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What are your family's Thanksgiving traditions?

Posted by on Nov. 4, 2013 at 11:36 AM
  • 4 Replies

Thanksgiving Traditions Every Family Should Incorporate Into the Day

by Deborah Cruz

thanksgiving centerpieceThanksgiving is my favorite holiday of the year and not just because of all the amazing foods. I love having all of our family under one roof. My husband and I have hosted Thanksgiving every year for the past 10 years for both sides of our family, around 30 people. We look forward to Thanksgiving all year long. It’s the kick-off of a month-long familyapalooza!

We’ve been doing this for so long that the cooking part is a cinch. Of course, since we started, seven children and three spouses have been added to the original headcount, and with each new addition, we just cook a little more. We just love the time we spend together on that day. Here are a few Thanksgiving traditions that we do and I think every family should incorporate into the day.


Road trips to see loved ones are loads of fun, as long as you don’t get on the road Wednesday night (along with everyone else in the country). We live within a few hours of all of our family so it’s not a taxing chore to drive, especially when the reward is seeing all the faces of those you love.

Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade

My husband and I get up very early to get the food started and the house tidy. By the time the girls wake up, we can all sit around in our jammies and watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade together. The girls love pointing out the stars on floats and the newest balloons. My husband and I love seeing their excitement.

Going around the table and giving thanks

This is a great tradition for every family to do. My dad has done this with us since we were children. I won’t lie. We hated it as kids. It was embarrassing, but now those are some of our fondest memories. Now we do it at our house. I love hearing what everyone is thankful for, especially the children. It doesn’t take much to make them happy and it instills in them a sense of gratitude.


Along with teaching my children to be grateful, I want to instill in them a sense of charity. I want them to want to give back to those who are less fortunate. I want them to be appreciative of what they have and care about others. I want them to give to others, so we donate to food drives, and when they are older, perhaps I will take them to a homeless shelter to serve food.

RockBand Marathon (or board games)

After dessert, we have cocktails and play RockBand, all 30 of us. No one is exempt. It is a blast. There is nothing quite as endearing as a 4- and 6-year-old singing "Call Me Maybe" along with their 65-year-old grandpa. It’s lots of fun and it fills the house with laughter. It’s a great memory maker, especially because someone is always filming or taking photos.


Black Friday starts on Thanksgiving now, so we leave the kids with the grandparents, and the siblings and spouses divide and conquer the shopping. It truly is a bonding experience to be out in the middle of the night with your sister when you are both slap happy trying to remember which store you are supposed to be at. It also makes shopping for nieces and nephews a lot easier.

What’s your family’s favorite Thanksgiving tradition?

by on Nov. 4, 2013 at 11:36 AM
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by Amy on Nov. 4, 2013 at 9:59 PM

We usually have dinner at my parents home.  And sometimes do some online shopping for the holidays.

by on Nov. 5, 2013 at 10:38 AM
1 mom liked this

Up until this year I always had to work on Thanksgiving day. (I work in a 24/7/365 business).  Do to a co worker leaving, I am now high enough up there in seniority to be able to take the day off but this happened too late this year to change our current holiday plans.

My husband will leave the Tuesday of Thanksgiving week after work (4 ish) and drive the 5 hours to his daughters house.  He will stay with his daughter, her mom (ex wife) and this year his former in laws.  He will be there until Sunday morning where he will make the 5 hour trip back home to see me.  

My work schedule is set Tuesday thru Saturday so there used to be no way for me to take off all of that time. I would usually just take off Friday and Saturday and with my 2 regular days off then have myself a little 4 day vacation by myself and the dogs. My mother in law, who lives 5 minutes away, would always take me to Cracker Barrel on Thanksgiving before I had to go to work as our own little tradition as she has been widowed for the last 5 years and has no other family in the area.

I like the tradition that we have set up.  It gives me some free time to just relax for the rest of the holiday rush. My husband on the otherhand doens't get to relax at all because his daughter (17) plans out a shopping route to rival the pros for finding discounts/sales.  They also go to a pro hockey game too.  Next year SD will be in college so I'm not sure of what the plans will be. I'm just glad that he gets one more year of this with her.

P.S. For all those who think that I am nuts for 'letting' my husband stay with his ex wife etc during the holiday.  I have no problem with it at all.  In fact we usually go on vacation with her about every other year.  She has a time share and with that we have been able to go to Disney World, the mountains and other places.  We have a good realtionship because we know that it is in the best interest for SD.  

by Silver Member on Nov. 7, 2013 at 7:06 PM

Personally, for the last 10 years, I have had no tradition. I am at the whim of whatever my husband's family decides that we should be doing. :( Same with Christmas, unless I am visiting my own family.

by Member on Nov. 8, 2013 at 7:21 AM
My kids are normally gone for holidays. Their great-aunt and great grandma are taking them for the full week for Thanksgiving. Where they go for all the holidays. It's the only time they get to spend actual time with my boys. I will have Thanksgiving the weekend before no problems at all. Like I do with most holidays for them. The kids have fun and they get to get out and have fun. Not only that but my grandma their great grandma is 90 years old. My boys need to spend time with her.
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