Turkey Day Traditions

poster art for blog post with title of post and brief overview of post content

Happy (almost) Thanksgiving!

We are diving head first into the holiday season over here, starting with our Thanksgiving dinner with my dad’s side of the family. There will likely be two turkeys, multiple bowls of mashed potatoes, sausage stuffing and vegetarian stuffing. We will break out our favorite wines (there will be many bottles dedicated to the cause) and no less than seven pies on a bonafide dessert table.

I’m not kidding.

We are a big family and we like our family dinners, especially the holiday ones.

The Evolution of Traditions

Occupying the kids

For as long as I can remember, we spend Turkey Day at my Uncle Kevin’s, where he goes all in on Thanksgiving dinner. The rest of us help out with a few sides to complement his feast, which is the star attraction on the day. But it wasn’t always straight on to dinner.

When we were little, the older cousins (hi, it me) took the younger cousins to a movie before dinner. Multiple cars would convene at the Cinedome in Napa (now the parking lot where the Farmer’s Market takes place) where we saw many a Harry Potter movie on the big screen. Each year, we’d catch the matinee, rolling about two rows (and sometimes three, depending on spacing) deep. Popcorn and sodas in hand, this was inevitably how we would catch the latest holiday release— on the big screen. This tradition continued until about the time that my brothers where in high school.

Practice Makes Perfect

Both of my younger brothers played high school football and the goal each season was (in this order): win games, beat our cross-town rival in Big Game and “get” to practice on Thanksgiving. A Thanksgiving practice meant you’d not only made it to playoffs, but you had in fact won your first-round game. In high school, Black Friday was meant for football, not shopping the sales.

Thanksgiving practice was indeed something special: the players walked over from the high school to the stadium in town (not the normal on-campus practice field) and parents came to watch (encouraged by coaches even!) from corners of the field with coffee in hand. The local newspaper would show up with a photographer… Maybe it was just those seasons when my brothers played, but not only did we have a phenomenal coaching staff, but the group of parents were honestly top-notch. Everyone involved with the football program went out of their way to make it special for the players who “gave up” their Thanksgiving morning to practice (ha) but those parents put in some extra effort to make it memorable.

After practice and walk-throughs were completed, we all scattered and continued on with our own traditions of the day, with ours being going home to get cleaned up for dinner at my uncle’s house.

All Together

Now that we’re older (and Glory Days has stopped playing in your head), we don’t have the same pre-dinner traditions and we’ve even had a few anomalies to the day (I’m looking at you, Thanksgiving in France). But we do have more of an appreciation for just being at one table under one roof at multiple tables together and I’m here for that.

This year, I’m hoping the kids are still excited about the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and won’t put up too much of a fight when I ask them to wear nice clothes to dinner. It’s the little things…

Make sure you take some time to enjoy (or make new) traditions this season. If you do have some memorable ones, drop them below in the comments. I love hearing how other people spend the holidays!

Here’s hoping everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving.

2 comments on “Turkey Day Traditions

  1. Thanks for sharing your Thanksgiving memories Colleen. While the LeMasters were together on Thanksgiving, we were sharing similar traditions at one of our Power family homes. We are so blessed to have traditions passed on through the generations. I have a special place in my heart for Thanksgiving 1981 when Grandma Joan and her family joined the Powers on Thanksgiving just four weeks after our Dad suddenly passed away on October 31. It was incredibly comforting to be with everyone that day and they helped us through our first holiday without Dad. We will always remember that and we cherish our Phelan family cousins. Have a great Thanksgiving with everyone, especially your beautiful children ❤️❤️❤️

    • Thanks for sharing that memory, Patti! What a great one. We always enjoy getting together with our Phelan side as well. Hope you guys have a wonderful holiday season!

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