What are your Thanksgiving traditions? Talk amongst yourselves.

My kids are counting down the days till we visit our extended family for Thanksgiving. It got me to thinking (especially after the craziness that is Halloween) how much I appreciate the simplicity of this holiday. My kids aren't excited about candy, or costumes, or presents, or glittery trappings. They're not even that excited about the food. They're excited to spend a few days with their beloved cousins. That's it.

And THAT is one of the things I'm most thankful for on Thanksgiving.

I intend to point this out around the Thanksgiving dinner table this year. I'd love to know: what are your Thanksgiving traditions? Games or icebreakers that help family members reconnect? Special once-a-year foods (besides the turkey/yams/stuffing/greenbeans, I mean?)? Football? Shopping? A Harry Potter movie? (That probably feels like a tradition to some of our kids!)

Always fun to hear how other people celebrate.

More: Thanksgiving hacks


  1. Jim says

    As a kid, my Mom would get up early start the turkey and other stuff then sit and watch the whole Macy’s thanksgiving day parade with us. Then to close the parade, when Santa comes along she would hand us legal pads, pens and a box of toy catalogs that she collected over the previous weeks. We would then sit and make our Christmas lists and letters to Santa.

    Last year I did it with my 2 year old, he’s 3 now, remembers doing it, and has been asking all week “can we make our lists now?”.

  2. famousamy says

    My favorite memories are of my dad’s extended family’s celebration. All the cousins would get together after eating and make up some kind of play (often a murder mystery for some reason) and then put it on for our parents. We did this for a number of years and there were always 15 or so kids at the right ages to join in. (My dad’s the oldest of 7). Now that most of us are having kids of our own I can’t wait to see what our kids will come up with in a few years time.

  3. says

    How sweet. One of my “hacks” for passing time during Thanksgiving travel includes passing out the holiday toy catalogs…I too have happy memories of paging through them when I was a kid.

  4. bryssy says

    We celebrate “Thanks-mas” after Thanksgiving dinner. Everyone gets the gifts that you would otherwise not get to use until NEXT Christmas. The kids get their Christmas book and t-shirt or dress, adults get ornaments or Christmas themed item. I normally cook down pumpkins and make pumpkin butter that can be made into a pumpkin pie for everyone else so that they can take a homemade pumpkin pie to any holiday event where they may need to take a dish.

  5. says

    Thanksgiving is absolutely one of my favorite holidays! I love getting up early and enjoying one of Gramma’s homemade cinnamon rolls with a cup of hot tea. I love to build a big blazing fire in the fireplace and settle in with the kids to watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade on TV. I just love the long day of cooking, while sipping chardonnay, knowing that there is nothing else calling out to me to be accomplished. I love setting the dining room table with my best linens and dishes, and lighting tons of candles to set the mood. I love bringing the steaming dishes to the table, and calling out to everyone to bring their favorite drink with them and settle in for the delicious meal. I love to linger at the table after dessert, after the children have been excused to burn off some of their boundless energy, while the adults can sit back and enjoy some conversation, allowing the dishes to wait until later. I love cozying up by the fire again, after the kitchen has been restored to its usual state, to watch the Detroit or Dallas football games- and to snicker at John Madden’s excessively multi-legged Thanksgiving Day turkey. I love plowing through the newspapers, making my shopping lists and developing a plan of attack for the Black Friday sales- debating whether we should be out by 3am or 4am…. I just love everything about Thanksgiving!

  6. Hannah George says

    Thanksgiving is one of my family’s favorite holidays. It’s such a fun way to kick off the season. I am a total foodie and start hunting around for new and improved recipes for thanksgiving and Christmas. I also look for recipes that my kids might actually eat too! I recently found this article on kid friendly thanksgiving recipes tested by moms. Check it out. I’m definitely going to try to Panko Breaded Turkey Nuggets with leftovers!


  7. Rose says

    would love to read the christmas and new year’s version of this post in time to act on it for this year rather than make a mental note for next. just saying… :)

  8. says

    Our entire family still gets together..from Grandparents to grandkids for a typical Thanksgiving meal. In the afternoon, we often set off on a walk around town or play games outside if it’s nice enough. The rest of the day is filled with darts, board games (especially our yearly scrabble war,) and cards. Some people nap. Sometimes a football game is on tv. On Friday, the girls go Black Friday shopping…but not to the big city. We go to a little town and hit the thrift stores and a coffee shop. :) This year, we are all getting pedicures too!