holidays — November 21, 2011

Thanksgiving Traditions

by Kelly Crawford

Happy ThanksgivingThanksgiving Day has officially been an annual tradition in the United States since 1863. President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national day of thanksgiving to be celebrated on Thursday, November 26 of that year. In 1941, Thanksgiving Day was officiallly set as the fourth Thursday in November.

Traditions abound on this grateful day. Many families will once again come together around a bountiful table filled with scrumptious food to celebrate. The feast will consist of a plump turkey, dressing, gravy, fresh cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes swimming in butter, green bean casseroles, and pumpkin pies with freshly whipped cream. Oh, the smells are delightful, but the togetherness is even more rewarding. The grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins you haven't seen in quite a while are just as you remembered them. The stories that are told year after year feel just like you're hearing them for the first time. The frantic pace of our lives comes to a halt on this day as gratitude for family and friends fills our hearts. Oh, if this could only last the entire year.

Maybe you and your family have started new traditions. Some of you will make your way to the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade, or deliver meals or serve in community kitchens to assure those less fortunate are served a good, hot meal. Or maybe you throw all customary traditions to the wind with your Thanksgiving celebration.

A recent article in Real Simple featured seven authors sharing their Thanksgiving traditions. From tofu pies to special prayers to bizarre centerpieces, traditions truly are what you make of them. Author Allegra Goodman said that while she was growing up in Honolulu, Thanksgiving was shared out on the lanai surrounded by the beautiful tropical landscape with a traditional Thanksgiving meal. However, her memories of Thanksgiving are more about the mainland American music playing in the background while her family prepared their dinner. A lot of laughter and dancing went along with the music and she enjoyed this time so much so she purchased one of the favored records to play for her family on Thanksgiving year after year. The smallest details can become the most treasured traditions.

Then again, Thanksgiving has become something more than a day of thanksgiving. Thanksgiving has become the official start of the bigger holiday season that includes Christmas and New Year's. More and more, we are seeing stores open on Thanksgiving to grab the attention of those shoppers looking for the best holiday sales. No longer do those shoppers have to wait until the day after Thanksgiving, commonly known as Black Friday. Grab a long nap, then head out with some fearless friends and family members and let the shopping madness begin. For many, this has become a new tradition celebrated after the more customary Thanksgiving dinner. Whatever your Thanksgiving tradition has become, rejoice in those special moments.

From our family at to yours: HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

Sign up for more of this.

Subscribe to our blog for year–round finance strategies and tax tips. We’re here to remove the dread from filing taxes.

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Please complete the reCaptcha.

It’s not too good to be true. See what others are saying.