Create Your Own Special Thanksgiving Traditions

thanksgiving traditions

Oh my y’all! {Yes, I’m the Not Quite Amish writer from Alabama.} It’s less than two weeks until Thanksgiving. I’m watching the leaves fall here and preparing for my parents to join us for the holiday. My husband is a Christmas freak . . . but I love Thanksgiving. I love the lower expectations, the more intimate gatherings, the muted shades of orange and yellow in stark contrast to Christmas’ shiny red and greed.

Growing up, Thanksgiving was a madhouse of cousins and pies and board games and aunts shooing out of the kitchen and uncles saying, “Shhh, the game’s on.” It was loud and big and full of fun. And I look back with fondness at those memories. But Thanksgiving now is a much more subdued affair. My husband, daughter, and I will host my parents and his grandmother and aunt. I’ll say, “Yes, thank you,” to the offers of help and hug everyone who passes by me.

The seven of us will squeeze in tight around my dining room table made for six. We’ll pass the turkey, ham, mashed potatoes and gravy, sweet potato casserole, green beans, and cranberry salad. We’ll swap stories and laugh at memories of years gone by.

Then slowly we’ll meander to the living room, settling in to the overstuffed couches, waiting a bit before indulging in pumpkin pie and coffee. I’ll leave the dishes piled on the counter, choosing instead to enjoy the company of family. We’ll put in a Christmas movie and likely one or two of us will slip into a nap.

By the time we decide we need something sweet, the coffee will be ready and the pies already generously sliced. My girl will ask if it’s time. My husband will nod and off she’ll go. Grabbing the stockings, carefully chosen for each person who has graced our table for the Thanksgiving feast, she’ll hand one to everyone.

thanksgiving stockings || Teri Lynne Underwood

This is our favorite part . . . the moment when we wait with anticipation for our loved ones to peek into their Thanksgiving stockings. Pulling out items we’ve selected with great thought and love, little gifts for each one as the Christmas season begins. An ornament, a CD, a warm pair of socks, some favorite candy … nothing big, nothing amazing. Just a small gift from our heart, a thank you to each person in the room who is precious to us and who, each in their own way, makes our lives better, bigger, richer.

For fifteen years we’ve been handing out Thanksgiving stockings to everyone who has shared the day with us … friends and family alike. And every year, my joy and finding the perfect items to tuck into each one has grown.

What special traditions do you have for Thanksgiving?

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Teri Lynne (20 Posts)

Teri Lynne is a word loving, idea slinging, encourager of rest, focus, and embracing life's seasons. Her priorities include good coffee, excellent books, and lingering conversations. She is the author of Parenting from the Overflow and Prayers from the Pews: The Power of Praying for Your Church and the co-author of Self-Publish: Moving from Idea to Product. Teri Lynne and her worship leading husband live with their growing-up-way-too-fast teenage daughter and their ever pitiful basset hound in North Alabama where she finds time to write in between the car line and rotating laundry.


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