Other families are more absorbed in the football games scheduled to be played that day. The NFL plays, as well as, college teams and even some high schools celebrate the holiday in this way. It seems this tradition of playing football on this holiday has existed almost as long as the “official holiday” itself. President Lincoln named it a legal national holiday in 1863 and only three years later the first Thanksgiving Day football game took place!2
It seems Thanksgiving is regarded as an “outdoorsman’s kind of holiday,” as well. For years the men of the family would trek across hill and dale for the animal of their choice to hunt. It’s often paralleled with the first Thanksgiving. History suggests the Pilgrims had turkey and deer; and perhaps there was the goose, quail, duck or other critter that might have been included in the festivities. In any case, the idea of hunting on Thanksgiving has settled in to become part of the holiday tradition.
Some people make it a tradition to invite an acquaintance for dinner, or will work in a shelter serving those less fortunate for Thanksgiving. Some will deliver dinners to shut-ins or visit a hospital or find some other way to “serve,” in an act of kindness and in gratefulness of their own bounty. Still others, who have no television (yes, there really are families who choose to have no TV!) enjoy a game of monopoly, dominoes or other "old fashioned" entertainment, as they fellowship together after dinner.
Of course most families enjoy a turkey dinner (although not all, given the variety of ‘diets’ out there), but traditionally it’s turkey (and ham if there are lots of attendees!), stuffing, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, a vegetable or two, cranberry sauce, gravy and biscuits, pumpkin pie (and our family also likes pecan and apple pies—and the occasional cherry pie!) And you can’t forget the kids who like cookies, brownies, fudge or other finger dessert! Certainly the menu varies from family to family, but everyone enjoys the food!
Aside from having family members come “home” for the holidays (although sadly, with our family scattered across the states, many won’t be celebrating with us this year) and watching the variety of parades and football games scheduled for the day, it is also the day, when all has slowed down, I pull out my Christmas card list (and occasionally even the Christmas cards) and begin to edit or address some of the hundred or so Christmas cards I mail every year, since Christmas seems to arrive so fast after Thanksgiving!
Whatever your tradition, this Thanksgiving Day, 2015, I hope you are happy and healthy, enjoying the people you love most or partaking in an activity that gives you great joy! There is indeed much to be thankful for, despite the events that darken our world every single day. Be grateful for those you hold close-- and do “hold them close to your heart" for not one of us is promised another single day. Enjoy this moment and this day!
Happy Thanksgiving, from our house to yours!