Thanksgiving Traditions

grandma-just-before-surgery-dec-2015By Ellen Andersen

Next week is Thanksgiving, a time when we look back over the past year and celebrate  what we’re grateful for. One thing I’m most thankful for is my family. We’ve always gotten together at Grandma’s house.    The family’s changed over the years with the grandkids getting married and having kids.  Now some of the great grandkids are married too.

Still, traditions continue. Everyone brings something for a potluck of everyone’s favorite foods. Turkey (of course), stuffing, cranberry sauce–both canned and homemade (there an on-going debate in my family as to which is the “real” kind). cranberries Then there’s mashed potatoes, an appetizer that always illustrates Aunt Mina’s creativity, rolls, cornbread, fruit salad, hot veggies, deviled eggs, and several pies.  Festivities typically start around noon that day, with people arriving from all over California, where most of my family lives. We travel from South Carolina to be there. It’s a long way, but always worth it, as we only get to see the whole family once a year.


After a large meal, meal everyone goes for a walk even though it’s getting dark. The cool air helps wake us up,  countering the effects of the tryptophan in the turkey. At least that’s the theory. It works to some extent.

 Charades is a family tradition each year for us. We form two teams (guys vs. girls) and each dessert-at-thanksgivingteam comes up with movies, books, songs, and TV shows for someone on the other team to act out without saying anything or making any noises.  Everyone has up to three minutes for their team to come up with the right answer.  There’s always lots of laughter, teasing, and good-natured competitiveness.  In recent years, we’ve had additional games such as Fish Bowl and a Factoid Game.  Whatever the details, it’s guaranteed to be fun.

So, how about you? What does Thanksgiving mean to you?  How do you celebrate the holiday?  I’d love to hear your stories.

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