Thanksgiving and traditions just seem to go hand-in-hand. Part of the fun of celebrating Thanksgiving is that each family has their own traditions that make their holiday celebrations complete. As families grow, more traditions are added and this makes for an interesting holiday. In addition, considering the long distances between families, some groups of friends have chosen to form their own “families”?; this allows those who can not get home to celebrate to have a place where they can come. All of this meshing of different traditions and backgrounds can make for a lot of fun when trying to decide what Thanksgiving celebrations to include while making your holiday unique and special. With a little planning and creativity, taking that special day off to spend with family and friends is something many people look forward to in their hectic lifestyles. The traditions that bring you together are probably some of the things you remember most about your Thanksgiving get-togethers.
•Thanksgiving Day Prayers and Giving Thanks-many families choose to begin Thanksgiving by attending church prayer services in the morning. This is a special day for churches and they provide wonderful services that can leave a joyful feeling in your heart. If your church of choice is not open on Thanksgiving Day consider having a prayer service in your home. Other families choose to begin their meal with a prayer before eating. Prayer traditions before Thanksgiving meals can vary widely from family to family. Often, prayers are said every year by the same family member, (often the oldest family member) giving thanks for the countless blessings enjoyed. Some families prefer to rotate the prayer opportunity between family members, so every year; a different family member says the Thanksgiving prayer. Other families simply choose to go around the table and have each person state something they are thankful for.
•A Traditional Thanksgiving Dinner-the traditional menu that is presented each Thanksgiving seems to be the highlight of the day. While there are many regional and personal preferences that come into play, basically the menu remains the same from house to house. The most common menu seems to always consist of roast turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing or dressing, cranberries in some form, sides and delicious desserts. While other holidays may call for decadent desserts Thanksgiving always seem to be the time for the home baker to shine with pumpkin, apple and lemon meringue pie being the most popular. Many families also use this meal to set a spectacular table often using heirloom linens, silver and china. While this does not change how the food tastes, it does indeed set the mood for Thanksgiving festivities.
•Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade-for many people it just is not Thanksgiving without watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade. Contrary to popular belief it was the Gimbals Department Store in Philadelphia that actually started this tradition, but after Macy’s debuted their parade in 1927 it has become a tradition ever since. The ultimate highlight of the parade is the larger than life balloon characters that float along throughout the parade.
•Thanksgiving shopping-a more recent Thanksgiving tradition is the after-holiday shopping. Retailers typically call this day the biggest shopping day of the year with bargains to lure in most shoppers. Some of the fun for many Thanksgiving participants is the yearly search of the ads and the strategic planning for the shopping that often takes place at dawn the next day. While retailers may complain from year to year about their actual sales no one (avid shopper or retailer) seems to want to change this Thanksgiving tradition.
•Thanksgiving charity-perhaps there is no better way to express your gratitude on this most joyful of holidays than to participate in charity work. If this is a new tradition that you want to establish in your family consider working in a food kitchen serving Thanksgiving dinner to those who have no home to go to. Many families report that this is the most meaningful of all their Thanksgiving traditions. If serving at a food kitchen is not possible in your area you may want to consider having your own food drive for a local food bank where resources are especially strained during the holidays. Whatever you choose to do will be right for your family and may just make your Thanksgiving traditions more joyful than they ever have been.