Thanksgiving Traditions Built with Flexibility

What are your Thanksgiving traditions? My family has some incredible traditions and yet we’ve also built in a lot of flexibility! We had a great holiday with several holiday traditions at our table this year:


  • Collection of family and/or friends
  • My mom’s cornbread & biscuit dressing
  • Mom’s fresh cranberry salad
  • Grandmom’s ambrosia (I made it)
  • Deviled eggs
  • Lots of talking and laughter

Our flexibility comes in other ways. And that was evidenced too.

  • The family there included mom, my sister’s family, me, niece Alicia, sister’s in-laws and our dear friend Arnie
  • This year was at my sister’s house but we’ve celebrated lots of places and in fact every other year the family swells to 50-75!
  • We usually have turkey – sometimes baked, sometimes fried, sometimes ham

We’ve found it’s also okay to go untraditional. Something I’ve done many times. I know… that surprises all of you! So this was Alicia’s first time away for the holiday. I, on the other hand, have frequently found myself celebrating the holiday elsewhere. To me, I can give thanks almost anywhere and sometimes being away makes you more thankful for home.

My first Thanksgiving on the road was probably the one my sophomore of college when I hopped in a car with a friend and went to Colorado Springs to spend the holiday with her family. From that point, I’ve found my way to pausing for thanks in a number of locations.

There were several Thanksgivings spent in New York, usually spending the morning in the city at the Macy’s Thanksgiving parade. I remember going with a dear friend from church camp one year and Thanksgiving dinner was a hot dog from a street vendor. Another year with my sister’s family we took the girls for a great lunch at Hard Rock Cafe. There was a New Jersey holiday or two with a dear friend’s family and more recently a trip up with another friend who had never seen New York.

The Thanksgiving vacation in Italy was a great one. Since I was visiting an American friend & her family, I had the responsibility of bringing lots of pecans so she could have a rare pecan pie. Amazing how easy it is to forget that we have some foods that come from plants here that others don’t have much access to (until of course you crave dragonfruit in the US cause you can really turn up empty!)

A few years ago it was in India. I had traveled over for work and was able to spend the holiday with a colleague I had met many years ago and his precious family. We had dinner with the ex-pat club there in Hyderabad. I felt a little off eating such American food in a country of such great spices, but it was yummy too!

Even though there have been quite a few Thanksgivings without my mom’s dressing or grandmom’s ambrosia, I’ve always been with incredible people and had a good meal. I’ve never had to be flexible on that! On Thanksgiving day, it seems like reflecting on that as an amazing blessing seems appropriate.

What are you thankful for?


If you would like to see the other posts I’ve written on Thanksgiving, the links follow:

About Janice Person

I'm Janice & this blog is about my passions -- photography, travel, agriculture & whatever else comes to mind. Putting all those things together is intriguing to me…. I can spend a lot of time soaking it up! It's almost always a colorful adventure!

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5 Responses to Thanksgiving Traditions Built with Flexibility

  1. Ryan Goodman November 26, 2010 at 5:54 am #

    That makes me feel better about spending my first Thanksgiving away from home this year because of work.

  2. Janice November 27, 2010 at 2:24 pm #

    🙂 This was Alicia’s first year not with her mom & dad too so I was reminded clearly how it felt. Both sort of empowering once I realized I was able to create a feeling of being ok but also the time away makes me really appreciate when I do have the crowd in once place. Since we are so scattered, the gathering can be at any of a number of houses.


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