Unconventional Thanksgiving Holiday Traditions

The holiday season is official upon us. I’m sending this post to you from the airport in Washington, DC on my way home to Milwaukee. Yep, I’m joining the masses hitting the road on the busiest travel day of the year. Wish me luck!

Anyway, today I wanted to talk about unique holiday traditions that happen during Thanksgiving. Since this holiday is so close to Christmas, we normally didn’t connect with family while I was growing up. Instead, we’d have dinner with family friends and find traditions in other part of the long weekend. My mom and I always would get up early, make monkeybread, and watch the Broadway show part of the NBC showing of the Macy’s parade. Then on Friday, we’d spend the day decorating the house for Christmas and have fondue for dinner.

I asked some of my fellow Eco-Etsy teammates about their Thanksgiving traditions. They have great ideas that I may add to my holiday!

“We have breakfast and give Christmas tree ornaments to the children while watching the parade! Started that tradition years ago with my own girls. When they moved out they each had a beautiful box with 20+ ornaments collected over the years. Many are handcrafted by family members and especially treasured. The grandsons boxes are started already.”

-Bonnie of The FamiLee Jewels

“After (a veg) thanksgiving dinner we clear off the table and my son and I make our Christmas cards, from recycled materials of course! Many of our cards include a handmade paper ornament so special recipients receive an ornament from us each year. We put up and decorate our tree, then settle in with onion dip and chips to watch “It’s a Wonderful Life”.”

-Pam of Re-Maker

Family outdoors in the snow“About 20 or so years ago (maybe more?) my grandma started the tradition that immediately after the meal – no matter what the weather was like – we all got up off our butts and went for a walk. It wasn’t a long walk, not a power walk either, just a nice way to work a few of those calories off before going back for pie and football (aka napping on the sofa). Young and old alike took part and my husband and I carry on the tradition to this day!”

-Jen of Writesy Press

“My family does a white elephant gift exchange on Thanksgiving after we eat dinner. It started as an ornament exchange to kick off the Christmas season but quickly morphed into your typical white elephant exchange where we re-gift things that we don’t want. We draw numbers and take turns either choosing a wrapped gift or stealing one that someone has already opened. It’s a hilarious good time and we get to laugh and be silly with each other. I’ve come away with some treasures like a metal water bottle with flowers and the name ‘Studley’ printed on it. No one would fess up to bringing it so the mystery of where it came from remains. My husband and I just refer to it as Studley now, as in “Do you want me to grab a water bottle?” “No thanks, Studley’s already in the car.” Also ever year since the beginning, one of the items re-gifted is a battery operated Eminem doll (remember that rapper?) that sings and dances. Whoever ends up with it brings it as their gift next year, trying to creatively wrap it so no one guesses what it is until it’s opened. It’s hilarious.”

-Casey of Sesame Seeds Designs

What are your favorite Thanksgiving traditions?


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  1. Fun stuff. I love the idea of the white elephants!

  2. This was fun to read the traditions of others! This is my first thanksgiving without family. I will get to see them on Christmas though, so can’t wait!