Different Family Traditions: What Does Your Family Do For Thanksgiving?

Different Family Traditions: What Does Your Family Do For Thanksgiving?

Brook Harper (12th), Reporter

Thanksgiving has been celebrated by many American families for generations. It is a time of the year where we give thanks for all that we have and spend time with our loved ones. And though that part of the holiday is almost universal in the celebration of Thanksgiving, every family has a unique way of celebrating.


Early Thanksgivings were held to celebrate harvest and to give thanks for what had been accomplished that growing season as well as a time to pray for military victory and for the end of droughts. Though the reasons have changed somewhat for celebrating Thanksgiving as well of the ways the holiday is celebrated, the act of giving thanks for the good things in life has remained the same.


Some people gather and watch the Macy’s Day Parade each year and eat roast beef with sweet potatoes and fresh green beans. Others go to Grandma’s and Grandpa’s house where they get to spend time with aunts and uncles and cousins and have turkey that was cooked in a smoker and for dessert, every sort of pie you can think of.


In my home we gather at our house with our grandparents, cousins, aunts, and uncles. Everyone brings a dish of their choosing, sometimes its “traditional” Thanksgiving food and sometimes it is something different like tamales or fried chicken. We watch the Macy’s Day Parade and because everyone is already together, we make gingerbread houses after dinner.


To gain perspective about how others celebrate Thanksgiving I asked people first if they celebrate the holiday and then how they celebrate.


“[W]e usually celebrate twice the day of Thanksgiving, once with my dad’s family and once with my mom’s family. [We eat] turkey, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce – all the usual stuff. And it’s amazing. Usually we don’t celebrate at my house; we celebrate at my grandparents’ houses with larger groups of people.” — Sydney V.


“Typically it is only me and my nuclear family for Thanksgiving, we typically just spend the day in the living room just hanging out. It all culminates with the meal around like 5 or so and some years we see a movie.“ — Stephon S.


My family normally goes over to my grandparents’ house (we switch between which grandparents by the year). The main course is usually turkey but we always have corn, squash, and mashed potatoes as well. My favorite part of Thanksgiving is getting to see my family that live out of town or that I normally don’t get to see.” — Josephine S.


“Yes we celebrate Thanksgiving; we make a lot of food and watch football. Ham or turkey is the main dish at Thanksgiving, sometimes we have people over sometimes it’s just us – we stay at home usually.  My favorite part of Thanksgiving is food and football” — Jon B.


“Yes, my family does celebrate Thanksgiving! The main course of our Thanksgiving dinner is usually turkey and ham! We usually spend Thanksgiving at my aunt’s house with the rest of my family and enjoy the meal together, so we do not have people over at our house. My favorite thing about Thanksgiving is definitely the food but more than that, being thankful that I have this food and a great family to enjoy it with!” —- Emma W.


Everyone celebrates Thanksgiving a little differently. Just because someone might have some different traditions does not mean they are celebrating wrong, they are simply making their holiday unique to themselves and their families. In the end, Thanksgiving is about being around the people you care about and giving thanks for what you have.