Different people have different traditions to follow on Thanksgiving. What’s yours?
A user asked the forum, “What are your Thanksgiving traditions?” Here are the top responses.
BLACK OLIVES ON THE END OF THE FINGERS
“It’s not Thanksgiving dinner if someone doesn’t put five black olives on the end of their fingers (one on each fingertip).”
EATING TOO MUCH
“We all eat until it is hard to breathe, then watch football until we decide to eat again.”
SUBSTITUTE TURKEY WITH LECHON
“My mother always throws a Thanksgiving get-together for a few families. Sometimes, it’s at a fancy restaurant; other times, it’s just at a house.
When it’s at someone’s house, the tradition is to substitute the turkey for lechon, a whole roasted pig.”
SHOOTING AND RIDING THE MASCOT
“My family gathers on our farm for the week. All the men in my family go shooting to start the morning, usually unloading approximately one thousand rounds spread amongst several guns.
After that, we all play a football game until the feast, which the women in the family prepare, is ready. After we eat, we relax for a few hours until it is deemed time for me to ride our farm mascot, Simon the Steer. I ride Simon, he backs me off, and we continue until I’m too hurt to ride him or he’s tired.”
HUNTING AND RIDING ALL-TERRAIN VEHICLES
“We switch back and forth (sometimes both) between my mom’s side and my dad’s side.
If it is my dad’s side, there will likely be a cohort or two that goes out hunting or hunts the day before. We have had fresh meat for Thanksgiving more than once.
If it is at my uncle’s place with a lot of rolling hill property, there will be a lot of ATVs (All-Terrain Vehicles) riding and likely unsafe speeds. We have a typical big dinner where everyone pitches in and makes a feast. It is no minor feat considering the size of my family. All told, we have had Thanksgiving with 40-50 people.
Then we watch football, drink and be merry. The younger kids usually end up doing some sport outside.”
INVITING PEOPLE AND LIGHTING A CANDLE
“Have 40 people over to my house for Thanksgiving dinner. Light a candle for me.”
COOKING WHILE WATCHING TELEVISION SHOWS
“Wake up early and start cooking while the Macy’s Day Parade is on the Television. Football comes on after the parade is over. Before the meal, we’ll do something outside.
We generally eat in the late afternoon, and the meal includes but is not limited to roast turkey, gravy, stuffing (bread-based), mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, creamed onions, green bean casserole, peas, dinner rolls, mashed turnip.
After dinner, we’ll take a walk and return for pie (pumpkin, pecan, and apple or cherry). Then watch more football and succumb to the food coma.”
GOING TO FAMILY FRIEND’S HOUSE
“My old tradition when I was a kid was to go to a family friend’s house with a few dozen other people, where a vast spread of traditional Thanksgiving food would be spread out. Then, the adults would chat for another hour or two until everything was room temperature. Then, we’d eat.”
ZERO TRADITIONAL THANKSGIVING FOODS
“My tradition is to do a Thanksgiving dinner with zero traditional Thanksgiving foods.”
WATCHING MACY’S PARADE AND FOOTBALL GAME
“Thanksgiving at mom and dad’s house. We’ll get there the day before, then get up and turn on the Macy’s parade in the background until the noon football game starts. Then it’s that.
We’ll usually aim to sit down to eat during halftime of the Cowboys game (which we’ll record on a DVR, Digital Video Recorder), then will finish up and go back to the football game. That’s it.
The next day, we make enormous leftover Thanksgiving sandwiches (turkey, gravy, stuffing, cranberries, mayonnaise, pile it all on).”
HAVING ITALIAN FOOD
“Get Italian food with the family and then get cross-faded by myself while listening to a Tweezer from Fall 95.”
GOING OUT OF THE TOWN
“Me, wife, and kid, and get out of town far away from the rest of the family until the whole ‘holiday’ thing blows over. For what it’s worth, Chincoteague is a good refuge, as are Jekyll Island and Ocracoke.”
TAKING WEEK OFF
“Take the whole week off. Hunting, football, gluttonous amounts of food and alcohol with the family.”
FINISH TWO KEGS WORTH OF BEER
“It wouldn’t be a true Thanksgiving if my extended family didn’t finish at least two kegs worth of beer.”
LISTEN TO GRANDPARENT’S STORIES
“In the years that my brother goes to his in-laws, we go to my in-laws. My mom will usually join us. Recipes are turkey, oyster dressing, sweet potato casserole, green bean casserole, mashed potatoes, gravy, cranberry sauce, black olives (which my youngest son and I hate), Sister Schubert rolls, wine or iced tea, and pecan and pumpkin pies.
After we eat, we’ll sit around talking, mostly listening to the grandparents reminisce about the good old days when they were kids. Every other year, we visit my mom’s (and my in-laws are invited).
In those years, we had cornbread dressing (my grandmother’s recipe) instead of oyster dressing, and, in place of the green bean casserole, we wrapped bundles of green beans in bacon, stuck a toothpick through it, and baked them. No wine at mom’s house; she doesn’t drink. Same pies, and sometimes she’ll bake an apple cake.”
WEAR BRIGHT ORANGE CLOTHES AND HUNTING
“We put on bright orange clothes, go out into the woods with guns, and come back with large dead mammals and blood all over our clothes.”
COOKING WITH THE ENTIRE FAMILY
“My sister and her husband host. Guests are usually me and my parents, my grandmother, and my sister’s husband’s parents and brother. We usually have a menu-setting email going around for a couple of weeks before the day, where we’ll each decide who will be responsible for what.
I usually head to my parent’s house the night before. In the morning, we watched the parade, then drove up to my sister’s. My mother, sister, brother-in-law, brother-in-law’s-brother, and I usually spend most of the day cooking.
We usually eat around 5 or 6 (usually with snacks – soup, charcuterie, etc. to keep us going throughout the day, but no big meal before dinner). Dinner is turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, gravy, cranberry sauce, and 2-3 vegetables (brussels sprouts, sweet potato, etc.), plus various desserts.
This year, I think I’m going to try making an Indian pudding, plus ice cream and maybe a chocolate cake or cookies. My sister’s mother-in-law usually brings a pie as well.”
WRITING DOWN WHAT WE ARE THANKFUL FOR
“Lately, we’ve been doing this whole ‘Write down what you are thankful for’ and put it in a bowl, then everyone tries to guess who wrote what. The problem is that many responses are from people who had to leave early, so we’re stumped half the time.”
MOTHER GETTING TIPSY
“A fun tradition is my charming mother getting tipsy and making offensive hand gestures at the dinner table.”
INVITING FRIENDS/COWORKERS WHO CAN’T ATTEND THANKSGIVING WITH THEIR FAMILIES
“Everyone in the family is encouraged to find friends/coworkers who cannot or do not want to spend Thanksgiving with their families and invite them to ours. We also have various friends and family dropping in and out throughout the day if they have multiple social engagements to keep.”
HAVING MOM’S SPINACH DIP AND DAD’S FRYER TURKEY
“We get together around 11 a.m. at my parent’s and snack on crackers, chips, relish trays, etc., for a couple of hours. My mom makes this spinach dip that is amazing and is only served at Thanksgiving and Christmas.
The men are typically watching football while the women are chatting in the kitchen (most of the cooking is done; it’s just a convenient place to socialize). The kids are old enough that they can run around unsupervised. Wine and beer are served throughout the day.
My mom takes her time and does a traditional oven-cooked turkey with stuffing. It always comes out a bit dry. My dad uses a fryer to do a second turkey, which everyone quietly agrees is way better.
Around 1 p.m., the snacks are taken away to give us a chance to get hungry for dinner. Dinner is around 4:30 p.m. It’s set up buffet style, and if there are fewer people, we’ll sometimes eat in shifts.
The adults usually are high by this point, so don’t mind waiting. Dessert consists of pumpkin and apple pies with whipped cream. After dinner, people sit around and chat, groan about how full they are, sober up, get leftovers forced upon them by my parents, and head home.”
WATCHING FAMILY GET WORKED UP
“My brother-in-law’s family is rigid on the menu. No experimenting or variation allowed from what their mom made and her mom before her. Christmas and Easter have menus, too.
It drives them up the wall when someone brings an additional dish. His brother’s side has Italian/Mexican heritage and loves to experiment. That’s always fun to watch.”
GOING TO WALMART SHOPPING
“We eat a whole lot of food. Take naps during football unless it’s the Cowboys on. Then we went to Walmart to look at the black Friday crowd.
Last year, I went inside to see more of the chaos. I noticed that the 20 items or less lane was empty, so I bought a single carrot just to say I went Black Friday shopping. It cost me 13 cents.”
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This article was originally published on Mrs. Daaku Studio.