Thanksgiving Traditions at our Home


We love traditions in our family.  So much so, that if I ever attempt something new on Thanksgiving, I hear about it in a big way.  Case in point, I’ve been doing Thanksgiving for the past oh, probably fifteen years – it’s MY holiday and I love having it.  My sister takes Christmas Eve, but one year we (she and I) decided to change things up a little.  I switched my Thanksgiving with her. She did Thanksgiving and I did Christmas.  Well, you’d have thought I’d betrayed my country or something.  My kids, who are well past their teens, had a “fit”.  “Mom, promise us you’ll never switch holidays again. You have to do Thanksgiving – it’s not the same!” 

Yes, that was the point!  Well, I haven’t been able to switch ANYTHING since.  Not even a recipe.  The entire family expects, green bean casserole, sweet potatoes with marshmallows, copper carrots, two turkeys so there’s enough white meat to go around and a table full of desserts.  One year, I dared to try a new cranberry recipe AND didn’t make the green bean casserole. Oh, my goodness – the roof almost caved in on my head.  Not gonna do that again.

Here’s a picture of our newest tradition – the carved turkey pumpkin that my hubby likes to do as a centerpiece.  It’s a great attention getter!

Though, we’ve lost dear ones over the years, our family continues to grow with extended family members.  The younger ones, bring boyfriends, girlfriends and now I have a new son-in-law.   It seems the Kid’s Table is now bigger than the Adult’s Table, so last year, I thought it’d be nice to offer them our formal dining table to have their meal.  I was hit with a resounding “NO!” from every one of them.  All in unison.  Okay, I get it.  Nothing changes.  Ever. 



That’s what traditions are all about, isn’t it?  





Another family tradition is to play outdoor games. As you can see in the photo, we almost always have nice warm weather on Thanksgiving. No burning fireplaces for us in California.   We go outside after dinner and play bocce ball, or Blongo ( which I don’t have a picture of).  Here, the backyard is set for ping- pong and badminton.   My husband is great about designing contests and he usually gives out prizes.  

And of course, being Italian, we always have Too Much Food as displayed here on our dessert table.  I’m always making a few things, to be sure, and then our guests usually bring their own specialty.  The result – more dessert than an Army unit could devour. 

I love the Thanksgiving holiday spirit that brings family and friends together. By now, we’ve all had our fill of turkey and are vowing to diet and exercise the rest of the weekend. Count me among you!



Here’s a bit of trivia about my favorite holiday.

Fun Facts:

The first Thanksgiving celebration was in 1621.

The turkey was first domesticated in Mexico and Central America. ‘

A female turkey is called a hen.

A male turkey is call a tom.

The great statesman Benjamin Franklin lobbied to make the turkey our national symbol.

The female turkey makes a clucking sound.

The male turkey makes a gobble sound.

A mature turkey has 3,500 feathers!

Minnesota produces the most turkeys annually.

Wild turkeys can run 25 mph! 

Wild turkeys can fly up to 55 mph!

The Wampanoag tribe first celebrated Thanksgiving with the colonists.

90% of Americans eat turkey on Thanksgiving Day and 50% of Americans eat turkey on Christmas.

The skin that hangs on the turkey’s neck is called the wattle.

Abraham Lincoln specified that Thanksgiving would fall on the last Thursday of November.

Franklin D. Roosevelt attempted to move Thanksgiving Day to the fourth Thursday in November to create a longer Christmas shopping season.

Do you have any “must do” traditions for the holidays?

From our home to yours, have a safe and happy Thanksgiving weekend with love from Charlene!





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16 thoughts on “Thanksgiving Traditions at our Home”

  1. What a fun blog, Charlene. You and your hubby are such a cute couple, and your Thanksgiving celebration looks beautiful. Since my California daughter doesn’t travel on holidays and my son usually goes to his in-laws, my Thanksgivings vary. Last year I enjoyed an elegant dinner with my single friends group. This year I went to the in-laws with my son’s family and enjoyed the chaos. Once in a while I cook a small dinner for whoever will come. Sometimes I just curl up with a good book.
    Speaking of a good book, I just purchased DO NOT DISTURB… Can’t wait to read it!

  2. I loved seeing your Thanksgiving photos, Charlene! We had a warmish day in Nebraska, but nothing like your California weather! We always play board games after dinner, unless it’s truly warm enough for outdoors. This year we rented a clubhouse with a gym, excercise room and pool room – the kids LOVED it. (A lot of them are teemagers now.)

  3. Charlene,

    Thanks for opening up your home and sharing pictures of your family with us. It’s always neat to see what other people do for the holidays.

    The only “tradition” we had was a cooked turkey. I was free to add any other dishes as long as there was turkey. Which I did. 🙂 We watched football games while we let our stomach’s settle, then dived into the desserts.

    Hope everyone had a happy day! Mine was.

  4. Hi Elizabeth – Hope you had an enjoyable day yesterday with family. Yes, our house is filled with chaos too. But I’ve learned to go with the flow, even when things go wrong. We had the funniest thing happen yesterday that I’m sure I’ll have to blog about it soon. And a not so funny thing – my neice got in an accident driving up from college. It was late at night and she was all alone when it happened. Thank God, she’s okay, banged up, but nothing serious. Lots happening at our household.
    I hope you enjoy Do Not Disturb!
    Have a great day.

  5. Cheryl – What a good idea! Did you all bring food to the clubhouse or cook it there? Do you have a big family? I love “game” days, whether it be outside or indoor games. I’m always so busy, that rarely do I get to participate in all the goings on, but for a minute. But I’m happy to host Thanksgiving regardless. It’s maybe one of two days a year we get the entire family together all at once.

  6. Hi Linda,
    So glad you had a great day yesterday! Ah, yes … football. I’m becoming a fan again. Do you enjoy it?

    Anyone hitting the “black Friday” sales today? I thought about it for a second, but I’m too tired today to fight the crowds, if there will be crowds. The stores are advertising some great deals though.

  7. I wish I’d carve a pumpkin like that. I’ve seen those patterns and the super sharp knives.

    I just never get up the gumption to do the carving…well, seriously, I’ve never gotten up the gumption to buy the patterns or the knife, but anyway, it never gets done. 🙂

    We had a wonderful Thanksgiving yesterday. The food was so delicious and my daughters contributed to the feast. It’s such a blessing to see these four young ladies turning into mature, competent adults.

    The youngest, still in college, did a relish tray, so no REAL baking flash there, especially since she conned ME into buying the ingredients for the relish tray. But c’mon…’s she supposed to do any baking in COLLEGE???????

    So NOT convenient. 🙂

    Wonderful day.

  8. Charlene,

    Nope, I didn’t brave the frenzied shoppers today. It’s not worth it to save a few bucks. I just don’t care for large crowds who push and shove and snatch things out of my hands. No thanks.

    Football…yes, I’m a big fan of the Dallas Cowboys. I’m glad they won yesterday.

  9. Hi Charlene,

    so i love the pumpkin!

    I did the black friday thing a few years ago…. i will never do it again… i dragged my sister along and thought, “oh, this will be so much fun!”…. that was the year i figured out i don’t like crowds…. and i mean in a claustrophobic kind of way… yikes! never again! what was i thinking?!

    Did anyone else hear today about the Wal-Mart employee in New York that got trampled by shoppers and died? It’s just horrible… that’s another reason why I won’t do the Black Friday thing… who wants to get hurt/killed over some good deals? The whole reason for Christmas is to spend time with family and friends and just celebrate the holidays… it’s not about presents and gifts…

  10. Hi Danielle,
    No, I didn’t hear about that incident. Oh boy, really makes you stop and think about the whole meaning of the holidays. So sad.

    I find that sometimes, the good deals are still there over the weekend and you don’t have to fight crowds. I haven’t any experience with shoving and pushing and such, but then I’m usually too tired to think about shopping on the day after Thanksgiving. 🙂

    Thanks for posting today!

  11. Hi Linda,

    I like the Cowboys too. I watched the traditional Thanksgiving Cowboys game yesterday and was glad they won! The poor Lions got killed by the Titans … but it’s a fun tradition anyway for both teams. I’m a big fan of the Manning brothers too, so I cheer on the Giants and the Colts. I’m so bitter that LA doesn’t have a team — a big city like us. My son-in-law is a fanatic Oakland Raiders fan and they’ve won all of 3 games this year … yet he’s loyal to them!

  12. hi Charlene! What a wonderful heartfelt post…and everybody, her house is just as beautiful as the pix and her hubby that handsome LOL.

    We had a great day yesterday. I love doing Thanksgiving, too. I always bring out my good china and silver and even the grandbaby gets a plate. Well, a salad plate, more his size. He uses the mini-fork I used as a baby.

    One plate chipped a couple of Thanksgivings ago (first one in 30 years!) and I was all sad until my hubby said, hey, you made a memory! And so I did. Getting it out yesterday, I remembered that wonderful day a while back.

    We always have to have corn. This year hubby brined the turkey for three days and it was the best one ever.

    I am tired today, though. As well as stuffed LOL. Better get out for a jog.

    (Yeah, like that’ll happen.)

  13. Hi Tanya,
    Glad you had a wonderful Thanksgiving! Tim is such a good cook! And I bet you made the house look so special with all your personal touches. Enjoy the rest of the weekend. It’s back to the grindstone on Monday!

  14. I love your photos, Charlene! What a spread. Your house is beautiful. I wish I lived in a place where I could keep a pingpong table outside all year round. Thanks for sharing your wonderful day with us!

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