The Importance of Thanksgiving Traditions

November 01, 2021 4 min read

Do you have a favorite recipe that no Thanksgiving would be complete without? The casserole table is one Thanksgiving tradition that I truly believe was MADE for me - green bean casserole, sweet potato casserole, broccoli casserole - clearly I have a soft spot for veggies. (I'm like a kid in a candy shoppe.)

Thanksgiving is always special in our family, because it's one time of the year when I see Birchmark blending from work, into our home. A huge part of what makes Birchmark Designs so special in my eyes, is that we are all about capturing memories on camera and living the moments in our hearts.

Thanksgiving brings that front and center. We love talking about keepsakes, memories, traditions, and the things that glue our families together. 


Some Thanksgiving traditions have been around since my childhood. Like my grandparents hosting a potluck, and my 90 year old grandpa still cooking the bird. He switches his method up sometimes, but it's always delicious.

Some traditions are evolving, as time passes and we add new children to our growing family. Take for instance our family photo. Each year the 'kids' pile into a photo and watch as the camera gets farther and farther away. Over the years the list of cousins and grandkids has grown longer and longer, as our kids, and our kids' kids get added to the mix.

And other traditions are new, like our family turkey. We start with a featherless bird (fear not, it's a decoration), and in the 30 days leading up to Thanksgiving, we use blank feathers to write down something we're thankful for. By the time Thanksgiving rolls around, our bird and our hearts are full of gratefulness.

The Importance of Thanksgiving Traditions 

So you might be wondering. Do recipes, games, traditions really matter? Coming from someone who makes keepsakes, you already know my answer.

Traditions are one way we add meaning to celebrations and bond with those we love. They're the things that stick in our memories and the things we want to pass down to the next generation. They're the things that happen, that remind you that you're in the right place; the way you know you're exactly where you're meant to be.

So whether that tradition is watching a game or a parade together, gobbling up turkey, some bickering or banter, traditions are the moments we can count on in our ever-changing lives.

Traditions to Try

Knowing how special of a place that our own Thanksgiving traditions hold in my heart, I took to the Internet to see what traditions others had that they wanted to share. The simple fact that so many people opened up to share the things they do on this special day in November told me just how important these traditions are, especially some being carried down from generation to generation.

Here's what they shared: 

"Each year, we use a disposable table cloth and all the guests have to write one or more things they are grateful for!" - Claudia Krusch, The Trendy Latina

"I don't know if this is unique... but we always have a can of the jelled cranberry sauce that we leave in the shape of the can on the table. And then someone also makes a gourmet home-made cranberry sauce. And we fight over which is better and how one is pretentious and gross and the other is yummy and reminds us of our humble roots." - Jennifer Weedon Palazzo, MomCave TV

"Growing up we would always end dinner with roasted chestnuts. Mom would just throw them on the table with a few nutcrackers. A wonderful memory. She always started off dinner with wedding soup. That just might be an Italian thing!" - Lorraine Somma

"We always went to my Uncle Bob and Aunt Carol's house - the best part was the turkey sandwiches Uncle Bob would make two hours after dinner." - Nancy Johnson Horn, The Mama Maven

"We try to take a cousin photo that’s more on the laughing funny side instead of formal and then revisit it to see how kids have grown. Since we didn’t get together last year with pandemic, we are looking forward to doing it again this year." - Kerri Gristina, Raising Three Savvy Ladies

"Since my in-laws side of the family is so big, we always eat dinner at a huge long table in the living room and then after we clean up, we play board games for the rest of the night." - Jessica Nessle

"The day before Thanksgiving, we have a bake-off. Each of my kids chooses a recipe, and we spend the day baking together. It's a delightful pre-feast tradition." - Maria

"My family makes a "Thankful Tree" with colorful fall leaves we've collected from outside. We write what we're grateful for on the leaves, hang them up, and watch our tree of gratitude grow." - Tina

"Before the big meal, we go for a fun run or walk together. It's our way of bonding and working up an appetite for that delicious turkey." - Jenny

"Each year, my kids create hand-painted placemats for Thanksgiving dinner. We save them so we can smile at how their talents have grown from year to year." - Becky

"On Thanksgiving morning, we volunteer at a local shelter serving breakfast. This tradition teaches our kids about gratitude and the importance of giving back." - Sarah

"My family creates paper garland chains from "Thankful" cards. Everyone writes notes about what we're grateful for, and we link them together to hang around the house for all to enjoy." - Melanie


We hope you enjoyed hearing these ideas and maybe they even inspired you to start some new Thanksgiving traditions! 

And although Thanksgiving traditions hold a special place in my heart, we all know Christmas is what really gets the kids excited. We have the absolute cutest Christmas Collection, and Holiday Countdown Blocks to count down the days.

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