What are your Thanksgiving Traditions?
Cranberry Gel dish
Entertaining,  Recipes,  Relationships

What are your Thanksgiving Traditions?

What are your Thanksgiving traditions? Turkey or Ham? Big family dinner or small group of friends? Travel or Stay Home? I have collected a group of traditions from my sisters and girlfriend tribe — we’ll call it a Friendsgiving twist on some traditional ways to celebrate Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving table traditions
A Toast to Thanksgiving Traditions

Our Family Traditions

For years, while my daughters were little ones, my mother-in-law and her sisters would show up on Thanksgiving day and take over my kitchen. My contribution was a clean kitchen, a couple of decorated tables (adult and kid versions), and wine. She and her sisters would laugh, bump into each other cooking their various specialties and drink their wine. I was deemed a wonderful hostess — but not allowed to participate in the cooking — as I was no homemade chef. I miss those days, unfortunately, due to illness and those sisters who have passed no longer fill my kitchen on Thanksgiving.

No matter where we are for Thanksgiving — our dinner is always scheduled around the annual Detroit Lions football game. The men hang in the living room while the women have fun in the kitchen. Win or Lose — it’s a tradition for sure.

Detroit Lions football game for a Thanksgiving Tradition
Even the Pups are Watching the Game

Time for New Traditions

My girls are now adults and we are in a new state, so we need to make new traditions. The past few years we have been traveling — Nashville for our 25th anniversary party and a BFF’s wedding weekend a few years ago.

25th anniversary Party in Nashville
Thanksgiving in Nashville for our 25th Wedding Anniversary

This year we are heading up to Michigan for dinner with my parents, siblings and nephews. We are also celebrating Christmas as well while everyone is in one house like we did last year. Maybe this will be our new family Thanksgiving tradition.

Jellied Cranberry sauce
Cranberry “Gel” ?

This jellied cranberry sauce “gel” is ALWAYS on my mother’s Thanksgiving table. I looked up “gel” for further research.

A gel is a solid jelly-like soft material that can have properties ranging from soft and weak to hard and tough. Gels are defined as a substantially dilute cross-linked system, which exhibits no flow when in the steady-state.


It is quite humorous as no one touches it except for her. Every year it is a discussion as to why she insists on serving it when it basically just goes straight to the garbage can. I am sure I will be seeing this again this year.

Trot Around

Tamarac Turkey Trot
Tamarac Turkey Trot in Fremont, Michigan — Too Cold for Me!

My fabulous sister Heather and her boys walking in the annual Turkey Trot. I always have good intentions to plan on getting out there on Thanksgiving morning….but I have yet to make it. I have other fitness minded girlfriends who make this an annual run as well. Good Girls!

Friendly Recipes

My fun friend Tiffanie makes this yummy Swiss Vegatable Medley each year. She is a fabulous casserole cooking goddess! Often bringing in breakfast surprises for the office. What a wonderful way to get those veggies on the Thanksgiving table and shake up that standby Green Bean Casserole.

Swiss Vegetable Medley
Swiss Vegetable Medley
Swiss Vegetable Medley recipe

Another good friend from college, Deb shares her family tradition and easy side dish recipe. We midlife ladies seem to be good at the side dishes — not so much the actual Turkey prep — which I have heard is pretty easy, too?

Thankful Hands

Tradition: We go around the table and each person says what they are thankful for this year.  Recipe:  Homemade Coleslaw in food processor: ½ head of cabbage, 1 green pepper, ½ sweet onion, 1 cup Marzetti salad dressing.  Let it marinate for at least 2 hours before eating.

Deb Campbell

I found this fabulous recipe in my Instagram feed this week. Sweet Potatoes with Candied Pecans — definitely on my list for unique side dishes for Thanksgiving. Will need to try out this year! Go (here) for video and recipe.

Who has the Wine?

My darling Nicole swings Thanksgiving more like I do! I am always the wine girl, too. And don’t forget the Hostess Gift for all her hard work — ideas (here).

Wine for Thanksgiving Traditions

My tradition is simple, but most likely not what you are looking for! I basically ask my sister if $xx towards the food and bringing all the booze covers it. She replies “yes”. I show up at Thanksgiving with money and booze. And that is why I love Thanksgiving and my sister!

Nicole Brown

Turkey Fail

How about a traditional dinner “fail”? Good girlfriend Dacia sent me this picture from last year’s Thanksgiving meal. Not very appetizing, eh? But most likely a humorous story to recount each year.

Turkey Dinner
Turkey Fail

They also have an annual Beer Pong party — maybe that contributed to the Turkey Fail? It gets the whole family involved and up and moving off the couch.

Dressing to Die For

I lifted this Herbed Cornbread Dressing recipe from my BFF Shawnee when I made a recipe book for my girls one Christmas. The dried fruit makes it a unique addition to the regular ole’ dressing my mom makes in the turkey.

Herbed Cornbread Dressing
Herbed Cornbread Dressing Recipe

Topping Tables

Newly retired goddess Barbie makes a fun table display and spends time with friends.

Thanksgiving Table top
Thanksgiving Traditional Tabletop

Our tradition for several years has been spending Thanksgiving with friends that are like family🌾🍁🍂🍷🦃.   As families go, they assign me the task of bringing a salad,  as they know my cooking ability 😀.   I am thankful for all the others that are great cooks🍂🍁. 

Barbie Pflaum

My darling sister-in-law Lesley hosts a “Friendsgiving Dinner” when they aren’t in Michigan with us. They live in Kansas City with lots of other “northern transplants” to the city. Your Friends are Family, too!

Friendsgiving Table Tradition
Lesley’s Fabulous Friendsgiving Table

Just Desserts

My Grandma Vera was a fabulous cook. We would spend every Sunday at her home playing cards, riding mini-bikes and eating wonderful foods. Before she passed, she wrote out her pie crust recipe for me (one hard/one easy). This maybe difficult to read — but print it out if you can.

Grandma Vera’s Pie Crust Recipe

I have such fond memories every time I read thru her beautiful cursive writing of this super easy recipe. Here is my most recent apple pie attempt which turned out just perfectly super flaky!

Easy Pie Crust

Leaving with Leftovers

Once the dinner is finished and dessert is consumed — now there are the leftovers! I always bring along several “take away” containers for everyone to leave with all the yummy morsels leftover. Pop over to Amazon and pick up some “meal prep containers” for about $14.

We prefer the single compartments so you can get more of what you love in one container. Especially with the excessive amounts of food left over — you don’t want any to go to waste…..except for that cranberry gel stuff.

Please Note:  We will sometimes earn an affiliate commission on the sales of products we link to at no additional cost to you.  I will only feature items I genuinely love and want to share with my reading Goddesses!

Getting Ready for Christmas

We are usually putting up our tree over Thanksgiving weekend. More time to enjoy the ornaments and always a fun night decorating. How about setting up gift-giving for Christmas at Thanksgiving? My good girlfriend Jill sets it up every year after dinner.

Secret Santa Thanksgiving Tradition
Annual name drawing for Secret Santa

One of our many Thanksgiving traditions is to pull names for Secret Santa and do a gift exchange for Christmas Eve. It is so much fun to have the kids join in and pick out presents for the adults (if they pick one of the adult’s name). Even as our children are now adults, it’s so much fun to see what they buy and think their Secret Santa will love. ❤

Jill Dobb

Black Friday Shenanigans

Black Friday Thanksgiving Traditions
Shopping Crazy

My sister and mother are good Black Friday shoppers — scoping out all the best deals, waking up early (LIKE REALLY EARLY) to get in line, strategically mapping out the stores, etc. Eh. It’s too early for my lazy butt. I am more of a Cyber Monday kind of chick and already have my list put together (here).

Whatever your annual traditions involve, I am sure you all remember the reason for Thanksgiving. Love on your family and count all the blessings for which you are Thankful for every day. Comment below on any of your fond Thanksgiving Traditions!


In the spirit of Thanksgiving Recipe time, I am giving away this fabulous Moleskine Recipe Journal to one of my Mid-Life Goddess subscribers!

Drawing will be held November 30, 2019 from Giveaway subscriber list (enter here) and will be drawn via Random Name Picker on miniwebtool.com to keep it fair and fun!

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