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Topic: Thanksiving Traditions  (Read 9496 times)
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« Reply #10 on: October 22, 2008 12:46:38 PM »

The very best Thanksgiving I ever had as a married couple was when MIL and SIL decided not to join us.   They just wanted to have their own dinner, without me, DH, or DH's kids, or my parents. I was crushed, because I had worked so hard to get nice serving pieces, make decorations, etc.  They told us two days before they weren't coming.  I had already ordered the turkey and shopped for all the food.

What made it great was we decided to finally invite the people who really make us happy--various friends who didn't have family to go to, either.  We had a wonderful meal and great conversation.  So much fun. 

The best part was two of the folks we invited fell in love at our Thanksgiving meal, and ended up marrying two years later! They had the ceremony in my parent's garden, and I officiated as a non-denominational minister. 

(Just felt I had to put in a positive post, since mine have been so grumpy on this thread! I apologize; I really just have a hard time with my in-laws, and it makes holidays super hard.)

And here's a tasty recipe:
Pumpkin Fudge
3 c. sugar
3/4 c. butter
1 (5 1/3 oz) can evaporated milk (2/3 c.
1/2 c. Libby's solid pack pumpkin
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice (or more, to taste)
1 (12 oz) package butterscotch morsels
1  (7 oz ) jar marshmallow creme or fluff
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 TBS corn syrup

In a heavy saucepan, combine sugar, butter, milk, pumpkin, corn syrup and spice.  Bring to a boil, stirring constantly until mixture reaches 234 degrees (10-12 minutes).  Remove from heat and stir in butterscotch morsels.  Add marshmallow creme and vanilla.  Mix until well blended.  Quickly pour into greased 13X9 inch pan, spreading until just even.  Cool at room temp and cut into squres. Store tightly wrapped in fridge.  Makes 3 pounds.
« Last Edit: October 22, 2008 01:36:52 PM by kleinsch » THIS ROCKS   Logged

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« Reply #11 on: October 22, 2008 12:56:51 PM »

in my family we always go to my grandma's house and she cooks the food and my sister and I help her and grandpa always carves the turkey. but I no longer live in the same city as my grandparents, I now live in a different state with my boyfriend and so I have no idea how this thanksgiving will be.

« Reply #12 on: October 22, 2008 04:58:10 PM »

World's best cranberry sauce:

1 bag of cranberries
1 small bottle of pure maple syrup
juice and grated peel of 1 orange
a tsp or so of cardamom
a dash of cinnamon
fresh grated ginger

remove stones and soft berries
put all ingredients in a saucepan and cook until all berries have popped (fun!) and sauce is thickened.

eat it up!  Great on turkey, turkey sanwiches, cheese sandwiches, etc.

How many ounces are in a "small bottle" of maple syrup? We don't have a lot of choices down here deep in the heart of Texas, and I'd like to try this recipe this year, especially since it's the best....
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« Reply #13 on: October 22, 2008 05:09:52 PM »

I'm not actually sure. I kinda eyeball it - it depends how sweet you like it, really. I don't have any at home right now, but I get the smallest, cheapest glass bottle. I think the original recipe was a cup or so, but I usually end up adding more (to taste).

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« Reply #14 on: October 22, 2008 05:21:50 PM »

Really neat postings.  I personally have loved this holiday all my life.  Mom would get up at 3 or 4 AM T'day and begin the cooking.  I'm a granny now so that can tell you we didn't have any instant anything to work with.  We had little money and no room for error so we made sure all was as perfect as possible.  All the girls chipped in from small to tall.  

As a granny now I try to do things low key and low stress.  I post a wants list on the fridge and advertise WHAT DO YOU WANT ON THE TABLE? questions to all who plan to come.  I open it up for anyone to come if they can, but tell them I understand if they can't I am the last to criticize since for over 20 years as I trekked through life in military and then as military spouse, I never was able to attend fam get-togethers.  I like to get loads of photos, let the kids eat at the big table, let babies smoosh mashed taters and try new foods, load up on every fat and sugar known to man and make sure to place old photos around.  Particularly important is my effort to keep a photo of my Native American family ancestors since reportedly this Indian/Pilgrim detante idea is the theme.  I hope that someone is willing to say a prayer and that all are thankful for what they have been blessed with and for hopes of the future.  But again, that is a personal or individual thing.  

I set the table in as grand a fashion as my budget allows.  I try to use the best we own, and I also try to place a Christmas or Chanukah or other holiday ornament on each plate or family group of plates for take home.  Sometimes I make the ornament and sometimes I buy them.  I make sure that there's plenty of food and that anyone who wants to bring food can, but no one should feel obligated.  I do my personal memories of the past in my own quiet time during the day and reminisce about days when as a child for a short period we were homeless, and had no promise of food or shelter.  I make my peace with that and then through the day I try to take a mental snapshot of my hands.  The first time I did that I was ten, looking down at my baby brother, comparing his hands to mine, and promised myself I would watch with pride as my hands aged.  I knew in my heart that my hands would age much like my mom's or grandmother's - whose age caused the skin to thin and darken and wrinkle.  I am watching that happen now to me.  Thanksgiving is the one time of year that I make the concerted effort to reflect on what my hands have done, and all the years that I have celebrated that holiday with or without others, and with or without food, and with or without any hope of anything but what is here and now.  

My Thanksgiving reflection this year will include all of you in Craftster world.  You are a wonderful group that sees to it your cyber family is appreciated no matter the size, color, age, financial status, home, or creed.  Thank you all for helping to create that family.
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« Reply #15 on: October 22, 2008 05:55:15 PM »

Reading all these replies makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. I am one of those "Normal Rockwell/Currier and Ives" people, and yes I've had my share of holiday disappointments and heartache, but it doesn't seem to matter.

Another thing I forgot to add to my original post was the traditional holiday movies - Charlie Brown and Garfield Thanksgiving movies are a must, and A Christmas Story (as many times as I can catch it). And breaking out the Christmas music for the first time...*sigh*

You know, it's supposed to snow (I'm in Indiana) in the next week or so...hehe Smiley

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« Reply #16 on: October 22, 2008 06:43:26 PM »

I, too , love Thanksgiving, but I can't ever remember a Thanksgiving that WASN'T just perfectly wonderful, except those spent alone away from family. Many years ago, my mother decided to reach out to a number of international students who briefly sojourned in Houston where she lives, and so, each year she'd "adopt" a few and add them to family activities, and, since so few actually had been in American homes to see the way we lived, she would especially include them in our Thanksgiving celebration, the quintessential American holiday. We'd drive the 2 1/2 hours to be w/ her and all the students she invited, and we, my siblings and all our kids would pitch in to get the meal together,

But the meal was ALWAYS prefaced with the Thanksgiving story, how the Pilgrims left their homes for religious freedom, and that despite dangers, toils, and snares, they persevered, and with the help of Indians, they celebrated the first Thanksgiving, just in time for another boatload of green behind the ears settlers, and very VERY poor food prospects for the coming winter, but they survived THAT, too, even though the daily ration of food dwindled to only five kernals of corn for a desperate period of time... and so, for their SECOND Thanksgiving feast, they served a first course of only five kernals of corn, so that all could remember just how much they had to be grateful for, and to Whom their thanks were offered...

And so in our modern times, the teller tells the tale, and we serve a first course of five kernals of corn and invite everyone there to share one, just one, thing that they are thankful for. Thankfulness is not uniquely American, but that holiday is a unique springboard to count your blessings, and so we start the meal ready to enjoy each other regardless of the fare. After the meal, we might go outside and play something, all the generations mixed, little kids, and parents, and college students... I can remember a glorious "nose bonk" game that went on hilariously for over an hour in my mom's backyard. Nose bonk is bombardment, played while lying down flat on your back, throwing koosh balls or balls of socks over your head at sometimes unseen opponents, and in this particular case, with little kids running through the center of the action trying to retrieve balls or catch them as they fly.

Since my mother has limited mobility now, my (grown) children have international student friends of their own, and have asked us if we would continue the family tradition of gathering up stray friends and bringing them all together to our home some hours from them, so each brought friends from wherever they were....one didn't have any international students to bring with them, but asked if they could bring some family-less engineers from work, so we again had a big group (35 or so) and a lot of nations represented, but when it was time for our tradition of gathering round for the Thanksgiving story, we all got quiet, listened, and responded to the question, "What are YOU thankful for this year?"...

and, as always, we served a first course of five kernals of corn.

And I'm hoping we get to do it again THIS year, too!
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« Reply #17 on: October 23, 2008 01:53:16 PM »

What an awesome tradition to pass through your family, McJulie-O! Some times we get too busy in our modern lives that we forget or don't think to take the time and really consider what we're thankful for...and how wonderful that your kids still take interest in this and want to continue it.

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« Reply #18 on: November 01, 2008 07:22:27 AM »

When I was little, all of our family (aunts, uncles, grandparents, etc.) lived very close and we would host Thanksgiving dinner.  It was great to have all the cousins and everyone together.  My extended family is very large - both mom and dad have 5 siblings each, all married and with children.  Now, though, everyone is much further away.  Family on both coasts makes it difficult to get together.  My parents still host, but the group is much smaller.  This year will be fun, being my daughter's first holiday season!  She was born in January, so last year I was just hugely pregnant!!

We have a couple of silly traditions:  Everyone LOVES my mother's dressing, but everyone loves a different kind.  So whether we have 5 people or 25 for dinner, she must make 3 types of dressing - cornbread, regular bread, and oyster.  And we always make cranberry sauce, even though everyone hates it and it never gets touched!

After dinner we work on a puzzle together.  And the next day, and the next . . . When they are finished we tape/glue them together and they hang in the family room in the basement.  If we hadn't moved a few years ago and damaged them, we would have had 20+ puzzles, one from each year, to hang on the wall!
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« Reply #19 on: November 02, 2008 11:11:51 AM »

We have three main family Thanksgiving traditions, one new and one old.

The newer tradition is called Drunken Pie Night, or DPN. For the past 6 years we have been  getting the group together (mainly my cousins and aunt and uncle and brother, usually about 15 of us) together the night before Thanksgiving and we make all of the pies for Thanksgiving Day while we enjoy some cocktails and play games while the pies are in progress. We all have our special pies planned out weeks before and it really is just a ton of fun and also very special and sacred to us all.

The more "traditional" traditions are standing in a large circle, singing our Thanksgiving hymn, "We Gather Together" immediately before dinner is served. This is a tradition started by my 82-year-old grandmother years ago. She keeps all of the photocopies hymn sheets in a special tattered manila envelope and it always appears  as soon as the rolls are coming out of the oven and the last bit of turkey is sliced. Everyone and everything stops, someone runs to the piano and plays a chord, and we sing all of the verses, a capella, in four-part harmony, all thirty or so of us. We are a musical family and it always sounds so beautiful and as the years go on I am more and more moved by it.

After dinner, Grandma does as she has done for over 25 years and hands out Christmas ornaments to the kids and Christmas decorations like dishtowels and oven mitts to children and older grandchildren. Then we gather around and sing Christmas carols until everyone passes out from exhaustion.

I love Thanksgiving!
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