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Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Our Thanksgiving Traditions

Over the river and through the woods to Grandmother's house we go....

That's how many a holiday started out for our family when I was growing up. Whether near, or later far when we moved to a different state, we usually headed to my grandparent's house for the holidays....both Thanksgiving and Christmas. I have such wonderful memories of gathering together with family to spend the holiday together.

You know me. I'm all about tradition and creating memories for our children. I hope that when my kids grow up they will cherish the time spent together with family just as I do now.

So let me tell you a little bit about our Thanksgiving traditions. We live in the same area as both my family and Hubster's so we alternate years between the two. We used to try and do both, but we'd wind up stuffed and exhausted. Once kids entered the picture it was pretty clear things had to change.  Alternating years has worked really well for us.

There are some things both sides have in common and definitely some differences.


On the years we spend with Hubster's family, we generally go to my in-laws house. My mother-in-law usually serves a large group.... I'd say anywhere from 18 to 28. They make the turkey and some of the sides, but everyone also pitches in and brings a dish. It is a true feast! The menu ranges from traditional Thanksgiving dishes to whatever somebody wants to bring.

I remember one year my mother-in-law asked me to bring the broccoli salad I make that she likes. I thought it was sort of odd since to me it wasn't a "Thanksgiving dish." (My family is very traditional about the meal as you will see.) But I made it and it was eaten up. Hubster's family are "equal opportunity eaters" and don't sweat the details....which is a good thing. It's been a great example to me over the years. I told you God provided just the right man for me to marry!

The good china is used, but since usually there are a lot of us we are a little bit spread around at various tables, so it tends to be rather informal. We eat at lunchtime and usually take a break before desserts are served buffet-style. There is always football on the TV and a little napping for the men. And the women congregate in the kitchen and check out the Thanksgiving ads from the newspaper. Those who are Black Friday shoppers begin to formulate their plan of attack and we start to exchange Christmas wish lists. If the weather is nice enough, some of us go for a walk to burn off some of our huge lunch.

So that pretty much sums up Thanksgiving with Hubster's family. It's always a fun time with lots of people and activity. I'm so blessed to have wonderful in-laws!

Now let me tell you about Thanksgiving with MY family. 

As I said, we alternate years. In recent years, my sister has been hosting Thanksgiving at her house. I've hosted a couple times over the years (I did last year), but the alternating thing has kind of kept me from hosting more regularly.

My family has a traditional (to us) Thanksgiving menu.  You DON'T mess with the menu! And we all pitch in.

We have turkey, stuffing (and there's ALWAYS a discussion on what the difference is between stuffing and dressing), mashed potatoes, gravy, corn, cranberry jelly from the can, and cinnamon applesauce jello salad. The only alteration there has been in the menu in recent years is that they now let me bring my mother-in-law's sweet potato souffle recipe too. (I promise to share that recipe sometime before Thanksgiving. It's so yummy!)

And we have a very special secret recipe for our stuffing. It's called....Stove Top. Hey, we all love it so why not?

We always cook one of those turkeys with the pop-up timer. And we inevitably get a call saying, "The turkey popped! You need to come NOW!"

We also eat at lunchtime. The good china is used. But I guess we're just not fancy-schmancy because it never feels formal. My sister also has a couple turkey serving bowls with lids that our Grandma made when she did ceramics. I always love seeing those.

After stuffing ourselves, we usually take a break before dessert which is pumpkin and apple pie.

We may have the TV on for the parade while we wait to sit down to eat. But usually it's no TV. We're not a big football crowd. We're more into board games and so we always play some of those. There may be a little napping that goes on too.

We also scan the ads and talk about Christmas wish lists. 

Later in the evening, the leftovers are pulled out. The last few years we've also been adding some appetizers to the evening meal. (Pinterest was a huge help for that last year!) It makes for another huge feast.

Usually after that, we waddle home. Ha ha!

So that's it. 

No matter where we spend our Thanksgiving we always head home happy and feeling extremely blessed and thankful for our family and the wonderful times we share together.

So what about you? What are your Thanksgiving traditions? I would love for you to leave a comment and tell me!

You're also invited to join me at Sally's Thanksgiving Traditions linky party over at Drinking From My Saucer ['cause my cup has overflowed].

Today's Thankfulness....

* For a day set aside to be thankful.

* For time spent with family.

* For the wonderful family that I married into.
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- Jill


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