Thanksgiving Traditions

Thanksgiving Traditions

Thanksgiving kicks off the holiday season as a time to carve the turkey, watch football with the family and unbutton those pants! More Americans in the US celebrate Thanksgiving than do Christmas and it is known as "America's Favorite Holiday!"

We love traditions at the Life Chest and wanted to share with you some of our favorite Thanksgiving traditions, the ones that are passed down for generations, some old, some new and some you may not even know!

The Feast

The holiday feast dates back to November 1621, when the newly arrived Pilgrims and the Wampanoag Indians gathered at Plymouth for an autumn harvest celebration, an event regarded as America's “first Thanksgiving.” History Channel

Family Favorites:

Turkey: and/or ham, goose and duck or even turduken (a combo of three whole birds)

Check out this seriously incredible Turduken Recipe from Serious Eats.


(Turduken Photo by J. Kenji Lopez-Alt)

Stuffing: a mix of cubed bread, chopped celery, carrots, onions and sage which is stuffed inside a turkey for roasting. Sometimes included are Chestnuts, chopped bacon, or raisins and apples.

Pies: pumpkin pies are the most popular, but apple, apple, pecan or mincemeat pies are also favored.

The Parade

After a long day of cooking, gathering with family and stuffing yourself another tradition is to sit down and watch the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade! This tradition started in 1924 when a group of Macy's employees dressed up as clowns and jugglers and formed a parade that attracted over 250,000 spectators. After this the store decided to make the parade a yearly thing, adding the famous first balloon, Felix the Cat in 1927 and then Mickey Mouse in 1934.

Felix the Cat at the Macy's Parade 

The Big Game

The great American pig skin tradition of watching football on Thanksgiving has roots that date back to the great depression. After the Portsmouth Spartans were moved to Detroit, in 1934 the teams owners hosted a match between the newly named Lions and the world champion Chicago Bears to draw in football fans. The game sold out two weeks in advance and even though the Lions lost a tradition was born! For more on the First Thanksgiving Day Football Game in Detroit, 1934 click here!

Detroit Lions VS. Chicago Bears in Detroit Thanksgiving, 1934

The Turkey Pardon

The turkey pardon should not be overlooked! 

Every year, the president frees one lucky turkey while millions of its brethren are consigned to the dinner table. Though turkey farmers have been sending presidents the choicest birds since the 1800s, President John F. Kennedy was the first one on record to spare a turkey. In 1963, he sent back a turkey mailed by the National Turkey Federation, saying, "We'll just let this one grow." President Richard Nixon sent turkeys to a Washington, D.C., petting farm but didn't officially pardon them, according to the White House Blog. President George H.W. Bush gave the first official pardon to a turkey in 1989. The survivor lived out its days at a Virginia petting zoo called Frying Pan Park. 8 Terrific Turkey Facts

The Life Chest Tradition

Last year after Thanksgiving someone shared an incredible story of their Life Chest Moment:

A week before Thanksgiving I asked my friends and family to bring one memorable and tangible piece of their year with them to our dinner party. I didn't tell them why, I just asked them to make sure that's the one thing they brought. About twenty-five of us, young and old, gathered in the late afternoon and spent a day relaxing, cooking and cheering on our favorite team. After dinner and over drinks and dessert I brought everyone to the living room where we have been keeping our Life Chest, since receiving it last Christmas. 

"Beautiful!" "Breathtaking!" "But was is it?" they all asked. I then shared the story of our Life Chest, from when my husband surprised us with it, as a gift to the whole family last year to what it truly means to have one special place where all of our memories are stored safely to go through together. Inside I showed them my mother's veil she had passed down to me, which I also wore on our wedding day, my sons first football trophy, my daughters most worn pair of dance shoes and our dog Bee's collar tag (he had passed on last year.) 

After going through our memories I asked everyone to go around and talk about what they had brought to the party, to tell their story, and to share their most cherished memory from that past year. There were tears shed, laughs shared and by the end of the night we all had a better idea of who each of us were deep down. I love my Life Chest and I think that night I saw a few of my friends find value in treasuring those small mementos from memorable life events, and revisiting them for years to come.


Sharing Memories and Mementos with The Life Chest

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