Top 5 Family Thanksgiving Traditions

Traditions are a big part of the Thanksgiving holiday, and every American family has their own way of celebrating. From stuffing the turkey to taking in a football game, here are five popular traditions shared by American families each Thanksgiving.

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From the first Thanksgiving to today's turkey burgers, turkeys are an American tradition dating back centuries. According to the National Turkey Federation, 95 percent of Americans eat turkey at Thanksgiving. Regional twists offer variations on the traditional roasted bird, including coffee rubbed turkey from Hawaii, ​salt encrusted turkey from New England, and deep fried turkey from the South. More »

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Throughout the United States, football on Thanksgiving Day is as big a part of the celebration as turkey and pumpkin pie. Dating back to the first intercollegiate football championship held on Thanksgiving Day in 1876, traditional holiday football rivalries have become so popular that a reporter once called Thanksgiving "a holiday granted by the State and the Nation to see a game of football." More »

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Parading Around

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The first American Thanksgiving Day parade was held in 1920, organized by Gimbel's Department Store in Philadelphia, not Macy's as most people believe. The NYC Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade tradition actually began in 1924, and has grown into an annual event of balloons, bands, and floats, enjoyed by more than 46 million people each year in person and on TV.
Getty / Yellow Dog Productions

Does your family fight over the wishbone from the Thanksgiving turkey? Known as a "lucky break" the tradition of tugging on either end of a fowl's bone to win the larger piece and its accompanying "wish" dates back to the Etruscans of 322 B.C. The Romans brought the tradition with them when they conquered England and the English colonists carried the tradition on to America. More »

Getty / Design Pics / Christine Mariner

Last, but certainly not least, Thanksgiving is about giving thanks for the people and blessings of the past year. Families engage in a wide number of different activities for bringing thanks to their Thanksgiving table, from a blessing or special grace to Thanksgiving show and tell. Some also use the holiday to spread the cheer to others, such as helping out with holiday meals for the homeless. More »

Make the Most of Family Gatherings this Thanksgiving

Is your family gathering together for Thanksgiving? Take advantage of the special family time to go through old family photo albums with Grandma and have her help you with the names that go with the faces. Set up a video camera in the corner and record the great family stories that are shared over Thanksgiving dinner. If you need some story starters, then try this list of 50 questions for family history interviews. Collect information to put together a medical family history, or everyone's favorite recipes to create a family cookbook. Or why not bring along a few ancestry DNA kits with you and ask them for their spit (always good family dinner conversation)!

Thanksgiving and other big family holidays are a perfect opportunity to learn more about your family history and start preserving it for future generations. Take advantage!

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Powell, Kimberly. "Top 5 Family Thanksgiving Traditions." ThoughtCo, Jun. 20, 2017, Powell, Kimberly. (2017, June 20). Top 5 Family Thanksgiving Traditions. Retrieved from Powell, Kimberly. "Top 5 Family Thanksgiving Traditions." ThoughtCo. (accessed April 19, 2018).