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Thanksgiving Memories and Traditions

This month at the Loft, we are focusing on Thanksgiving.

Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth.
Worship the Lord with gladness;
come before him with joyful songs.
Know that the Lord is God.
It is he who made us, and we are his;
we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.

Enter his gates with thanksgiving
and his courts with praise;
give thanks to him and praise his name.
For the Lord is good and his love endures forever;
his faithfulness continues through all generations
Psalm 100


I have so many thoughts on thanksgiving, I have some weeks to cover them, but where to start?

Maybe with Thanksgiving Memories and Traditions.

I grew up in a big family. I mean, my mom was one of seven kids. Then there are their spouses. Then I am one of my grandparent’s 25 grandkids. I have lost count of how many great grandkids they have now. My kids are two of many more great-grandkids.

At Thanksgiving, my aunts, uncles, cousins and my family would all head to Grandma and Granddaddy’s house. For some it was a short drive. For others much longer.

We would have dinner after Granddaddy blessed the food with the blessing he always prays over meals. Lots of yummy dishes. Eating until we were stuffed. Turkey, sometimes ham, rolls, green beans, yams, collard greens, butter beans, corn, stuffing, gravy, and a whole host of desserts.

After dinner, the adults would sit and talk around the table, or put on the football game.

Us kids would go outside and build a big fire and catch sticks on fire in it…. really anytime we get together at Grandma’s we would build a fire weather permitting. It was really fun at Christmas because we would burn the wrapping paper and watch the flames dance in a rainbow of colors.

Granddaddy started it. He was always burning pine straw and leaves and such. I remember at 5 years old, he would start me a fire and go mow the lawn! He had taught me fire safety, but as a parent now I cringe at the thought of a five year old playing with fire while the grown up outside in in the front yard! But I am getting side tracked here.

We would draw names for Christmas gifts (because, with so many, it would cost a fortune to get everyone a gift). Cousins would draw from one pool and aunts and uncles from another.

We would set up and decorate grandma’s Christmas tree.

We used to do our gatherings the Saturday after Thanksgiving so the the actual day could be spent with in-laws and the other sides of the family.


Those were the good old days.

But people grow up. What was once a tight-knit bunch of cousins, is now a loosely woven family. Gone are the days of seeing everyone at the holidays. With such busy lives, family is not the priority it once was for most.

How I wish we still did all of that! I hate change.

But I am so thankful for those memories and my sister and I are trying out best to make sure our kids grow up close and we carry on what traditions we can.

For our family, we usually do two Thanksgivings. I make a meal for my husband and children either Thanksgiving day, or the Saturday after, whichever day we do not have the extended family get together. I make a turkey (Good Eats style), cranberry sauce (Good Eats style), green bean casserole (with real food ingredients), frog-eyed salad (sort of a watergate type salad), butter beans, sweet potato biscuits, stuffing (I want to make that real food this year) and collard greens (though, I am the only one who enjoys them)…sometimes I make other dishes, but with just the four of us, we do not need a lot. I also make pecan and pumpkin pies.

I really need to start planning it out and seeing what I can make ahead.

I want to do some sort of thanksgiving tree this year. With the kids so young, crafty things are a bit above their heads, but mayhap if we start this year, next year they will be more on board with it.

We also watch the Charlie Brown specials this time of year. Charlie Brown rocks.

After our little family Thanksgiving, we put up our Christmas tree while watching a Christmas movie. That is probably my favorite part. I love Christmas time!

What are some traditions you have? Do you do crafts? Have favorite recipes?

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9 thoughts on “Thanksgiving Memories and Traditions

  1. LOVE Thanksgiving! Even that Psalm that you started us out with brings back the wonderful memory of making a huge poster on the wall and letting the kids go at it with stickers and paint to decorate it for Thanksgiving as we learned its timeless words. Thanks for this memory-filled post!

  2. I just got back last night from a “girl cousin reunion” of one branch of our family. So many people I didn’t know! As a culture we have gotten too busy to make time for extended family and what a blessing we’ve lost!

    Thanks for sharing your wonderful memories – and for sharing that timeless Psalm, May it prod all of us to be more thankful and to make time for all our family – not just the immediate ones.

  3. Thanksgiving has taken on a new meaning since we have moved closer to our daughter here in Oregon. We always tried to visit on either Christmas or Thanksgiving but usually couldn’t travel to do both so it is wonderful to be able to attend both holiday gatherings. We gather as a family on Thanksgiving and share an awesome meal. Afterwards we sit and talk and look over the “big paper” with the Black Friday ads and plan our shopping trip. We do find some bargains on Friday but it is really about us girls getting together and having a super time !!! We then go back to the house and feast on left-overs and share with the family again !!!! So glad we are now closer to family !!!!

  4. It sounds like your childhood Thanksgivings were much like mine…lots of family, food, and fun. I miss those days so much. My parents are in heaven, as are many of my aunts and uncles. My sister and I are no longer close, so I usually am with my husband’s family. I have wonderful inlaws, though, so I am blessed. Thanks for linking up this great post, Robbi!

  5. Hi Robbi,
    We also enjoy traditions as a family. I think they’re one way to make holidays and other special events even more personal. There’s support for them in the verses discussing traditions. Seems it’s just important to make sure they aren’t elevated too highly.

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