Thanksgiving Traditions ... How To Give Your Family the Bird.

A place for sharing family traditions both old and new.
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Farmfresh
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Thanksgiving Traditions ... How To Give Your Family the Bird.

Unread post by Farmfresh » Wed Nov 23, 2016 8:02 am

So ... what are your family traditions regarding Thanksgiving and your family? How have they morphed and changed over the years? Would you honestly say that Thanksgiving in YOUR family is a time of true thankfulness to God, family togetherness and love as it was originally intended to be? Or is it something entirely different?

When I spent years in the public school system I was actually dismayed to discover how Thanksgiving was in so many families. Too many spend Thanksgiving in homes full of people that are angry, drunk or stoned. Thanksgiving is a source of trauma for a lot of American children each year.

In our family we have always had a pretty good Thanksgiving. I must admit that the day was always much more devoted to gluttony and family than it ever was a thankful attitude to God who provided both of those blessings, but at least we always seem to get together as a family and enjoy each other (to some degree at least). When I was a kid we always had Thanksgiving at Grandma Nettie's. She was a very traditional Thanksgiving cook, but her food was ALWAYS amazing and at Thanksgiving she always pulled out all of the stops. I have talked about her cooking enough over the years for you all to realize what an amazing gourmet meal we always had. With Grandma in the kitchen and Grandpa, half drunk on beer and happily in charge of the parade on TV, those old family gatherings were always pleasant.

When Grandma was not around to cook anymore, my Aunt Beverly and her husband Fred took over the reins of Thanksgiving. They had always done their own celebration in addition to ours, but in Grandma Nettie's breech, the rest of the family was simply scooped into their feast day. Thanksgiving was Fred's day. During the year he was a traveling medical salesman, but on Thanksgiving he was a baker extraordinaire! He started baking about a week BEFORE the day. He baked thousands of rolls (not an exaggeration) and gave them to dozens if not hundreds of people. He baked amazing cinnamon rolls by the pan. He baked cakes. He baked about 10 kinds of pie including squash, sweet potato, pecan and home grown peach. They had a farm in those later years, so the turkey and sometimes also other meats were ones that they had raised. I remember the year that my aunt had to cook the turkey in two goes. It was so big that even cut in half it barely fit into her large oven! Parades were a HUGE thing to my aunt. I have watched enough parades on TV in her house to fill me up for the rest of my days.

By this season of our lives I was married with kids and attended Thanksgiving with several dishes to add to the table in tow. My mother on the other hand... You all have heard quite a bit about HER in the past too. Thanksgiving was a day that she would shine in Her special selfish way. Every year my aunt would ask that we all bring something to the celebration, but she was never specific to allow us freedom to bring what we thought would add to the meal.

What my mother brought to share ... year after year... has started it's own tradition in our family. While the rest of the family would come, laden with food, my mother would bring the essentials. One year she brought a stick of butter. One year she brought a salt shaker half filled with salt. Another year she brought a single tray of ice in a ziplock bag. Another year she brought a 16 oz bottle of her favorite soda. This was no joke. She felt justified in meeting the food requirement, like admission to the feast. She was an extremely selfish person. She would come to the table stuff herself in a ridiculous manner, laugh and joke, then as soon as we would leave she would burst into tears. "Why does my sister hate me so?!!" When there had been nothing but love and kindness at the celebration as far as the eye could see. And THEN... she would start to complain about the food! Seriously.

These days we have a tradition of someone (we usually ask a non-family guest) to bring the "self centered mom dish". A single stick of butter is usually what is brought.

After a while I got tired of the drama my mother would always give for the next few weeks after dinner at her sister's house, so I picked up the reins of the Thanksgiving meal. These days it is D2. But those are other chapters for the book.
Matthew 19:26 Jesus looked at them and said, "With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible."
"Stop Dreaming About the Good Life and Start Living IT !"
Every little bit ... is a little bit.

Quail
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Re: Thanksgiving Traditions ... How To Give Your Family the Bird.

Unread post by Quail » Wed Nov 23, 2016 10:14 am

I love this!! ALL of it, including the self-centered mom dish!

I will come back later today and post about ours. I will say for us it's mostly about family and food, and being Thankful.

dizzy
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Re: Thanksgiving Traditions ... How To Give Your Family the Bird.

Unread post by dizzy » Wed Nov 23, 2016 7:12 pm

We don't have any traditions, perse, but the best Thanksgiving I can ever remember was when I was in the 4th grade.

I had read a story about a little girl who visited her grandparents for Thanksgiving, and they had snow. My grandparents lived in PA, the next mountain range after the Poconos and I knew that they got snow earlier than we did. Since we were going to visit them for Thanksgiving, I prayed for snow.

To get to their house, we took the NE extension of the PA turnpike, then got on I 80 to Lightstreet, then it was winding back roads to their house. I'm not sure when it started to rain, but the closer we got to their house, the colder it got. The rain turned to snow. I don't recall if it was on the turnpike or on 80 that one car spun completely around. Praise God, there wasn't an accident. I can remember thinking, I know I prayed for snow, but this is ridiculous!

I'm not sure how long it took us to get to their house, but it was dark by the time we got there. It was nice to get into a nice, warm house and go to sleep. We woke up the next morning to no electricity. And, other than a woodstove in the basement, their house was all electric. So, for Thanksgiving, we went down the street to the neighbor's house. I couldn't tell you what we ate. I know they had a gas stove and a coal furnace, so it was warm and they could cook. I can remember playing on their front porch w/all the toys they had for their grandchildren and I can remember it being cold out there. But, there was also good fellowship and love. And that was the most important thing to have.

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Farmfresh
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Re: Thanksgiving Traditions ... How To Give Your Family the Bird.

Unread post by Farmfresh » Wed Nov 23, 2016 8:39 pm

It is interesting, when it all boils down to it, exactly what it is that is truly important.
Matthew 19:26 Jesus looked at them and said, "With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible."
"Stop Dreaming About the Good Life and Start Living IT !"
Every little bit ... is a little bit.

Rhodie Ranch
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Re: Thanksgiving Traditions ... How To Give Your Family the Bird.

Unread post by Rhodie Ranch » Thu Nov 24, 2016 11:57 am

I hated Thanksgiving and Xmas dinners after my parents got divorced. Mother and I would do all the cooking and then she would drink and hang her head over the dinner table, being all depressed. She wouldn't eat. So we ate in silence. |em9|

Later Mother got remarried and it got better, but still uncomfortable. She would put forth all the effort and then only eat scraps for dinner. Again, awkward and not so much fun.

The last three years my baby bro has invited us over for Thanksgiving, and it takes all the pressure off. She has a nice time with others; and we have a good time without worrying about her. This year my DD and her family are here. They drove down from Vancouver. They bring their own set of frustrations for me, but I'm going to have a wonderful time with my Miss S, the 10.75 yr old! |em21|

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Farmfresh
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Re: Thanksgiving Traditions ... How To Give Your Family the Bird.

Unread post by Farmfresh » Thu Nov 24, 2016 7:33 pm

Glad you had a happy time planned Murphy. I hope you really enjoy the holiday this season.
Matthew 19:26 Jesus looked at them and said, "With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible."
"Stop Dreaming About the Good Life and Start Living IT !"
Every little bit ... is a little bit.

patriceinil
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Re: Thanksgiving Traditions ... How To Give Your Family the Bird.

Unread post by patriceinil » Fri Nov 25, 2016 1:00 am

I remember going to dinner at my grandmother's house until the year that she passed away when I was 10 years old. Then my mom made Thanksgiving dinner for the next 5-8 or so years. In 1980 my sister got married and shortly afterwards started hosting the meal.

I remember the year she had gotten a new set of cookware and the lid got stuck on the pot with the gravy. I actually had to run to the store for more gravy because we could NOT get that lid off no matter what we did. She had put the cold gravy in the pot, put the lid on it and started to warm it up. It created a vacuum and finally AFTER dinner and the pot sitting in an ice bath did it release itself.

I always carve the bird, I have been since about the time my sister started hosting Thanksgiving. I was in high school when I first started carving, I learned how in a cooking class and have done it ever since.

One year I was cooking for my now deceased SIL &BIL and stopped at my sister's on the way to carve her turkey because they didn't know how to do it. LOL

We always share cooking duties and bring specific dishes. I bring the sauerkraut and dumplings, cranberry sauce and the pumpkin pie. My twin brings desserts and sometimes cornbread. My sister that hosts makes the rest of the meal.

Both my sister and I were a bit upset that my twin, her husband and daughter ate and ran. They could have said something beforehand to let us know they had other plans for the day.

She has always been selfish and things have only gotten worse since she started working where she does about 8 years ago.

She and her daughter came, sat down with the sales ads and basically ignored the rest of us. Then when the meal was ready, they took very little food and quickly ate in silence. We were still eating when her husband started to put the desserts onto the dinner table. She reprimanded him after the rest of us just stared at him in disbelief. Then we figured it out, they planned to run out the door as soon as dessert was done. It was so nice of them to give up 2 hours of their time for family.

She made a comment about this probably being the last year my niece would be there for dinner because she'll be off to college next Fall. Both of her daughters graduated, or will be graduating a year early, and going away to school.

The older one didn't come to dinner last year even though she came home and this year she didn't even come home. She rescued a dog and claims it as an "emotional support animal" so she can have it on campus. We asked why she needed the dog and my twin said because she has depression.

My sister and I figure none of them will bother to show up for Christmas this year and they are done coming to Thanksgiving after today. We asked the twin if her oldest would be home for Christmas and she claimed not to know. Plus they aren't sure if her dog will get along with their 2 dogs so even if she does come home she probably won't come to Christmas dinner.

Rhodie Ranch
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Re: Thanksgiving Traditions ... How To Give Your Family the Bird.

Unread post by Rhodie Ranch » Fri Nov 25, 2016 10:42 am

I was beside myself as we got ready to leave. My DD saw and said to keep breathing...

We had a wonderful time, as always! Mother is well behaved off her turf. I moderated my drinking of their very expensive chardonnay, for over two hours. Only sips, not gulps. I helped with set up, cooking, my SIL carved his first turkey (with great trepadation), ate wonderful hor d ourves. A french man brought foie gras (close your eyes and enjoy slowly), someone bought two FRESH dungeness crab (which I cracked and picked for many people), of course Lumpia and pancit from Brother's MIL; homemade spinach dip with sourdough, and more. Dinner was delish - I made creamed onions and brussels sprouts. I brought a stalk of BS and about 80% of the folks there had no idea how brussels sprouts grew. They were fascinated!

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Farmfresh
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Re: Thanksgiving Traditions ... How To Give Your Family the Bird.

Unread post by Farmfresh » Fri Nov 25, 2016 11:30 am

Sounds like a delicious meal, Murphy! Glad that you had a good time as well.

It is interesting to me Patrice how a family tends morph after the kids grow up. Some families grow together and others grow apart. My husbands family has come apart since his mother died a few years ago. He has a couple of cousins that used to be close as brothers and recently one of them moved to extreme southern MO from living quite nearby and never even bothered to mention it to us.
Matthew 19:26 Jesus looked at them and said, "With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible."
"Stop Dreaming About the Good Life and Start Living IT !"
Every little bit ... is a little bit.

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