Growing up Thanksgiving was a HUGE family affair. We alternated years between my two sets of Grandparents. The day began and ended with cousins, memories and traditional food. Each of my Grandma’s had specific dishes that I adore to this day, and we would sit around the table with fancy china and each say something we were grateful for. My Grandmas LIVED for Thanksgiving And that love has been passed down to all of us Granddaughters.
When our family relocated nearly 8 years ago we had to make the decision if we would travel home for Thanksgiving. It was simply too far to travel for only a few days. We have adapted many traditions over these 8 years to make the day just as special (did you see my beach post?) but what I have learned the most is that we have friends that have made the day just as special as football with my cousins, and rolling out roll dough with my mom.
Here are a few “Friendsgiving” traditions we have enjoyed through out the years:
A Pie Potluck
After You have your own Thanksgiving Feast at home (with your own little family unit) gather in the evening for pie, ice cream, dessert, and games. We LOVED this because it reserved the day for your own traditions but ended the day with friends, food, fun and games. I LOVE seeing how others make their pies, and then you can take home a variety of leftovers which is so fun.
A Signature Table Cloth
Many years ago at my friend Lauren’s table I fell in love with this sweetest tradition. She sets her beautiful Thanksgiving table with a special “signature table cloth”. Each year, when she hosts Thanksgiving she has each of her guests sign their names with the date. She only gets out this table cloth when she hosts the meal, but it has become a journal of sorts for all those special meals through the years. I am honored for our names to be on her special Thanksgiving Table.
A Thanksgiving Play Date
Back when my daughter was really little (before school age). I belonged to an awesome play group. This group of women were my tribe, and we thrived in potty training and teething, and all the support and advice that young mother’s need. One morning, each November we would host a Thanksgiving play date. There were no food assignments, just a general potluck with all of our favorite Thanksgiving foods. We would have so much fun!
You can always host a traditional Thanksgiving dinner and invite whomever you want! We’ve enjoyed doing our own thing for many years, but have also hosted, or been invited to friends homes. I so much enjoy learning other families special traditions, and tasting their own family recipes. The key for me is to not try to “replace” my childhood memories, or “duplicate” them but to instead embrace all these new memories we are making. Try encouraging those you invite to make something they “can’t live with out” on Thanksgiving day, you may find a new favorite yourself! Make food assignments easier with apotluck style sign up!
After the year we’ve had I am so looking forward to the Holidays. And our family is looking forward to (safely) celebrating Thanksgiving with our closest friends. I am forever grateful for the beautiful weather of South Texas in the Fall, and the opportunity to celebrate outdoors with our friends.