Building Thanksgiving Traditions from Scratch

On the fourth Thursday of November, I’m typically thankful for cheap fares to Europe and jet off to Paris to enjoy a fall vacation with my family. This year, however, I went home a few weeks after the political conventions and looked to spend a rare Thanksgiving break in Washington, D.C. More than that, I actually played hostess to a lovely dinner with a few of our friends.

Thanksgiving is not a holiday I grew up with. When it comes to hosting Turkey day, I kind of went into it blindly. I don’t have my own memories or traditions. My husband has his own, sure, but so far the only ones he’s shared with me and seem to want to keep involve a very unhealthy stuffing recipe and football. American football. Replace stuffing with eggnog and those are pretty much his Christmas traditions too. Well, plus mass. He is Catholic ;-)

Eventually, when we have children, I’m sure we will define what Thanksgiving means to our family and develop our own memories. Until then, I am grateful for the friends who are willing to share theirs with me, and give me a glimpse of what Thanksgiving means to them. I’m even more grateful when they show up my door with an already cooked turkey and all the trimmings!

A great looking Thanksgiving plate if you ask me: Ham, turkey, cranberry sauce, green beans, stovetop stuffing, mashed sweet potatoes, brussels sprouts and mac&cheese.

Oh, and did I mention the husband and I got rid of cable last year? So for once I got to enjoy an American holiday of light table banter and friendly conversations, with no football whatsoever, not even in the background. *Le bliss.* I also discovered a little tradition I think I’d like to keep: the turkey trots! Thanks Tammy for tipping me off to these. Turkey trot races don’t actually involve turkeys (though apparently the town of Cuero, Texas, did have a live-turkey trot involving actual birds until the 70s). They’re fun footraces held on Thanksgiving morning in cities throughout the US, allowing participants to burn off a few calories before their lavish meals, and at times raising money for charity. The course is typically short (between 5K and 8K) and participants often wear Thanksgiving-themed costume on the run. At the D.C. Trot for Hunger benefitting So Others Might Eat people wore pilgrim outfits, turkey hats or indian feathers. I felt very underdressed. Lesson learned for next year ;-)

It was a gorgeous fall day in the nation’s capital for a turkey trot 5K

Running a turkey trot is definitely one of the Thanksgiving traditions I’d like to keep, and the husband has already mentioned that he would like to join in next year. Unless we find another enticing fall fare to Europe… it’s $600 to fly to Istanbul on Air France right now… who says traveling can’t be how we build our own Thanksgiving memories?

How did you spend Thanksgiving this year? Any fun traditions you’d like to share?

One thought on “Building Thanksgiving Traditions from Scratch

  1. Just found your blog this morning, and it's definitely fun reading. I can't say I blame your husband for the unhealthy food and football — it's more of a comfort thing than an actual “we like this” thing. Feels like “home” when football is on after Thanksgiving dinner :)

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