It seems that large family gatherings are becoming the exception instead of the rule for Thanksgiving. Our society has become increasing mobile. There are changes in extended families due to death, divorce, remarriage, and blended families. The cost of travel has gotten more expensive. All these things combined make it more difficult for families to get together.
If you have a traditional family gathering, with grandparents, great-grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins for Thanksgiving every year, you are blessed indeed! A friend”s wife”s extended family gathered for Thanksgiving in the same home for 50 years! Last year they committed to continuing the tradition in a new location after her grandmother died.
We don”t all have 50 year family traditions like that, but you have to start somewhere! If you don”t already have Thanksgiving Traditions, maybe it”s time to find some! I promise that it will be worth the effort! Becoming intentional about creating and continuing traditions will ultimately build stronger relationships with your family and friends, and create priceless memories.
Lots of people have traditions surrounding expressing their thankfulness at Thanksgiving. Some are as simple as taking turns going around the table naming the things for which they are grateful. One year, we passed around a “Blessing Cup” as we shared Communion, and expressed individual gratitude for our blessings. We also have a blessing box, where each person puts a note of thanks in the box, and someone reads them aloud. This “Thanksgiving Tree” from Better Homes & Gardens Magazine is my new favorite Thanksgiving Thankfulness idea from Pinterest. Check out my Fall/Halloween/Thanksgiving Board for more Thanksgiving ideas!
Our family”s main Thanksgiving Tradition is to go and cut our own Christmas Tree from Minter”s Farm on Thanksgiving Day. Minter”s Farm is 5 miles South of Fayetteville off Highway 92. We have been going to Minter”s for close to 20 years, and we always take family pictures with “our tree!”
Minter”s Farm Tree prices start at $7.00! You can get a 9 foot tree for $35-40, the same price as last year! They have the best priced trees around. The Minter”s are a wonderful family. They are working their family farm full-time, since Jim got out of the newspaper business. You may have had some of their produce at the Peachtree City Farmer”s Market. Minter”s Farm has hot chocolate and a small gift shop available. They offer free hayrides on weekends! Even “big kids” enjoy them. Jim”s tractor collection is amazing, too!
There is no law that says you MUST have turkey for Thanksgiving. There have been years when I”ve eaten Chinese or other non-traditional cuisines. Growing up, we didn”t have turkey for Thanksgiving! My daddy didn”t like turkey, so we always had ham! As my children were growing up, we usually had both turkey and ham. Cornbread Dressing, gravy, sweet potato soufflé with pecan topping, mashed potatoes, squash casserole, asparagus casserole, macaroni and cheese, cranberry sauce, field peas, fordhook lima beans, green bean casserole, broccoli casserole, deviled eggs, pecan and pumpkin pies, several chocolate desserts and assorted goodies round out our Thanksgiving Day (or Christmas) Feast! Growing up, my Daddy always had “Oyster Dressing”–a traditional Southern cornbread dressing with oysters added. (That”s one tradition that we”ve dropped, since he”s gone!)
Since our small extended family doesn”t usually get together for Thanksgiving, in recent years, we have simply invited a couple of friends and/or local family members to celebrate with us. When my children were young, they colored place mats (often from brown paper bags) and made place cards for us. Pine cone turkeys and other Thanksgiving crafts were our Thanksgiving dinner centerpieces.
I”m usually the one doing the cooking on Thanksgiving. My kids don”t enjoy most of the traditional Thanksgiving fare, so if we”re eating at home, I”ve started buying the “Turkey Dinners” from Publix or Kroger. Publix small dinner serves 6-8 with 4 sides and gravy for $39.99. <a title="Kroger Holiday Dinners" casino online href=”http://www.kroger.com/promotions/Pages/holiday_dinners_save.aspx” rel=”nofollow”>Kroger“s turkey dinner includes mashed potatoes, dressing, gravy and rolls for $44.99. Kroger also has Cajun Deep Fried Turkeys, which we tried, and loved, last year. (You may also buy items a la carte without buying the whole meal.)
Giving myself permission not to cook the entire meal alone, from scratch, has taken much of the drudgery out of Thanksgiving, and it saves me HOURS in the kitchen! Even though everything is pre-cooked from the grocery store, don”t think you just can “throw it all together” in an hour or so! You still have to warm the turkey on low, and heat all the side dishes, which easily takes several hours. Buying the prepared meal packages gives my husband and myself the dressing and casseroles we enjoy, while enabling most of my cooking time to be devoted to the side dishes and desserts my family prefers.
If you are having guests and anyone offers to bring a dish, or help you cook, I encourage you to take advantage of that! Many hands make light work! My friend, Gail Murphy, always stays till the end and helps clean up, which is such a gift! Many large family Thanksgiving gatherings I”m hearing about this year consist of everyone bringing food to contribute to the meal, instead of just a few people cooking everything.
Eating out is another option we have enjoyed since our kids are in college. The Terrace Restaurant at the Wyndham Peachtree Conference Center has an upscale Thanksgiving buffet, and is a favorite for special occasions. Reservations are required, and they usually sell out on holidays. The Brunch Buffet is from 11:30-2:30, and is $36.95 for adults and $14.95 for ages 6-11. Children under 5 eat free.
Last year, we ate at Tim”s Country Kitchen, 175 Banks Station, Fayetteville, GA 30214, Phone 770-716-0303. The ambiance isn”t fancy, but their Southern Home Cooking is among the best in Fayetteville! We also bought take-out plates so we could enjoy leftover turkey and dressing at home! Currently, they project their Thanksgiving hours to be 11-5. (Hint: Tim”s is also good for other occasions when you don”t have time to cook. If you need catering, or food for a special event, Tim”s will fix containers of meats and vegetables for you. I have taken Tim”s vegetables paired with Honey Baked Ham* to bereaved families when I”ve been short on time! *NOTE: Honey Baked Ham has recently moved to the Kroger Shopping Center south of Fayetteville.)
Watching football after the Thanksgiving Feast is a tradition in many families, as is Thanksgiving Day shopping, now that a number of stores are opening on Thanksgiving Day! Some families have traditions of playing games (indoors and out) after Thanksgiving dinner. Many people have traditional recipes for using up leftover turkey. I”m always looking for those ideas!
The week after Thanksgiving, it”s traditional for our family to go Fayetteville”s Annual Tree Lighting and Free Carriage Rides With Santa. The event is in downtown Fayetteville, on Saturday, December 1. The Christmas Parade starts at 5, after which you can enjoy free popcorn and hot chocolate, with carriage rides from 6-8 p.m., followed by the tree lighting.
If you”ve been in any national chain stores lately, you”ve seen that it is already “…beginning to look a lot like Christmas!” I hope everyone has a WONDERFUL Thanksgiving, and that you get a jump start on your Thanksgiving and Christmas preparations, so you can relax and enjoy this wonderful time of year!
PLEASE SHARE YOUR FAMILY”S THANKSGIVING TRADITIONS, FAVORITE FOODS, RECIPES, ETC., IN THE COMMENTS! Thanks, y”all! Happy Thanksgiving!