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10 Amazing Thanksgiving Traditions From Our Readers

14 Amazing Thanksgiving Traditions from Our Readers-1

What does a family sauna experience, a collection of unique prose, fresh flowers from a local florist, and the parade with a side of sweet potatoes have in common? The answer may not be what you'd guess. These are actually a few of the amazing family Thanksgiving traditions our readers have shared.

Thanksgiving is a time often associated with turkey, dressing, and laughter around the table for so many across the country. While we may all share the commonality of feasts, we discovered that many families have unique and special traditions within their own families that mark joyous holidays for them.


In preparation of Thanksgiving, we've enjoyed hearing from many our incredible readers about both the timeless traditions passed along from one generation to the next and traditions started in new seasons of life.

Here Are 10 Amazing Thanksgiving Traditions From Our Readers:

1. Readings and Roasted Turkey

Before she passed away, my mother-in-law would ask everyone who attended Thanksgiving dinner to choose 'a reading'. There were no other guidelines than that, but you would be reading it aloud, so some considerations would be taken. Then, at the end of the meal somewhere between clearing the dinner plates and diving into the desserts, she would prompt us to get our readings and we’d deliberate on who’d go first. A brave soul or two would usually lead off and then she would usually fill the first hesitation with her reading. She’d always choose something meaningful and poignant that always seemed to perfectly capture the holiday, the times we were in, and that night all at once. After that, she would move around the table selecting us and getting these eclectic prose, poems, lyrics, prayers, excerpts from ancient texts, and so on shared from the group. I always loved how much we could learn about the people at the table, the questions people would ask about certain readings, the topics of discussion it brought up, the jokes, the arguments, the stories, the laughs. It was very 'Thanksgiving'.

—Matt, Florida


2. Brown Paper Memories

Every year, we grab a roll of brown kraft paper from the store. We use that for our table runner on Thanksgiving and have everyone sign their name and write what they’re grateful for on it. We save them year to year!

—Meg, Wisconsin

3. Annual Nose Buffet

Our family loves to take a walk together before eating our big meal of the day. When I was little, I remember telling my parents that I loved walking through our neighborhood because it was like a nose buffet. It seemed to me that every house you passed you could smell a little bit of their celebration!

-Julie, North Carolina


4. An Unconventional Side

My mom always makes chicken and noodles alongside the normal Thanksgiving spread. I'm not sure how that got started, but it's one of my favorites.

-Mackenzie, Florida

5. All the Potatoes With a Side of Parade

Without fail, we start every Thanksgiving morning watching the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade together. The Thanksgiving meal must include beets and (according to my sisters) mashed and sweet potatoes! We always end the day watching a football game (even if the Longhorns or Cowboys are not playing!) and playing cards or board games together. If we are hosting the meal, my husband takes the turkey carcass and makes a huge pot of soup that we feast on for the days following.

- Lara, Texas


6. A Heated Experience

My grandma grew up in Finland and migrated over in her mid-20s, so they have a little traditional sauna in their house. On Thanksgiving (and Christmas/New Years) we always do a family sauna. If there's fresh snow, we all run outside in our swimsuits and take turns seeing who can do the most rolls in the snow.

—Tyler, Utah

7. A Classic Cocktail

My husband and I make a new classic cocktail every Thanksgiving. We have a journal to keep track of what cocktail we made and to write a little background on where it originated or why it's considered a classic.

-Kristen, North Carolina


8. Two for Good Measure

Our family always has two Thanksgivings, one on Thanksgiving Day and another on Black Friday so that anyone who couldn't make the first one could join in for the second one! This also helps prevent too many leftovers.

-Ben, Massachusetts

9. A Formal Tablescape

My grandma always loved a super formal table setting for Thanksgiving—every spot was neatly decorated with official name cards and holders, plus her fanciest dishes and silverware—the whole she-bang! She even ironed each individual napkin (and the tablecloth, of course). She also would have a big arrangement of fresh flowers made at the local flower shop that she'd place in the middle of the table. She's passed now, but my parents still like to set it all up the same way.

-Maddie, Utah


10. Giving Thanks

As simple as it sounds, our family always goes around the table while we're enjoying our feast to name one thing we're grateful for. Everyone participates, from the adults to the toddlers. Big or small, short or long—it doesn't matter. You just have to state something you're grateful for to remind us of all of our blessings.

-Jessica, Texas

Whatever traditions you and the ones you love have, we wish you joy and delight this Thanksgiving Day!

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