Show Us Your Life: Thanksgiving Traditions

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In my immediate family, we are pretty tradition-heavy. My family of 4–Dad, Mom, my sister, and I–had the Christmas traditions down to a T: we would go to Christmas Eve service, go out to dinner with the same people, come home, read the story from the Bible, read the Night Before Christmas pop-up book, bring down our presents ONE AT A TIME WHILE RINGING THE BELLS AND YOU BETTER NOT BRING THEM DOWN BEFORE CHRISTMAS EVE, leave cookies for Santa, and go to bed. In these post-marriage years for me, the traditions have relented a lot, by force more than choice. But it’s good to establish our own traditions, too.

Anyway, Kelly’s “Show Us Your Life” carnival theme this week is Thanksgiving Traditions. There have been a few years we’ve had to divert from the norm and host Thanksgiving in Tennessee–like last year, when we had a one-month-old–but for the most part our Thanksgiving holidays have a good rhythm.

We go to Ohio, where my grandparents and a lot of my extended family still live. On Thursday we have Thanksgiving with my mom’s side of the family. The menu differs very little from year to year, and there’s comfort in eating those same foods that we’ve had since I was a little girl: turkey, sweet potato casserole, scalloped corn, mashed potatoes, stuffing (and not that nasty cornbread dressing stuff they have in the South), deviled eggs, relishes, Grandma’s layered salad, rolls, green bean casserole, pickled beets and eggs …

Did I mention we usually have 30+ people for this gathering? I have 13 first cousins on that side, many of whom are married and have kids. So all that food is not as unreasonable as it sounds! (And I didn’t even start on dessert!)

We even have a traditional Thanksgiving dinner–leftovers from the lunch feast, plus baked beans, sandwich fixings, potato chips, and as much pie as you can get down.

The VERY NEXT DAY, we go to my dad’s side of the family for our “Thanksmas.” There our menu consists of turkey, fruit salad, green salad, the icky oyster dressing, green beans, sweet potatoes, Uncle Steve’s special potato casserole, and lots of appetizers. Dad’s side consumes olives like they’re going out of style (ick). After we manage to let our stomachs deflate, we open Christmas presents and sing Christmas carols.

It sounds quite crazy–and it is. But the memories are so precious. This will be the first holiday without my grandpa, and I do fear the gathering a little. It’s so easy to not think about the lack of his presence when we’re not somewhere he’s supposed to be. I’ll be missing his strange questions, his demands for more cheese and pickles, and his adoration of my sweet little girl.

Do you have any quirky Thanksgiving traditions or strange foods your family eats? Maybe a favorite recipe? Let me know! Link to it in the comments if you have a post about it and I’ll add the links to this post. And don’t forget to visit Kelly’s Korner for hundreds more posts on tradition.

Also added to Your Life, Your Blog.

5 thoughts on “Show Us Your Life: Thanksgiving Traditions

  1. I've been thinking about how much we will miss Grandpa this year. Libbie's not quite old enough to sing his part and with any luck she'll be a soprano anyway. Grandpa did his best to kick me off the alto part in recent years, but who's gonna pick up the slack on the tenor? The other two unmarried girl cousins had better find themselves tenors. As for being sad, remember that Grandpa will definitely be with us, even though we won't be able to hear him singing and talking. And he'd be REALLY excited to see little Libbie walking. He'd probably talk about how sturdy she was. XOXO

  2. I'd just like to note that Adam is a tenor.

    And I was listening to Christmas music in my car the other day, and burst into tears. I am going to miss Grandpa a lot this year, I'm sure there will be some crying…but I agree with Aunt Jennie, he'll be there. And I don't know…I might still be able to hear him sing 🙂

  3. My family LOVES olives too! LOL… My husband is in the Army – so we often do holidays potluck style with other families because we aren't geographically close to relatives. It makes for a fun time because everyone has their traditions/ stories/ side dishes to share!

  4. Sounds so fun, Jessie! I love traditions. My traditions changed since being married & now living back home. But do you know what my favorite Tgiving tradition is/was? Going to a movie after Thanksgiving. It's just fun to load up the whole family and watch a movie together.

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