Thanksgiving Traditions

Spode Woodland, via Belk

Thanksgiving is a holiday centered around family, gratitude, and tradition. As we carry on the tradition of the earliest settlers of our land, we celebrate with the customary feast foods.

Now, this sounds momentous, proud, and lovely. But, the truth is, the food gets a little monotonous. If you don't like ham or turkey, then most of the time, you're just out of luck.

In a lot of families, the preparation of a huge meal falls on one or two people, who are charged with meeting the dietary and taste demands of a crowd. Earlier this week, I was talking about the meal with my aunt, the traditional hostess of our family Thanksgiving dinner. She noted that several family members want the dishes we serve to be exactly the same as in previous years. Now, occasionally we mix it up a bit -- one year a second, fried turkey (whom my brother and cousin named "Brian" after a long debate as to whether the bird should be brined, but that's another story for another day...) was on the menu. Sometimes, I'll try to branch out into sweet potato pie or another dish that seems to fit. But, by and large, the menu is fixed. My mom will make pumpkin pie, pecan pie, and broccoli casserole. My uncle and grandmother will conduct a raging two-hour debate about whether traditional dressing or oyster dressing is better. I'll make a hot brown on leftover turkey Thursday night. I guess that's how traditions work.

via Louisville Stoneware
Every family has their own set of Thanksgiving customs as well. Some folks, like Lydia, are all about the football-and-sweatpants aspect of the day. Others are hurrying up the holiday for a tryptophan-induced nap and Black Friday preparations. The lucky ones, like Cristina, can pour a bourbon and enjoy the day. When my maternal grandmother was alive, we stood in the kitchen and took a turn saying what we were thankful for. It was a beautiful moment of affirmation for the adults, and the bane of the grandkids' existence. But, it's forever etched in our memories as What You Do On Thanksgiving.

via Hadley Pottery
A fun way to mix up tradition is to add some pretty new dishes and serving pieces to your holiday table. I'm forever in love with Spode's Woodland china pattern. Someday, the Hunting Dog series will be mine. More locally,  pieces from Louisville Stoneware and Hadley Pottery add a little Kentucky tradition while prettying up your table.While my suggestions for turkey tikka masala often go ignored, at least I can spice up the holiday with these fun bird patterned china patterns!

Here's to old traditions and a few new ones to mix things up!

What are your Thanksgiving traditions?