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Happy Thanksgiving month! November has completely snuck up on me – and I don’t think I am really ready for the holidays to set in. In my family, the holidays are jam packed with events, dinners, travel, family game nights, birthdays, anniversaries – basically every family even you could plan happens between Thanksgiving and New Years. It’s the best!

My family has pretty simple Thanksgiving traditions. But even if they include the typical turkey and gravy, they are far from boring! I come from a family of 6, and around the block lives my aunt’s and uncle’s family – a family of 7. We have definitely grown now with marriages and births, so now we are up to 11 I think. We grew up together, and every holiday is an automatic party of 11! Our mothers throw a gorgeous Thanksgiving spread – and just being together under one roof is so special. This is our typical Thanksgiving feast:

thanksgiving traditions and food

But, we do have a few favorite Thanksgiving traditions that we are pretty faithful to. Here are some of my favorite:

Family Thanksgiving Traditions


Annual Kickball Tournament

With a family of 11, we always have enough players for our kickball game. This is no regular kickball game. This is the one time a year we drop the niceties and battle it out. Even though it does just get played in the front yard on that Thursday afternoon, it is a serious game, y’all. We plan it all year. Our visiting girlfriends and boyfriends fear joining for the first time. And, honestly I have no idea why it’s so competitive. But, it is all tooth and nail. Does anyone else have an annual match like this?

Oh, I’m not even mentioning the Scategories game we play later that night. Just as intense. Just as serious.

Our Church Worship Service

I don’t know if many churches hold a Thanksgiving service, but it is special to us that we go. I love the worship, the simple Thanksgiving hymns, the decadent cornucopia – but more than that I love the chance to be grateful to God for his innumerable blessings. We have so much to be thankful for – and I love having a day set aside for that. We ought to be grateful every day of the week. But, to have a day where that is the focus? Priceless.

Reading the President’s Proclamation

I don’t know why I love this so much, but I love reading the President’s proclamation on Thanksgiving. Yes, it happens every year and is always pretty much the same. But, I love knowing – regardless of what happens in this nation – we are united by this holiday of Thanksgiving.

With God’s grace, this holiday season we carry forward the legacy of our forebears. In the company of our loved ones, we give thanks for the people we care about and the joy we share, and we remember those who are less fortunate. At shelters and soup kitchens, Americans give meaning to the simple truth that binds us together: we are our brother’s and our sister’s keepers. We remember how a determined people set out for a better world — how through faith and the charity of others, they forged a new life built on freedom and opportunity.

The spirit of Thanksgiving is universal. It is found in small moments between strangers, reunions shared with friends and loved ones, and in quiet prayers for others. Within the heart of America’s promise burns the inextinguishable belief that together we can advance our common prosperity — that we can build a more hopeful, more just, and more unified Nation. This Thanksgiving, let us recall the values that unite our diverse country, and let us resolve to strengthen these lasting ties. – Barak Obama, 2014


Holding my grandparents close with the Grandparent Journal

This idea/craft isn’t exclusive to me for Thanksgiving, but it is definitely a thankful project that I love all year round. I have a Grandparent journal for my grandmother that lives far away, and we write in it and trade it multiple times a year. I ask her questions about growing up, her family, her marriage, and she writes stories that will be passed down through the generations. It is very precious to me. Read all about it here.
Grandparent Journal

Spicy Turkey

We don’t have this turkey every year, but it is my favorite turkey recipe hands down! It is so moist and flavorful – and pretty darn easy. I have known people that don’t love turkey to love this recipe. Enjoy!

The Best Spicy Turkey
Author: moderncommonplacebook.com
  • Turkey Breast (any size)
  • 1/4 c. pepper
  • 1/4 c. salt
  • 2 T. Parsley
  • 1/4 c. oil
  • 1 c. Cider Vinegar
  • 1 Oven Bag
  1. Rinse Turkey and pat dry. Prepare oven bag according to directions.
  2. Place turkey in bag in shallow pan.
  3. Mix dry ingredients and set aside.
  4. Pour vinegar over turkey in bag.
  5. Pour over the oil.
  6. Spoon spices over the top.
  7. Tie bag and cut a few holes in the top of the bag.
  8. Bake at 325 for 4-5 hours. (Turkeys over 6 pounds can go 5 hours).
  9. Slice the coating off the top of the turkey and take the meat off the bone.
  10. Pour the liquid over the meat. Enjoy!


oven bags thanksgiving spicy turkey

Do you have any favorite Thanksgiving traditions? Have a happy Thanksgiving and much love to your families!

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I am thankful for you!