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Thanksgiving Traditions

Thanksgiving Traditions

For me, Thanksgiving has changed over the years. It used to be a time of tradition, the family coming together, getting dressed up, enjoying dinner together and conversation or games after. It would start with everyone watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade.(Hey, I even marched in it one year!) The kitchen would be full of family all morning long, with wonderful smells wafting through the house all day long. The kids running around outside playing in the piles of leaves, tossing the ball around and spying on the men, who were sneaking shots of whiskey when the stepped outside for a smoke.

All the kids sat at a separate table, the adults lined up at the big one and platters of side dishes covered the middle. Grandpa would emerge from the kitchen with the biggest golden brown turkey you ever saw. Smiles all over his face as if he had anything to do with cooking the thing. He would ceremoniously place it at his setting an whip out his trusty carving knife and sharpener. We would then stare in awe as he sharpened his knife for what seemed a good half hour, an then he’d finally carve the turkey.

Time to eat. I don’t know how I managed it with all those people there and being at the kids table, but someone (I have an image of my mother diving across the table) would always save me one of the legs. Next would come a good helping of mashed potatoes and gravy, sweet potato casserole, green-bean casserole, stuffing, corn, peas, Brussels sprouts (yes I ate them when I was a kid), creamed onions (still one of my faves), and homemade dinner roles. I’m sure there was more, but that was all I liked.

When everyone was finished eating, it seemed all the woman rose in unison. The table was cleared, everyone retired to the living room where Gramps lit a fire and a football game was turned on. The game would be on in the background, card games and board games where played. And then the moment I always waited for the most. Desert would be laid out on the buffet.

Apple pie, Pumpkin pie, Cherry pie, molasses cookies and RED CAKE!!!!! Good Lord, I love Red Cake, lol.

And then, it was time to go home.

Now-a-days, The guys go out hunting, I watch the parade by myself, make some creamed onions and sweet potato casserole and we go over to the in-laws at five pm. Food is laid out buffet style, you line up like a bunch of cows, fill your plates, feed your face and move to the couch long enough to catch your breath and pass gas, then head home. I don’t even get my Red Cake unless I make it.

I miss the old days, I miss Grandma and Grandpa, and I miss the tradition of it being a whole day family process.

So what are your traditions???



12 responses

  1. Cynthia Osborne

    Our family does a breakfast of hashbrown casserole with cheesy eggs. Then after clean up we start on the dinner. Turkey goes in oven early we make a list and people start saying what they want to do. My son L is my potato man, son Z is a dessert maker, and daughter V is usually the taster along with hubby. At noon we all have to watch the opening of the parade and then all has to be back on the couch for the ending. After football has started we eat and eat and you guess it eat some more. LOL I love T-Day, but the black friday is when the tree goes up and that s for another day. Cyn

    November 17, 2010 at 5:15

  2. debbiegould

    LOL, that sounds great, Cyn! But the tree up the next day???? Yeah, that’s a discussion for another day, lol.

    November 17, 2010 at 5:15

  3. Blake Deveraux

    Debbie, Hon…

    The reason you had those traditions was more than likely, your grandmother, or grandfather (but ususually the female is the one ACTUALLY in charge.) decided it would be so. In families with rich family tradition, usually there is a core, a center who if it weren’t for the fact that his/her actions were always concieved from love, they’d more than likely be likened to Mussolini. It’s been my wish/admonition to those of us longing for the “old days” and tradition. It’s up to us to hang on to the ones we have, and then by God, start one or two. Announce loudly to those you love, “Just by the way, if you enjoy having food, etc… MOM is starting a new tradition, and we’ll ALL be doing x,y,and z this holiday season, anyone who doesn’t like it is free to file a grievance with the department of who gives a flying… We’re a family and for at least one day… We’re gonna act like one!” Yes, they’ll argue, yes they’ll complain, maybe every year… But if you think about it, Grandpa more than likely bitched every year about having to re-arrange the furniture, etc… for this big event, but you know what?… If he’s looking down from heaven, I know he’s thankful his complaints didn’t interfere with your beautiful memories… NONE of us live in Norman Rockwell portraits, but as for me, I hope some of my tyrannical obsessions give way to a fond memory or two for my family. As of now, my sister’s husband has already made it known, that deviation from the “family” tradition we have on my side WON”T be getting changed as that’s how Christmas is supposed to be. That’s what the season’s about… Making memories.

    November 17, 2010 at 5:15

    • debbiegould

      You are so right, Blake, and that is great advice. Since my Grandparent’s passed, my side of the family doesn’t get together on Thanksgiving any more. That is, up until last year when my 5 year old grandson insisted we have my mother come for dinner.
      And even though he is with his mom in Florida this year, we are still having dinner for my mom this weekend. Jadin re-started the tradition, but I mean to carry it on.
      Thanks for commenting.

      November 17, 2010 at 5:15

  4. Aww, we don’t celebrate Thanksgiving, but good on your for re-starting the tradition. It’s a bit like here with the traditional “Sunday roast”. I do it sometimes, but it’s kind of dying out.


    November 17, 2010 at 5:15

    • debbiegould

      We used to do the big Sunday dinner, too. It kind of stopped when we tore apart the kitchen, but I’m gonna have to start that back up. It’s the only time I get to see the baby.

      November 17, 2010 at 5:15

  5. Things do change over time, don’t they, Debbie?
    Your version, with the men hunting sounds like so many families I know now.
    And—oh, man—I remember the separate tables!
    As a kid, too, we females had to wait until the ‘menfolk’ were through eating.

    Enjoyed your post.

    November 17, 2010 at 5:15

    • debbiegould

      I’m sooo glad that part of it has changed. Woman folk waitin’ on the men folk. **huge eye roll here**.
      I was also very happy to graduate from the “kids” table, lol.

      November 17, 2010 at 5:15

  6. I’m with you, Deb. I miss the old days. And in the old days I had help with the cooking. Not anymore. So it’s become a real chore for me instead of something to be shared and to have fun with. No one to talk to in the kitchen. My family dwindled down to just a few.

    But those left still want the traditional dinner. So I cook. And cook. And cook. Two days of it. And by the time dinner rolls around and I’m standing there in the kitchen about ready to drop looking at the mess the scavengers left behind on their way to the sofa or whatever—I’m too tired to eat. So I start wrapping up everything and get a jump on the cleaning.

    I tried setting the table and having a beautiful centerpiece—but gadgets call–computers, game consoles, cell phones and non stop texting. I gave up on it all.

    By the way, can you send me your recipe for creamed onions? I’ve never tried that. I’d love to. Sounds yummy.

    Hope you have fun at the in-laws, hon

    November 17, 2010 at 5:15

    • debbiegould

      Awww, Tess! Holidays aren’t supposed to be like that. It might drain you, but it’s supposed to be a good feeling.
      Maybe this year you will get some help!!!
      I’ll send you that recipe. It’s easier than sin and soooo yummy!

      November 17, 2010 at 5:15

    • Blake Deveraux

      SINCE you are the one in charge of the “tradition” hon, YOU are in charge, If the others want the dinner, call a caterer, tell the family times are hard, they need to pitch in for the food, and hire the dinner out, sit down, enjoy the food, the company, and set a good example for the girls, mommy does NOT equal slave…. Kisses

      November 17, 2010 at 5:15

  7. We used to have the big Thanksgiving traditional meal as well. But when I married it all changed. Now we’re running from house to house. This year, my mom moved her dinner to Friday…which works out well because now we can eat twice as much without overstuffing ourselves. lol DH’s side does the traditional old-style dinner with the turkey, lard-fried okra, green beans fresh from the garden (boiled with lard added), cornbread stuffing, a bit brown gravy, fresh biscuits, and about ten different desserts. It’s crazy and all yummy. lol Not sure what my mom will do this year. My guess is she’ll already be turkied-out and make a ham instead. Hey, for me…it’s alllll gooooood. 🙂

    November 17, 2010 at 5:15

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