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Thanksgiving Traditions

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Since we're hosting Thanksgiving for the first time this year (and by next November we'll have a little one at the table), I've been thinking a lot about the traditions I'd like to start. A couple of weeks back, I asked people to share their family's unique Thanksgiving traditions on Facebook and got so many incredible ideas that I decided to compile them all into a post. Here are a few of my favorites that I hope to incorporate in the coming years.


"Each year I leave fabric markers out for people to write the things they are thankful for on the tablecloth. We "date" a section so that we can see what everyone writes each year. Kids draw and adults write a note. It is so nice to see who has been at our table over the years!"   -Margaret Doyle Kane

"At my house, we play all the Thanksgiving episodes of Friends throughout the day!" - Noelle Fontaine


"The night before Thanksgiving my family and I make three turkeys. One for the family, another to take to a charity to feed the homeless, and another to make sandwiches to give out to anybody we see in need (homeless; skid row). We also pack hot chocolate, water, etc to give out. Lastly, since we have a huge love for animals, we go Black Friday shopping for animal supplies and take them to the shelter. Also this past year we started a new tradition to volunteer the day of Thanksgiving at an animal shelter." - Danya Garcia


"Everyone has a pretty box and each family writes a short note saying why they are thankful for that person and drops them in the box. You read them after the meal." - Susan Stovall Faint


"My favorite Thanksgiving tradition actually takes place the day after. Instead of braving the crowds at shopping centers for Black Friday, we have a feast of leftovers then decorate the whole house for Christmas. It's the most festive, fun day of the year, and it's something our family has been doing for as long as I can remember." - Brittney Berget


"Instead of name cards I write three words to describe each person and everyone goes around the table and guesses who is who. It's a sweet conversation starter and fun!!" - Sarah Welty


"I have a tradition the week before Thanksgving. I do Friendsgiving. It's a day for those who don't have family living close by, or maybe family at all. I invite them to my home, make all the typical turkey day fixings, watch football, kids play and everyone leaves with leftovers. I've made it my tradition 3 years in a row now because in my life, my friends have been my family and that's who I choose to spend time with." - Heather Tietjen


"Before the kitchen becomes crazy, my husband and I pop a bottle of champagne and shuck some fresh oysters. It's fun, relaxing and allows us to feel in control before friends and relatives arrive!" - Janel Kozlowski Fink


"We have a dessert contest! Everyone who attends has to bring a dessert and we use a rating system (taste, texture, presentation) to determine the winner. We're going into our 9th year." - Kelly Beall


"My family has a fun competition - the first person to finish eating has to wash all the dishes. It made us stay at the table longer with each other and fall over laughing as we try to slooowly eat and drink. In the end we all help out with the cleaning." - Daniella Johnson


"The week before Thanksgiving my girls go through their playroom and find toys they no longer play with (must have all the pieces) or items they think others would enjoy. We donate them to a women's shelter. I want them to be thankful for what they have (realize their good fortune) and it also helps to prepare the room for the arrival of new items from Santa!" - Kate Allen Fremgen


"My husband's family always participates in a local Turkey Trot or 5k the morning of Thanksgiving. We walk as a family, a refreshing start to a day full of eating!" - Vanessa Lewis Williams


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