Totally random (and totally real) Thanksgiving traditions worth trying

Thanksgiving is about so much more than three different kinds of dessert pies (it’s obvi also about three different kinds of dessert pies). Whether you are fully conscious of it or not, Thanksgiving is heavy about tradition. Your tradition could be something as simple as waking up at 8 a.m. to start mashing potatoes, or the annual touch-football game that happens out back. But traditions those be. My family tradition includes ignoring the post-dinner clean up for hours and heading to the movies instead. While that’s how my family gives thanks, I know there are lots of other traditions out there. To get a well-rounded view of traditions worth copying, I polled my friends for their awesome and quirky annual Thanksgiving must-dos. Add some of these to your Thanksgiving Day celebration. As for my family, we’ll be at the movies.

Throw a TV marathon of epic proportions

Thanksgiving might be a big event for some, but for others it’s simply a low-key day that everyone spends together. So low-key, even, that the holiday can be all about dressing down and cozying up in your fleeciest sweat pants on the couch. Perfectly fine! Networks love to run television marathons all day long, from classic shows to every episode of Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. So turn on a Modern Family marathon, or queue up something awesome on Netflix, and hunker down. One friend told me her family binges Mystery Science Theater 3000 every year. That’s a lot of Mystery Science Theater 3000.

Go on a full-day movie binge

Along with TV, Thanksgiving also promises a slew of movie marathons, too. The first time I ever saw Raiders of the Lost Ark was on Thanksgiving many moons ago, and ever since then I’ve associated the movie with turkey. Other great trilogies to sit down with are Back to the Future, Jurassic Park and Toy Story. They’re movies for all ages, just be prepared to dedicate upwards of eight ours to the undertaking.

Start a food fight.

No, not the kind of food fight where you’re in a cafeteria and somebody yells, “FOOD FIGHT.” Think of it more as a friendly food competition. You and your sister might make the pumpkin pie together every year, but you know what’s better than one pie? Two. Both you and your sis can whip up variations of the recipe, and have the family decide who’s is best in a blind taste test. Loser has to do dishes. One friend told me she and her dad buy a five pound bag of potatoes every year, and try to see who can peel their potatoes faster — all while watching the Thanksgiving day parade.

Learn a new dish

My contribution to Thanksgiving dinner begins and ends with opening the bag of baby carrots and putting them into a serving bowl. So maybe it’s time for me to start a tradition where every year mom teaches me how to make something new. Lots of friends have learned one dish over the years, from stuffing, to casseroles, to home-made cranberry sauce. The big finale is learning how to make the turkey, obvi. It’s not only awesome to be taught something by a family member, but it’ll only prepare you for when you host Thanksgiving one day.

Dress up your pets, whether they like it or not

Where there’s food, Fido will come. Considering Fido and all his furry four legged friends will sit real close to the table during dinner, make them part of the meal, too. Dress them up in ridiculous Thanksgiving costumes, from turkeys, to pilgrims, to ears of corn. They might loathe you for it, but they’ll get the leftovers.

Give a family member’s favorite hobby a try

One friend explained to me that every year he, his brothers, his uncles, and his cousins all go out before dinner and set off model rockets. They’ve built the rockets themselves, of course, and each year they get more and more complicated — and obviously fly higher. If rockets aren’t your thing, maybe get someone in your family to show you how to knit or cross-stitch, or perhaps this is the year to get heavy into that crossword flow. Make sure the little ones in the family are involved, too. There’s nothing like being shown something cool by an older cousin.

Start a Thanks Tree

Thanksgiving might be the only time the family is all together all year, so take a little time to reflect on how special that is. Be thankful! Take that a step further, and with a little bit of craft help, actually make a Thanks Tree, one that you can add to every year. It doesn’t need to be big and fancy, but it will definitely make an awesome centerpiece for the table. One friend told me she’s been doing this since she and her siblings were little, and the tree has grown and grown over the years. For her, it’s awesome to look back and see that she’s still thankful for the same things year after year. If you’re hesitant to get crafty, simply go around the table and say one thing that you’re thankful for before anyone digs into the meal.

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