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Thanksgiving Traditions

by Meghann on November 21, 2011

Lunch was fun today. πŸ™‚


I’m on a pumpkin kick. A big one. My pumpkin yogurt for breakfast could only be followed by a pumpkin sandwich for lunch.

Tempeh + Pumpkin + Pumpkin Butter + Cheese = Amazing. Grill it and it gets even better. πŸ˜‰


Seriously one of the best sandwiches I’ve had in a while. I love how versatile tempeh is and how it can take on the flavor of what ever you want. Tempeh is great seasoned with taco seasoning as a taco filler, but also just as delicious with a little jam and cheese.

On the side I had a serving of asparagus to get my veggies in.


Pumpkin also found its way in my ‘lunch dessert’.


The no-bake protein pumpkin pie was much better after it had the chance to refrigerate overnight. It firmed up and the flavors had a chance to really marinate with each other. I’m not sure this pie will make it to Thanksgiving. πŸ˜‰

And on a totally un-related note…

I thought it would be fun to see how everyone celebrates Thanksgiving. Every family’s traditions are so different and I love learning about them

My family is super casual.


We trade off who hosts the main event every year ( 2008 was my Uncle Bill, 2009 was my Uncle Andy & Aunt Betty-Ann, 2010 was my Uncle Bob & Aunt Carol, and this year it will be at my cousin Bobby and Candice’s house), we all sign up to bring various dishes (I’m bringing a veggie side dish and pie), and we eat buffet style after saying grace.


There are no assigned seats, no formal table settings, and shorts and flip flops are more than acceptable. There are usually 50+ in attendance that range from grandparents, to extended in-laws, to family friends, and to current boyfriends/girlfriends (even Derek’s parents are tagging along for my family’s feast this year).


We usually celebrate more of a Thanksgiving ‘lunch’ than dinner and later afternoon naps are highly encouraged. I’m not sure I’ve ever watched a football game on Thanksgiving or seen the TV on with one (we’re not a big NFL football family), but once my brother and I entered college, the tradition of watching the FSU v UF game at home or at either stadium the Saturday after Thanksgiving was born.


That’s my family, but I know everyone is different.

Is your family more traditional when it comes to holidays or are they relaxed and casual? Do you have a big get-together or keep it small? Thanksgiving lunch or dinner? More than one meal?

1 Danielle Dillard November 21, 2011 at 2:06 pm

I would say my family’s t-giving is pretty relaxed. It’s interesting trying to figure out holidays with my boyfriend though and who’s going when/where. His family always does HUGE all-day long family celebrations that are so much fun with games, kids, alcohol, etc. My family usually does a late morning brunch with us all sitting around the dining room table at the same time, 10 people tops, maybe some mimosas if we’re lucky : )
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2 Danielle Dillard November 21, 2011 at 2:06 pm

Oh and sometimes we do the Turkey Trot 5k! Woo, we get crazy!! πŸ˜€
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3 Krista November 21, 2011 at 2:20 pm

We’re sort of casual, although we all dress kinds nice? There’s usually about 12-15 of us, we eat in the dining room. Everyone contributes, however we all usually contribute the same thing every year. I’m usually stuck bringing appetizers. But I just love Thanksgiving & it’s getting more & more fun because more kids are coming into the family. This year feels extra special because we just found out my sister is pregnant w/her 2nd baby so we are extra thankful this year! I hope you & your family have a great one!

4 Amanda November 21, 2011 at 2:30 pm

We used to have Thanksgiving dinner at my grandparents’ house and my grandmother would do most of the cooking, but now that they’re in their 90s (my grandmother turned the big 9-0 this summer!), we go to a local restaurant near where they live for dinner. I’d prefer a home-cooked meal, but the food is pretty good and it’s so much less stress for my grandparents. My favorite part is probably the Yankee swap after we eat. It’s a new(ish) tradition for us and a lot of fun. πŸ™‚
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5 Irina G (Fit Flexitarian) November 21, 2011 at 2:33 pm

My family is pretty relaxed, too, but what sets us apart is that my dad is Cuban and my mom is Russian so our Thanksgiving is always a mix of classic American dishes (turkey, mashed potatoes, pumpkin pie!) and a few Russian/Cuban favorites. We don’t really have a big deal of the day, though. It’s always a late dinner and everyone kind of does their own thing throughout. I usually volunteer to make a few of the dishes while my mom takes care of the main courses.

This year, however, I’m not going home cause it’s just too expensive so instead me and a couple other NYC Thanksgiving orphans are having a dinner together. This time I’m bringing a broccoli & cauliflower casserole and a vegan pumpkin pie. I’m SUPER excited for this because, although it’s a bummer to not see my family, it’ll be nice to have a vegan option and my friends & I are already planning a tipsy post-dinner excursion to see Breaking Dawn. That should at least be interesting!

6 Army Amy* November 21, 2011 at 2:35 pm

My husband and I always watch Red Dawn on Thanksgiving Day. We alternate spending the day with just the two of us and visiting all our relatives.*
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7 Lindsey November 21, 2011 at 2:40 pm

More relaxed for sure! I have a super small family so it is usually under 10 people and hosted at our house or my in-laws. For Thanksgiving it is usually a late lunch, and Christmas we do breakfast with my Mom and brothers and then a late afternoon supper with a few more people.
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8 Sana November 21, 2011 at 2:49 pm

Even though my family is Muslim, we celebrate with a turkey and all the fixings!
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9 Katie @ Peace Love and Oats November 21, 2011 at 3:24 pm

That is so weird to see pictures of a Thanksgiving celebration outdoors! Haha way too cold for that here. In KC, we’ve usually had a snow or ice storm by Thanksgiving! My family is pretty formal when it comes to holidays, and we eat around 7 or 7:30 now. But I like the formality of it, I rarely get dressed up for anything! And the champagne doesn’t hurt either… We’re also a much smaller group, so that makes it easier to keep it formal. Yours looks like a blast! I love big family gatherings!
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10 erica November 21, 2011 at 3:48 pm

both my family and the in-laws are super casual. lately we’ve been going over to my husband’s aunty’s house for lunch, and my sister’s house for dinner. both super casual and informal.

11 Ari @ Ari's Menu November 21, 2011 at 4:02 pm

Last year I hosted Thanksgiving brunch AND dinner. Insane. Never again…well at least not this year πŸ˜‰ Ours is generally a dinner and I am a control freak so I make almost everything haha. We are definitely not formal, but the thing I insist on every year is that when we sit down, before we eat, everyone MUST go around the table and say what they’re thankful for. In fact, I’ve planned my Thanksgiving morning around what should be a really awesome thing to say at dinner that evening! πŸ™‚
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12 Lisa (bakebikeblog) November 21, 2011 at 4:07 pm

Sounds like the perfect family fun day to me!!!! πŸ™‚
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13 Erin d November 21, 2011 at 4:21 pm

We have thanxmas! We combine thanksgiving and Christmas with my mothers side of the family! Usually have about 15 people- we all get together at our family’s camp! Chubby bunny contests & pictonary games are highly encouraged!

14 Kate (What Kate is Cooking) November 21, 2011 at 4:22 pm

We always have Thanksgiving at my parent’s house and my grandparents and aunt and uncle come over. This year my parents will be out of town, so it’s just me and my siblings!
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15 Jamie @ Don't Forget the Cinnamon November 21, 2011 at 4:23 pm

Oh boy…I’m jealous of your sandwich! The pumpkin and pb combo is truly unbeatable in my opinion!

16 Cait's Plate November 21, 2011 at 4:34 pm

Oooh I’m totally addicted to tempeh and hummus so I bet I would LOVE tempeh and pumpkin!

17 Hillary November 21, 2011 at 5:14 pm

The big tradition in my family is turkey sandwiches…about two hours after dessert! Just when you think you couldn’t fit another morsel in your stomach, you make sure to make room for those sandwiches ; )
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18 Joelle (On A Pink Typewriter) November 21, 2011 at 6:32 pm

Oh, fun!! I love holiday/Thanksgiving traditions. πŸ™‚ That’s my favorite part.
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19 Hilary November 21, 2011 at 6:55 pm

I’m jealous of your sandwich…that would be the best part of working from home: making whatever you want for lunch AKA grilled sandwich! Thanksgiving is past for me: Canadians celebrated back in October, so it’s done now :(….I usually have two fairly traditional yet delicious family meals to go to.
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20 Corey @ Learning Patience November 21, 2011 at 7:04 pm

I’m from MI and every Thanksgiving the Detroit Lions play football…..its a tradition to watch the game while eating/cooking/playing lots of board games! When I was little we would drive downtown Detroit and watch the parade while my mom stayed home and started cooking!

We celebrated Thanksgiving last night here in Trinidad….just finished the leftovers tonight! YUM!

xoxo from Trinidad
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21 Lindsay @ biking before bed November 21, 2011 at 8:38 pm

Including pumpkin in lunch and dessert… sounds like a winner. Your Thanksgiving looks like a blast. A buffet definitely makes sense if you have over 50 people! We normally have a “kids” table and an “adult” table. But its all kind of blurry now that all of my cousins are married with kids.
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22 Lyn @ FueledBySalad November 21, 2011 at 9:12 pm

Maybe it’s just me, but I find tempeh hard to stomach. D: Which is a pity, ’cause I absolutely love tofu.

My family is pretty casual during special occasions, but we don’t celebrate Thanksgiving ’round this corner of the world!
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23 Heather November 21, 2011 at 9:37 pm

Thanksgiving is low key and relaxed at my house because we do the big family get together for Christmas. Honestly the past 4 years we have done something different every year! Lots of food, football watching, baking and napping. This year we will be by ourselves and run a turkey trot!

24 Elisabeth November 22, 2011 at 10:16 am

My family (about 12 of us) has a semi casual Thanksgiving meal. We do eat at the dining room table with a table cloth, etc. but we don’t really dress up and we use Thanksgiving paper plates vs china. Our meal (at dinner time) is the traditional turkey dinner with the usual sides and desserts. My mom and her sister take turns hosting, but her sister always makes the turkey. I always make all of the other stuff when my mom has it and I make the dressing when my aunt has it. I enjoy baking, but since there’s so much other stuff to cook, we buy Amish made pies (here in Ohio) that are delicious!

25 jane November 22, 2011 at 10:17 am

I am from Florida too, but our Thanksgiving is much more formal. We don’t do dinner until about 7 because the weather is always so nice and we are such an active family that we like to be out and about all day! We get relatively dressed up-nothing stuffy or anything (a casual dress or skirt) and eat outside on the back by the pool. Its quite nice. ha-I live in one of those “overpriced” homes you mentioned when you ran the palm beach marathon!

26 Cat @Breakfast to Bed November 22, 2011 at 10:41 am

if you showed up in your pajamas, no one would blink. We are ultra casual and like it that way. Just keep the food coming.
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27 Hemarie @ I Sweat Pretty November 22, 2011 at 12:57 pm

My fam is Puerto Rican so every year we celebrate with arroz con gandules, pastelillos, guineitos en escabeche and of course, the tastiest turkey ever. Five years ago I learned how to make pumpkin pie so we could have it at our celebration. Otherwise our dessert would be flan. I look forward to the feast every year!
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