Thanksgiving Traditions and Memories

Thanksgiving is here and we’re all bloated from eating too much. So we thought we’d share some Thanksgiving traditions and memories that Chantelle and I each have with our families.

Thanksgiving turkey

Chantelle’s Thanksgiving

Chantelle is lucky enough to have her whole family all living in the same county. This includes her kids, along with her parents, and siblings and their families. If the weather is nice for Thanksgiving in Michigan (and this is a crap shoot for any given year) they pull out the Road Kill Grill, the airstream, and set up a party in her parents backyard. They do this a lot during the year, whether for a holiday or not.



When the kids are feeling picky, and aren’t in the mood for turkey, hot dogs can easily be grilled up!

Fall family gatherings

As families, we are just happy to be together! When everyone is full of food, they head to the movies for the latest blockbuster newly released.

Fall flowers Bungalow 47 style

Jill’s Thanksgiving Traditions

My family is a bit more spread out. I am always headed to the airport to pick someone up, as a bit of travel is always in the cards. All the kids are married and living coast to coast, so holidays are shared with their in-laws. Thanksgiving is celebrated with friends and neighbors, and those loved ones who can make the trip. We get the house pretty packed with guests and there is never an empty chair. We love to have a crowd!

Everyone helps plan the meal, decorate the table, and choose the utensils needed. No matter the age, everyone gets a job. Most important, the trash guy!

thanksgiving table prep

Next, we focus on the main event. We always serve both ham and turkey. We are pretty particular about the ham, it’s gotta be a Honeybaked Ham. Ham is always the best for leftovers. Which do you prefer, ham or turkey?

thanksgiving ham

Switching Up the Turkey

We’ve been trying to cook the turkey in a variety of ways over the years. Sometimes it’s scented with herbs, or soaked in a brine. We’ve even spatchcocked it, but we never put the stuffing in the cavity. There is just something about having it inside the turkey that grosses me out a bit. Plus, it cooks quicker without it being stuffed.

thanksgiving turkey

Sometimes the food debate gets serious, like should the stuffing be classic or gourmet? To keep family harmony, both are made! We are serious about our stuffing!


thanksgiving classic stuffing


Dessert Traditions

At the end, the dessert is a highlight! How is it that after you have gorged yourself, you somehow still have room for dessert? Our resident professional pastry chef (my sons wife) makes desserts and rolls, with the help of my daughters. I am always happy to turn the kitchen over to their culinary imagination. I’m not much of a baker, so the girls take over and make it all fabulous.

thanksgiving desserts
thanksgiving tarts
thanksgiving rolls



Our Resident Food Critic

My middle daughter keeps everyone using creative, fresh ingredients as she is very health conscious. And my youngest daughter is a professional photographer who takes pictures of food all the time! If we’re lucky, we can make her pull out the camera and get good pictures of all the yumminess.

Importantly, we prep as much as we can the day before. Stretching out all the traditions of the holiday make the whole weekend fun. To clarify, we always make way too much food so we can stretch the leftovers throughout the weekend. Sometimes we freeze the turkey though to use a month down the road so we don’t get sick of that flavor.

Thanksgiving and Football

We live in Michigan and the Detroit Lions traditionally play on the big day. We watch lots of football, tell funny family stories, and head to the movies when everyone is done being thankful for all the food! I love to add ideas and inspiration to my Pinterest board for next year. You can check out my boards here.

thanksgiving food

In conclusion, we are always grateful to be with our families and loved ones on this thankful holiday. We wish you and your family happiness and safety, and we’d love to hear what your favorite Thanksgiving traditions are! Leave us a comment and share what traditions and memories you have of this holiday.

Giving thanks, Jill 



One Comment

  1. Last Minute Lynn says:

    I am totally full, but looking at those pictures, makes me hungry! Wonderful family fun!

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