Thanksgiving Traditions Old and New - and Even a Little Crazy!

November 16, 2017

What Is Your Thanksgiving Tradition?

So, will you be bowling frozen turkeys down the aisle at your local grocery store this Thanksgiving? Or perhaps you're planning a toy-gun or pie throwing battle?

Crazy? Yes -- but these are among the many different, genuine Thanksgiving traditions that people use in their celebration of this festive day. (The pie-throwing is in Missouri, by the way, while the turkey bowling happens in Wisconsin).

Of course, we all know about the roots of Thanksgiving back in the early days of the first American settlers. And we mostly (but not all) follow a similar culinary route of turkey and all the fixings.

But there's a lot more to family thanksgiving traditions than that -- some of them providing some great ideas if you're looking to introduce something new for this year's celebrations.

For example, here are a few thoughtful ideas for Thanksgiving traditions that we've collected from clients and websites during the past couple of weeks:

  • Collect old recipes from within the family and try different preparation and cooking techniques.
  • Make it a pie-only event in which you and your guests each provide a different type of pie -- from quiches to turkey pot pie.
  • Eat later. It's traditional to eat your Thanksgiving meal in the midafternoon. Why not leave it until dinner time, allowing more time for relaxing and those demanding meal preparations?
  • Revive the true spirit of Thanksgiving by inviting all your guests to write down or recall something from the past year that they feel particularly thankful about and then go around the table allowing each person to tell their story.
  • In the same sort of way, use your Thanksgiving gathering as a way of commemorating loved ones who have passed. Sometimes, this might be the first Thanksgiving alone for someone newly bereaved. Hold hands and say a prayer for those who have passed and the joy they brought into your lives.
  • Draw your children more into the celebrations by having them serve desserts. It'll deflect their excitement and make them feel much more a part of the grown-ups' gathering.
  • Set up a video link to draw in family and friends who are too far away to be there in person.
  • Keep the holiday spirit going by playing Christmas music and decorating your Christmas tree.
  • Start a tablecloth tradition. Buy a plain table cloth and invite your holiday guests between Thanksgiving and New Years to sign it. Then embroider over the signatures.

Thanksgiving Buying

How has the holiday shopping affected Thanksgiving traditions? In a word "bigly" -- and that's not a new word by the way; it's been in used in England since the 1300s!

In recent years, we've seen a huge increase in holiday shopping around the Thanksgiving period.

First, it was just a Friday sales day, eventually leading to the term "Black Friday", then followed by "Cyber Monday". But this year, many retailers have already kicked off their Thanksgiving sales in the run-up to the holidays.

And with more shoppers now doing their buying online, Thanksgiving Day itself is likely to see many people glued to their PCs and phones during the day, hunting for bargains.

Is this a good thing? Only for the retailers, we think. The rest of us will be mourning how holiday shopping has "eaten" into our Thanksgiving traditions -- turning it into an ever-more commercial event rather than a true family celebration.

Thanksgiving Harmony

Of course, there might be those who welcome online shopping as the chance to escape a less-than-pleasant Thanksgiving tradition -- family arguments.

If these disputes regularly blow up at your celebrations, here are a few ideas to calm things down before they get out of hand:

  • Set a "no politics" rule -- and ask everyone to agree to it. Then you can head off any political discussions at the outset. Add the subject of guns to that list too. Oh yes, and religion.
  • Try to manage the drinks to avoid over-consumption. More family fights start because of alcohol than any other cause.
  • Carefully think out the seating arrangements to avoid clashes between people you already know don’t get on too well together.
  • Curate a collection of jokes and invite others to tell their favorites. Avoid games that introduce conflict (like pie-throwing!)
  • Escape the intensity of the gathering by inviting everyone to go out for a walk together.
  • Alternatively, just go out for a stroll with your significant other and enjoy some quiet moments together.

Thanksgiving Safety

Finally, let's not forget one other key ingredient to a successful Thanksgiving gathering -- safety. Here are 7 Turkey Day safety tips:

  • Ensure your bird is properly thawed and cook it to an internal temperature of 165 degrees. Cook your stuffing separately.
  • Keep the kitchen free of kids and animals, and ensure there's always someone there during stove-top preparations. Knives should always be out of reach of little hands,
  • Designate adults to take turns keeping an eye on the children and pets.
  • Put your leftovers in the fridge as quickly as possible -- even when they're still hot. Food safety experts say this should be in no more than two hours.
  • Keep a fire-extinguisher easily accessible. Thanksgiving is the busiest day of the year for kitchen fires, with thousands of them breaking out.
  • If you're going to be traveling, build extra time into your plans. Millions of Americans are on our roads on Thanksgiving, leading to traffic snarl-ups and serious delays. You don’t want to arrive in a frazzled state!
  • Keep a well-stocked first aid kit easily to hand. Your home may be filled to maximum capacity, increasing the risks of accidents

Yes, accidents do happen, especially on Thanksgiving. You need homeowners insurance or renters insurance to protect you against claims -- even from friends and family -- for bodily injury or property damage while they're in your home.

At this busy time of year, it's easy to overlook the need for proper insurance protection but this can be quickly and easily arranged with a quick call to Aldrich Taylor Insurance.

After all, you want your Thanksgiving traditions to be memorable for all the right reasons! Happy Holidays!