Hearthside Happenings

Home For The Holidays: Thanksgiving Traditions

New and Old Traditions to Take Inspiration from!
Posted: November 27, 2019 by Joe Carelli

It’s almost time! You start the morning staring into the abyss of the closet wondering what to wear for today’s festivities, logic suggests you reach for the sweatpants but tradition prevails and you don your very best for another fantastic Thursday spent in the living room.  The irresistible smell of food fills the room, lively chatter and familiar faces of friends and family lure you in. As you make your grand entrance it dawns on you that you deliberated far too long on what to wear to the living room as all eyes are on the beautiful turkey coated in an irresistible gravy.  A few hundred bites later of mashed potatoes, asparagus, turkey and grandma’s pie makes you wish you reached for the sweatpants.

It’s not too late! As everyone slips into a food coma and in-between your uncle cheering on the Buffalo Bills against the Dallas Cowboys, your cousin hounding you to switch over to Philadelphia’s National Dog Show now’s your chance to switch into something more comfortable. With a belly full of food, you can now put your hands behind your head and relish in the company of loved ones, another happy thanksgiving!

Growing up you likely had your own traditions to look forward to. If you are a new homeowner you can explore one of the most magical parts of being a homeowner, the ability to make your own traditions! The first year in your new home is filled to the brim with new experiences.

There’s no wrong way to establish new traditions, some by research, some by accident. Some traditions take life in the form of pie, football or if you have a taste for competition a contentious game of Uno.

No matter if you are hosting Thanksgiving or attending one at someone else’s it’s never too late to start some new traditions. Below are some time-tested traditions and some new ones to help spark inspiration. If you find yourself far from home this year we also would like to offer suggestions below for alternative celebrations.


The holiday season reminds us of something we should keep in mind all year, to be appreciative of what we have. This year, give back to those who might not be as lucky. Volunteering is a fantastic way to spend the holiday, and to do something good!

Volunteering doesn’t have to feel obligatory either, it’s a fun way to spend the day with friends, families, meet new faces and re-connect with your community. Find a local homeless shelter, soup kitchen or food pantry to contribute to. You can also call around to local nursing homes and senior centers and help boost their spirits during the holidays.  


Kick the day off with a friendly, fun game of Football amongst the family. Our suggestion is to make the game accessible to all, even Grandma. The point is to have fun, the Lombardi trophy isn’t up for grabs. Although, if you want to get competitive…who are we to suggest otherwise. Our suggestion is to get creative and make your own makeshift trophy!

Feeling extra bold? Put some extra stakes on the game, such as losing team has to clean the dishes.

If getting muddy isn’t in the cards for you this year, there is no shortage of football to watch. This year’s line-ups include the Buffalo Bills versus Dallas Cowboys, Chicago Bears versus Detroit Lions and New Orleans Saints versus the Atlanta Falcons.

Thanksgiving Tablecloth

We understand you might want to find a reason for your fancy tablecloth, but here’s an idea that is both personable and creative: introducing the Thanksgiving tablecloth. Invite your guests to write (or draw!) what they are grateful for on the table, be sure to sign or initial your masterpiece so you can reference it throughout the years.

Get the Kids Involved

Kids love to participate in the holiday fun (or madness depending on how things are unfolding). We encourage you to allow them, this serves to allow them to get involved, stay out of trouble and help foster the importance of chipping in. Designate them the role of setting the table, helping to clean up or serving desserts! For older kids, you can have them have their own dining contributions in the form of simple meals such as pigs in a blanket, salads, or slice and dice cookies.


This next tradition harkens back to Ancient Rome. Wishbones are seen as a symbol of good luck, if you wish to cash in on the good luck there are some stipulations. For a wishbone to properly crack the bone must be dried several days in advance. Some households will use their wishbone from last year’s Thanksgiving festivities and then salvaging a new wishbone for next year.

Assuming you only keep one wishbone, feel free to develop your own strategy of who gets to split it (names in a bowl, rotations, friendly competition…). When you narrow down the participants to two, both of you take the wishbone in hand, close your eyes, make your wish and pull. The one with the larger split is said to have their wish come true!

Dog Show

Here’s one the whole family can enjoy, including the family dog! Philadelphia is hosting the Thanksgiving National Dog Show on television. Tune in from noon to two to watch all these good boys and good girls live their best life!

Thankful Alphabet Game

While being grateful for friends, family and food can’t be overstated, mix things up and encourage people to give deep consideration to specific things they are thankful for. Start with the letter A and work your way around the table and through the alphabet with different things you are thankful for (example: I am thankful for this delicious apple pie, I am thankful for being in good company…).

Take a Hike

Work up an appetite to feast, take a hike with friends and family and explore the great outdoors. If there’s too much preparation to be done to hike, then burn off the calories after dinner and resist the urge to fall asleep on the couch!

Head Down Memory Lane

Travel back in time with those old home videos that have been collecting dust in the basement. Gather around the television as you cringe and laugh at the potentially humiliating fashion styles of days gone by.

Bob For Turkey

You’ve heard of the classic bob for apples, here’s a Thanksgiving spin on the game, bob for turkey! Here’s how it works fill a bowl with gravy and turkey legs and start bobbing! Alright, on second thought you might want to skip this one…. 

Pie Competition

Take inspiration from all those cooking and baking shows and host your own food competition. Have a few guests bake their own pie and vote on who wins! With a stomach full of pie nobody comes out the loser in this competition.

Cards, Games, and Charades

This is another obvious one, but make it a tradition to play a game every year. You can switch it up every year or keep it consistent. You can go as large or small as you’d like with this one, some suggestions include Uno, Risk, Charades, Cards, Catan, Memory Games, Apples to Apples, or Thanksgiving mad libs.


There’s no shortage of parades going on during Thanksgiving. Before the feast begins, come together as a community and enjoy the local parade. If attending the local parade isn’t an option you can always just turn on the television to watch the Macy’s Parade in New York City or the 100th Thanksgiving Day Parade in Philadelphia.

Alternative Celebrations

It’s worth acknowledging that Thanksgiving and the holiday season, in general, aren’t always the easiest of times for everyone. You might find yourself away from family this year due to work or other life circumstances if that’s the case we encourage alternative Thanksgivings celebrations. Just because Thanksgiving is marked on the calendar as November 28th doesn’t mean you have to celebrate then.

Choose to celebrate Thanksgiving on the date that works for you. Other options include hosting a Friendsgiving if are away from family. If you have Thanksgiving plans and notice someone who might not invite them along! Now, if you still find yourself alone on the holiday consider volunteering and spending the night doing something you truly enjoy. Make yourself a nice meal, watch your favorite movie and treat yourself!

Happy Thanksgiving!

No matter how you choose to celebrate the day, we wish you all a very happy, healthy, Thanksgiving and holiday season! This season can be fast, chaotic and move quickly. Make it a point to slow things down, savor each moment, enjoy the company around you, take a breath and designate time for yourself!

If you are feeling stressed check out our previous posting all about staying stress-free during the holidays here.

One final suggestion, cure the post-thanksgiving day blues with a sandwich of your favorite leftover turkey day fixings that promises to put Wawa’s signature gobbler sandwich to shame!!


Loading Comments


Real Estate Links Our Domains