Traditions Of Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving turkey meal
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CHARLOTTE – Each year, friends and families come together to start the holiday season on the last Thursday of the month of November with Thanksgiving.  The most important part of this time is to share experiences and express “thanks” to each person in our lives. Celebrating Thanksgiving can look different for each of us, but what is most common is for people to join together and share a large cooked meal. As the rush of the holiday season is coming, setting the day aside to embrace family and friends seems to be the most special part of each family’s traditions. 

Traditions on this day can range from the serving of traditional foods to acts of kindness, but whether it is a tradition that has stood the test of time or started with your generation, the intention of ramping up the day is one of the best parts. Making sure to start off the holiday season with a positive tone is a wonderful way to embrace the time for all.

Morgan Westberg Munn's children happily standing by the holiday meal
Morgan Westberg Munn’s children happily standing by the holiday meal


Morgan Westberg Munn shared her family tradition that has been shared for generations: “My family and I always listen to Alice’s Restaurant by Arlo Guthrie on Thanksgiving morning. No matter where we are, it has to be played. My mom and dad played it as we grew up, and now I and my sister continue the tradition with our families. Listening to it reminds me of being a kid and smelling all those amazing smells on Thanksgiving morning. Odd tradition, but it’s been with us for over 40 years.” The tradition for her has become what nostalgia is: happiness that is associated with personal sentiment.

Mary Beth Foster and family
Mary Beth Foster and family

Starting a new family tradition is always fun, too!  “The day after Thanksgiving, my family and I go wine tasting!” says Mary Beth Foster.  “It’s a tradition that started when I was living in Northern Virginia.  My parents came to visit me for Thanksgiving, and in lieu of shopping, we decided to spend Black Friday exploring some of the many wineries in the area.  Over a decade and a half later, we’re still doing it!  My then-boyfriend now-husband-of-ten-years joined us in 2008; it was actually one of the first times he’d met my parents.  Over the years, the tradition expanded from a day trip to an overnight or two at a Bed & Breakfast.  We’ve been back to Northern Virginia, all over North Carolina, and even down to Georgia.  My 5 and 8-year-old kids even enjoy it – they love running around outside and eating snacks all day.”  

Holiday pie by Mentzer family
Holiday pie by Mentzer family

My family has had many generations of a family tradition that stands strong and through the years has become one of over favorite times of the year. Each year, my family gathers together to prepare the family feast; from far and near, we all make it an important tradition to keep alive that Thanksgiving marks the start of the holiday season. Cooking together has become a family event that includes everyone.  Each of us chooses a selection of dishes that we are going to prepare, and we all come together early that Thursday morning and start cooking.  The laughs from the children as they spill ingredients on the floor is truly what the holiday is about. The time we spend together preparing the food, laughing, and making messes is a tradition that we strive to keep year after year. The time that we set aside for each other makes the holiday one of the experiences and the result of the tradition is a wonderful meal to share.

Thanksgiving meal table setting
Thanksgiving meal table setting

Holiday traditions from listening to a certain song to sharing new experiences with the ones closest to you are a great start to a season of celebrating each other. No matter if the tradition is passed down from generations before or one that you are starting this year, embrace the day and enjoy spending time with those you cherish. From our family at the Mill Hill Times to yours, happiest of all Thanksgivings.

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