that movie at Thanksgiving!

We probably won't have Thanksgiving dinner at all this year, as we have our family Christmas the 2nd week in December, and I do the major cooking for that one. Two big meals that close together could do me in altogether!!

But some of your Holidays seem downright Rockwellian!! Hope you all enjoy. And, Stitchwitch - GOOD FOR YOU!!!!

11-15-2007, 09:13 PM
Other than the traditional Thanksgiving dinner, we have the "Thankful board". There's a huge dry erase board in the kitchen. At the top I write, "I'm thankful for my family, friends, and...." Starting in Nov., each person gets a different colored marker and up until Thanksgiving, whenever you think of something you're thankful for, you write it down. It's interesting to see the kind of things my family is thankful for. Answers range from "Xbox" to "warm chocolate chip cookies" to "kindness". When we're done, I take a picture of it. One year, I used the pic as our xmas card.

11-16-2007, 01:25 AM
As I'm Irish/Apache our tradition is that we all get drunk, have a huge fight, and then heat up leftovers the next day while we're nursing hangovers and trying to figure out which family member we pissed off the most.

11-16-2007, 02:51 AM
First, my family goes to my grandma's house. She has four sisters. They and all their families (there's something like ten of them who live outside of a five-hour radius, and we usually have a couple of those people drive up) come for Thanksgiving. Its grandparents, parents, young adults/my generation, and now the babies. 60 to 70 people. Everyone of an age to have their own home/income cooks a dish. My family makes noodles. We have our major meal at lunch. Men sit in the living room and watch football and eat on card tables. Adult women sit in the "Blue room." Grandparents sit at the dining room table (and get to go through the food line first). Young adults and kids take over the basement, where we play pool and/or ping pong. This is complete chaos. It is wonderful!
After dessert (dessert of choice is oreo ice cream stuff, which is passed from freezer to freezer in an attempt to minimize the number of people who find it, and maximize the quantities consumed by those who move it), my family drives over to my dad's aunt's house, where they have just finished dinner and it is time for dessert. They actually have a sit-down-at-one-table-and-pass-the-turkey meal! But they throw rolls. Anyway, its family and random roommates/friends over there, and it is at your own peril that you request either red raspberry or pecan pie. You will be tackled. Also, my dad answers all unattended cell phones, using a hillbilly accent. Then, everyone falls asleep until dinner time, at which point my family returns to grandma's house for leftovers for dinner, then we help clean up the house and take down all the card tables and folding chairs. Everyone helps, so it goes really fast.

11-16-2007, 03:07 PM
As I'm Irish/Apache our tradition is that we all get drunk, have a huge fight, and then heat up leftovers the next day while we're nursing hangovers and trying to figure out which family member we pissed off the most.

*falls off chair laughing* What is it about Irish holidays that bring out the best in people. I do have to add to that. Our fights usually are started when we start playing board games, so I have learned to bow out of those et just play ref!! Esp since the next day my bro usually has to apologize the most! :teehee:

11-16-2007, 04:58 PM
Jess - your family sounds wonderful!!