Discover fun and favorite things to do on Thanksgiving. Embrace the true meaning of this All-American holiday, revel in old traditions, and try something new. Here are a few favorite things about Thanksgiving.
What is your favorite holiday? Yours might be the holiday I love best too. For me, Thanksgiving is holiday perfection! However, I think Thanksgiving gets a bad rap! It gets squeezed between the horror and hype of Halloween and the rush to Celebrate Christmas! So, today, let’s take time to celebrate Thanksgiving and sing the praises of this All-American holiday.
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Let’s talk weather! If you live in a four-season area, it’s chilly! And friends, I love chilly weather! Late fall, where I live, is picture perfect. It’s not quite over the river and through the woods to grandmother’s house we go weather yet. And it probably won’t snow. But it’s cold enough to want to roast a turkey.
Bobby says we should have turkey at least four times a year. And for some very odd reason, he always asks me to make a Thanksgiving turkey in July! July and turkey-making do not jive! The weather is perfect now to heat up the kitchen. So, darling Bobby, I’m making turkey just for you!
A Time To Gather
One of my favorite things about Thanksgiving is when our doorbell rings or the door opens, and in streams the faces of the people I love! There is usually lots of chatter, smiles, laughter, and hugs as we usher them from the foyer into the living spaces in our home. Children are all rosy-cheeked, and adults asking where they can put the green bean casserole or the wine. And coats being piled up on Bobby’s arm.
To me, this is the essence and flavor of Thanksgiving! My gratitude and thankfulness start here! I want to breathe in this moment and hold it in my heart! The blessedness of loving and being loved is a gift beyond measure! And I am thankful!
No matter if Thanksgiving is big or small for me and you, it is a time to be thankful for those we love.
I’m sure you have heard of Friendsgiving! It’s a Thanksgiving celebration for friends. Many times, it’s a potluck dinner. I think this is a wonderful, creative idea. I’m planning an intimate get-together for a handful of my friends. I’ll be making the main course; everyone else will bring the sides. This is a no-fuss dinner. The focus will be on friendship and thankfulness!
Why not plan a Friendsgiving for some of your best buds? If you don’t want to cook, go out to dinner and come back to someone’s home for dessert. Or make it a progressive Friendsgiving if everyone lives close.
Friendsgiving is one of my new favorite things to do in November!
Setting A Thanksgiving Table
Another favorite thing to do in November is to set a Fall Thanksgiving Table. I love the idea of adding just a couple hints of the Christmas season to come.
If you are hosting Thanksgiving, consider setting your table a couple of days in advance. And you might want to spend a little bit of time perusing blogs (like mine, thanks) for Fall and Thanksgiving table ideas.
Look for an upcoming Centerpiece that will work as a transition bridge between fall and Christmas. Here are a few organics that work great for both late fall and Christmas…
- fairy lights
- any veggie or fruit
- mini pumpkins and gourds
- velvet or burlap ribbon
Think of your Thanksgiving table as a bridge between the remains of late fall and the beginning of the Christmas season. Keep most of the decor on the table honoring fall and Thanksgiving, but add a little nod to the upcoming Christmas season. Add a few springs of evergreen to a centerpiece, or put a fall-inspired Christmas ornament at each guest’s place setting. What a nice surprise.
The Thanksgiving Feast
Dinner is one of the best and most unique parts of celebrating Thanksgiving! Turkey, stuffing, and all of the food you and your family love in one big, over-the-top feast! Not only is Thanksgiving an All-American holiday but if your Thanksgiving is somewhat like ours, it is packed with tradition!
I love how we personalize our menus and look forward to certain Thanksgiving food year after year! Like stuffing! I use my Nani’s recipe, and stuffing is not really stuffing unless it’s Nani’s. Our Thanksgiving table needs green bean casserole made from frozen green beans, cans of mushroom soup and fried onions, and Jonathan’s cranberry relish.
My mom has always made the most wonderful gravy. Her gravy is so good she was dubbed gravy babe by my husband and my brother-in-law. Recently, she passed gravy making and the title along to me. I make gravy like my mom, but I make it ahead. What are some of your Thanksgiving must-have dishes?
One of the newer traditions my sister and I started was to put a small gift, usually an ornament or a devotional, at each person’s place at the table. I’m making framed picture ornaments for everyone at our table this year.
What are some of your traditions around your table and your Thanksgiving feast? Leave us your thoughts in the comments.
The breaking of the wishbone is one of our collective traditions.
However, the history of the wishbone dates back to ancient Rome. Romans would break apart a bird’s clavicle because they thought that birds had magical powers. Eventually, they broke the wishbone in half and carried it around in their pocket to bring them good luck.
A little gross, but who knew!
I remember what a big treat it was to be the one to try to break the wishbone and get the biggest piece. Did you have to break it by putting your pinkie around it, too?
Mulled Cider is a holiday drink. From Thanksgiving through the new year, Mulled Cider is the drink that reminds me of the holidays.
When our daughter, Jacqueline, got married and spent her first Christmas with her in-laws, I just could not imagine having Christmas in our home without her. Bobby, me, and our college-age son Christopher headed to Williamsburg Va, because it was the most Christmassy place I could think of that wasn’t home. Williamsburg was just the tonic I needed, and so was the Wassail or mulled cider sold along the cobblestone streets of historic Williamsburg. That was 15 Christmases ago, and mulled cider is still a holiday treat!
Here is a spice-forward simple recipe for Mulled Cider…
- 5 allspice berries
- 10 cloves
- 2 whole star anise
- 4 cinnamon sticks
- 1 orange, sliced- more for garnish
- 1 apple sliced with the seeds cut out- use a small star cookie cutter- more for garnish
- 1/2 cup fresh cranberries, optional- more for garnish
- a dash of freshly grated nutmeg
- 1-gallon apple cider
Making Mulled Cider
Put the allspice berries, cloves, star anise, a dash of nutmeg, and cinnamon sticks in a large pot over medium heat. Toast the spices for 2-3 minutes. They will become very fragrant. Add the apple cider and oranges and turn the heat to medium. When the cider simmers, turn the heat down very low and warm for about 20 minutes.
To serve, remove all the solid ingredients and run the liquid through a fine mesh sieve if desired. Fill a glass half full with cider, add some rum (or not), and more orange slices, and serve.
This recipe can be made in a slow cooker. Add all the ingredients except the rum into a slow cooker and cook on low for 3-4 hours.
The Story Of Thanksgiving
Do you know the story of Thanksgiving! Here is a beautifully done video that has been well-researched and worth watching.
Thanksgiving is the time to be thankful. Actually, every minute of every day is! But, to be thankful, this one day became a national holiday in 1863.
There are probably as many ways and stories of how families and friends give thanks as there are homes hosting Thanksgiving. Our family likes to use 5 kernels of mini Indian corn to count our blessings. We have done this for decades. Not every year, but most. And since our grandchildren have come along, the corn is something tangible for them to help them count what they are thankful for. You might like to read The Legend Of The Five Kernels Of Corn and use it to count what you are thankful for.
What do you do when friends and family gather on Thanksgiving day? Mostly, I cook! However, this year, I’m hoping to join my kids and grandbabies and go for a walk along the hedgerow of a field or two. We love to be outside on Thanksgiving day! Some years, it’s cold, and others’s just barely brisk. For me, it’s best if it is nice and cold.
Here are some ways to have fun as a family…
- Participate in a Turkey Trot. We have lots of trotters in our family.
- Play board games or cards.
- Watch the parades.
- Assemble care packages for the military, veterinary clinics, homeless, and Operation Shoebox.
- Play Thanksgiving Trivia. See questions HERE, HERE, and HERE.
- Draw names for holiday gifts.
- Take pictures for Christmas cards.
- Play football.
- Put together a puzzle.
- Take a drive and see Christmas lights.
- Watch football games.
- Decorate your Christmas tree.
Room For One More
Thanksgiving Day is the time to invite family, friends, neighbors, or anyone you know who is alone. Bobby and I were alone one Thanksgiving, and our friends Fran and Franz invited us to Thanksgiving dinner with their wonderful family. We had a wonderful time!
Oh yum! Make enough Thanksgiving food so you can enjoy leftovers. Leftovers are the best! Share Thanksgiving leftovers. I get Chinese take-out containers to pack leftovers in!
My favorite thing to do with leftovers is make soup.
Are you a Black Friday shopper? Have fun, and stay safe!
I have never gone Black Friday shopping. Instead, our family has a really fun Black Friday tradition. The women in the family get together Friday morning in our pajamas. We drink coffee and eat Thanksgiving leftovers. We only eat our favorite leftovers. For me, it’s mashed potatoes, stuffing and gravy. For my mom, it’s a slice of pumpkin pie. We eat, talk, and read Christmas magazines. This girl’s leftover breakfast can last into the afternoon. I just love this tradition!
The guys take the grandkids (used to be kids when ours were young) out for breakfast and then go for a hike with them and the dogs.
I would love this tradition to catch on! So, join us in this fun, girly Black Friday activity.
Do you have a unique Black Friday tradition? Share in the comments.
Start The Christmas Season
When do you kick off the Christmas season? Thanksgiving weekend is the perfect time! Why not plan an outing to start the season. For decades, my sister’s family and ours and our mom did something fun on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. Some years, it was as simple as going to cut down our Christmas trees. Other years, it was as special as seeing the Christmas Carol at the Ford Theater in Washington, DC.
Thanksgiving weekend is a delightful time to start celebrating Christmas.
I hope you have enjoyed A Few Of My Favorite Things- The Thanksgiving Edition! What are a few of your favorite Thanksgiving things?
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Happy Thanksgiving, Friends!