Grill the Turkey
"We have the tradition of grilling the Thanksgiving turkey on a kettle-style grill. It's actually really easy, it cooks faster, is WAY juicier and delicious, and it clears up space for all the side dishes in the oven."
Learn about other methods of cooking a turkey.
Eat Some Olives
She says, "One silly Thanksgiving tradition that we had at our house was that we always served black and green olives. I don't think that is very unusual, but we ALWAYS picked out ten black olives each, stuck them on our fingers, and somehow found that to be the funniest thing ever. We would laugh while we ate them off our fingertips. This quirky tradition found its way back every year, and it's one of my fondest memories of Thanksgiving. I'm embarrassed to say that at least one of us still does it each year."
Watch Some Football
He says, "On Thanksgiving my cousins and I sit around and watch football. This year, I may even go to my high school's football game."
Get in the Christmas Spirit
One staff member says, "Thanksgiving night is the kickoff of the Christmas season in our family. We turn on the Christmas carols and watch Miracle on 34th Street (the original, of course), as we enjoy turkey sandwiches and other leftovers from the day's feast!"
Invite Others Over
"We've made everyone uncomfortable by forcing them to say what they're thankful for before we're allowed to eat. We go around the table, and one by one each person shifts in his seat, frowns at his plate, imagines how great that first bite of gravy-laden turkey is going to taste, and mumbles something about being grateful for family, friends, good health, and so on. Then, he looks to the next person, at last truly thankful for getting this over with for one more year. Everyone hates this tradition, yet it persists. I think, deep down, we're thankful that it's never changed."
As one staff member says, "After many years of dealing with crowded airports and canceled flights, or fighting traffic and driving through blizzards, my spouse and I now have a new tradition: We never leave town for the holidays.
"We do touch base with as many family members as we can reach by phone on Thanksgiving morning. But we don't spend the day cooking and washing dishes. Instead, we make a reservation at one of the great local restaurants that are open that day. It has to be a restaurant we can get to on foot or by public transportation, and we always go in the early afternoon. That way it's still light outside when we leave, and we can take a long walk to work off what we've just eaten. It's also wonderful to be with lots of other people for the holiday. The waiters are jovial, and entire families are seated at tables around us."
Run a Race
"Each Thanksgiving, my relatives and I run in a five-mile road race. This 'Turkey Trot' is great exercise, and we don't feel guilty about all the turkey we eat later that day! It also gives us something to be thankful for, because all of the proceeds go to local charities."
Take a Hike
One team member remembers, "When my cousins and I were kids, my dad and uncles would take us all on a hike through the apple orchards after dinner. It kept us from being cooped up in the house, and it gave my mom and aunts time to unwind and clean things up a little. Best of all, dessert was always waiting for us when we got back! Even though we're all grown-up now, we still embark on our annual Thanksgiving hike."