Thanksgiving Traditions

Hands down… Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday.  I like it even more than Christmas.

Don’t get me wrong, Christmas is right up there as my favorite time of year, but I love the cozy comfiness that is Thanksgiving Day and the downtime for family to just hang out and eat lots of turkey and stuffing and not worry about how it is going to affect our waistline.

Thanksgiving is the day to reflect and be thankful for all that we have. It is also the day that the holiday season officially starts.  It is WIN/WIN all around.

But Thanksgiving is even a little bit more… celebrating Thanksgiving Day is about traditions.

Family, food, and TRADITIONS!  Every family has their own traditions that carry on throughout the years and my family is no different.

Thanksgiving at my house is set into a mold from which we rarely deviate.  It would not feel like Thanksgiving if we did.

I am always striving to share more personal things with you all, so I thought I’d share a few snaps of my Thanksgiving day.


Thanksgiving is not Thanksgiving at my house without waking up in time to watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

I have not missed it since I was a child. In 1979 I was actually in the parade.

Growing up, my sisters and I would stay in our pj’s and watch.  We loved the balloons and Bullwinkle was our fave. We were sad when they had to retire him back in the 80’s.  The Rockettes make me smile every year and wish I had legs like theirs :-)

Now I watch from the kitchen TV while Ed and I get food prepared.  My daughters help when the commercials come on.

The year I was in the parade, I had only 25 minutes from the time I reached the end of the parade route at Herald Square to quickly change out of my costume, grab my packed bags from my employee locker at Macy’s, and set out to Penn Station in a full-out sprint to catch the last train of the day to Philadelphia.

There was NO way I was going miss spending Thanksgiving day with my family.

In the afternoon, the day is all about football. We bake brie with Pillsbury Crescent Rolls and gobble it up while we watch.

On the table there will be turkey and my stuffing carefully prepared from my Mom’s recipe. These are what everyone favors, but there will be string bean casserole, mashed potatoes with gravy, and creamed corn.

For dessert – pumpkin pie made with a hubbard squash. I have tried different recipes over the years, but the tried and true recipes always win out in my house.

After dinner, my sisters always do the dishes and help box up the leftovers for everyone to take home. After the kitchen is cleaned up and is officially closed for the day, we gather in the family room in front of the fireplace and TV to watch Home Alone.

There is always a big discussion if we should watch the the first Home Alone or Home Alone 2.  A few of us usually fall asleep on the floor. When the movie ends,  everyone goes home and we go to bed.

The day won’t be perfect. The food may not be timed to all come out of the oven at the same time. Some things will get cold and have to be microwaved.

Dinner rolls will be forgotten in the oven until we smell them burning. Someone will spill their drink – the table setting may have some paper plates on it, the pies may not look Pinterest-perfect, but they will be delicious with whipped creme and seconds will be asked for.

The oven may decide to stop working when you place the turkey in so you have to cut the raw turkey and cook it on the stove top.  (Yes, it really happened one year and Ed was the brave soul that dissected the raw turkey so it could be cooked)

These are the stories that create the “remember-whens” that are what the holidays spent with family are all about. At the time it may seem like a disaster, but depending on what it is, it may even become a new tradition that will be carried on for years to come.

Some families may polish the silver, others may not.   Some may eat in front of the TV watching football, others may have a formal sit down dinner at 5PM, while others eat at noon and enjoy the sleep inducing effect of L-tryptophan in the turkey and fall asleep on the sofa while watching football.

Whatever your Thanksgiving traditions are, they are more important than making everything picture perfect.  Enjoy every detail and minute of each one.

They are what make the day what it is.

Happy thanksgiving

I am so thankful for my family and friends and the traditions that make the holiday so special. I am thankful that this little blog of mine has brought so much richness to my life. I am so thankful for each and every one of you.

I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving filled with rich traditions you share with the people you love all around you!

XO  Diane

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  1. Thanks for such a warm and fuzzy post, Diane! I love thinking of prior Thanksgivings and even though they’re never perfect(as hard as I try!), they’re always filled with good food and warm feelings. Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family. Your memories and stories are one of my favorite part of your blog posts!

  2. Cheryl Goosey says:

    Your home at Thanksgiving sounds exactly like our Christmas Day chaos we have down here at my daughters house in Australia the weather is definitely different up north where we live instead of a fires we have fans and often sit in our swimmers eating our Turkey etc.
    Love your Blog.

  3. Beautifully said…
    Thanks for getting to the TRUE spirit and meaning of Thanksgiving…
    Traditions, Family(either near or far) and the Blessing of good friends and loved ones.
    What more can a person ask for

  4. What, you don’t watch the Philly parade? lol. I marched in it (twice? well, at least once) with the UDHS band back in the day, when it was called the Gimbel’s parade. And turkey stories! One year the electricity went off and we had to take the turkey up to my mom’s house to finish cooking it. Never a dull moment! Hope you had a good holiday.

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Jan – My mom was from New York so I have always watched the Macy’s parade even as a child. I fondly remember Gimbels. We used to go to the KofP store. It was sad when they closed. Happy Holidays

  5. Design Furnishings says:

    Your traditions are so much like ours! The day always starts with the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade as I get everything setup to cook. Then we watch football as the cooking is done. Everyone noshes on trail mix and biscuit with butter and cheese. The dinner is traditional with turkey, ham and all the trimmings. Afterward we have dessert and cocktails by the fireplace. This year a new tradition started – my son now works in catering and helped me every step of the way. It was wonderful!

  6. You are so right. Everything will not be perfect and that’s not what it’s all about. It is lovely to have a beautiful room and table but the really beauty is in the people you are sitting down with <3 Happy Thanksgiving

  7. Kelly - Talk of the House says:

    Loved this post! I am right there with you watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving parade since childhood. ( I think I liked it better back then without all the “performance interruptions” that they feature today.) How exciting that you were able to be in it. Today’s parade would have been cold cold cold with the snow falling! Enjoy your day with your family.
    Happy Thanksgiving!

  8. Dear Diane,
    I so agree with you that Thanksgiving is the best holiday. I’ve always loved the Macy’s parade but like you I am usually in the kitchen. I try to be grateful every day but it is on Thanksgiving that I become acutely aware of how blessed I am. May you and your family have a beautiful day with traditions and food and those you love. Vikki in VA

  9. Ruth Anne says:

    Thanks for your Thanksgiving post. I always enjoy whatever you write about on your blog–Happy Thanksgiving!!

  10. Julia@Cuckoo4Design says:

    Sounds like a special day at your house. Happy Thanksgiving!

  11. Thank you for your invitation to share in special moments that make life so personal and memorable. I am thankful for the opportunities you have given me to repurpose and create so that my home better reflects my personal style and welcomes all who enter. Happy Thanksgiving….

  12. Beth Coburn says:

    Diane–I grew up watching the Macy’s Day Parade and cannot, for the life of me, get my husband and 3 boys to watch. So it’s all me hanging out watching while preparing our meal. So thankful though that we’ll all be together! Blessings to you and your family!

  13. Diane, Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family. God Bless.

  14. I enjoyed reading your blog post so much. The most important thing is spending time with people you love and being thankful. I hope you have a very Happy Thanksgiving!

  15. Beautifully written!! I love the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade too!! It’s probably my favorite part! Although any of the other segments of Thanksgiving Day would be missed. :) Thanks for the reminder to slow down and enjoy the day, and all it represents. May God bless you this Thanksgiving!

  16. Carol Griffin says:

    Diane, Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family from Murrells Inlet, SC…..just a “hop, skip and a jump from Myrtle Beach, SC. Absolutely love your blogs and this one especially.

  17. Sheryll & Critters. says:

    Diane, Happy Thanksgiving to you and all your family. You sure got this one perfect…. and the meal….. well, I am sure no one will starve even if the oven dies or some other stuff. I am with you on as long as you are together, that is what counts.

    Thank God For Our Good Old USA!

  18. Lovely post, as usual. I look forward to reading your blog with all it’s great ideas. This post was quite special. Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family.

  19. Melissa Leach says:

    Thank you for sharing your traditons with us, doing so makes for a stronger connection. Love the story about being in the Macy’s Day parade! My youngest daughter will be preparing her first turkey this year. She just got new hardwood floors in her condo and wanted to host Thanksgiving. Our day may not have it all together, but together we’ll be. LOVE IT! Happy Thanksgiving.

  20. Just want to wish you all a very happy Thanksgiving, sounds wonderful…..enjoy….hugs from the

    1. I wanted to wish you and your loved ones a very happy and healthy Thanksgiving.