How Do You Celebrate Thanksgiving?

Thanksgiving is almost here, despite the strains of canned Christmas music in stores across the country, rushing us toward December. Don’t let big box stores steal a day of thankfulness and gratitude!  It’s the best time of the year for time-honored traditions that often don’t cost a thing.

A recent request for off-beat Thanksgiving traditions revealed some unexpected traditions: an American married to a Scotsman now celebrates St. Andrew’s Day as well, with a bit of haggis added to her Thanksgiving Day menu. One friend’s family chooses a “theme” for Turkey day, and the clan comes in costume, whether it be Greek gods, football players, or garden flowers (and a gnome).  And then there’s the friend whose grandmother “dresses” the turkey in a bikini, a la Amelia Bedelia, that delightfully literal children’s book heroine:

amelia_bedilia_1_401“Amelia Bedelia is Mr. and Mrs. Roger’s new maid, and she has a big list of things to do while they are away. But they sure do ask her to do strange things! The list says to dust the furniture, draw the drapes, and dress the turkey. And Amelia Bedelia does just that: she carefully sprinkles dust all over the furniture; she takes out a pad of paper and draws a beautiful picture of the drapes; and she wastes no time taking out a needle and thread and making a nice little suit to dress the turkey with.” (Exodus Books)

Grandma’s turkey-bikini (turkini?) must add a touch of scandal when one requests the breast meat.  Does your family have any unlikely traditions to celebrate Thanksgiving?  Have you incorporated any other countries’ customs into your day?

With southern California’s sunny Novembers, it’s often an outdoor meal. It’s always fun to burn the booze and butter with a morning walk or a game of flag football (or does your family go for the full tackle?).  If you live where it’s already rainy or even snowing, what indoor games are your favorites? Is the TV tuned in to the Macy’s Parade? Do you, grown adult, actually prefer sitting at the kid’s table, where you can really dig in to your pumpkin pie?

If you’re growing a winter garden, have you harvested anything to add fresh farm-to-table bites to your menu?  According to Bon Appétit, one thing you don’t want fresh your garden is a puree of your own pumpkin for that classic pie. The magazine’s site highlights common mistakes to avoid for each course of your meal.

The Thanksgiving dinner is the most important part of my day, so I don’t want electronics distracting from what is important, tasting and sharing the delicious meal!  There’s a strict no TV, iPads, games or phones rule. And no kids’ table, I enjoy eating and talking with everyone!

Take a look at a few authors’ Thanksgiving traditions over at Real Simple, from Garrison Keillor’s prayers to the music accompanying Allegra Goodman’s memories.

What stories shape your Thanksgiving celebrations? I’d love to know some of your traditions! Do you make / grow your own decorations? Is there a family recipe that must be on the table?  Do you donate to the food bank? Or take a moment at the table to share what you’re thankful for?  Leave a note in the comment section, or tell us on Twitter @TheCityFarm.

This year, I’m especially thankful for the new City Farm community that we’re growing here, together.  Have a lovely, warm Thanksgiving.

(Photos: Exodus Books and Delight for the Eyes)