View Full Version : How Does your Family Celebrate ThanksGiving

05-14-2007, 11:48 PM
we are doing Cranberry Thanksgiving at the moment and Thanks giving is very new to australia i think this is either the 2nd or 3rd year for it..But its our 1st ever..so I;d love to hear how you do thanksgiving..what foods do you eat(share recipes please) what crafts do you do? agmes you might play?

we have invited a friend & her 2 girls over so we want to go over the top for her.

05-15-2007, 01:21 AM
Thanks giving is very new to australia i think this is either the 2nd or 3rd year for it..

I'll say! I didn't even know that we DID START celebrating it here!?:unsure: What date is it here? Isn't it in November in the USA? :unsure: Where did you hear about it happening here Sonia? Sounds cool though! :thumb:

Lori D
05-15-2007, 01:49 AM
Our favorite holiday is Thanksgiving. With no gifts to give, it is a time to just get together with family, hang out and eat. Typically we have a turkey dinner with mash potatoes and gravy, some veggies on the side, and pumpkin pie for dessert(can't give the recipe because it is a family secret that I am not in on:)).

Many families watch the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade on television in the morning(don't ask where in the world that tradition came from), and there is a major football game on that day as well- a must see for most sports fan- not being a sports fan, I could not tell of what significance that game is. :)

While the holiday has it's origins in one of USA's first settlements(something that all school children in the USA study), for most of us it is a day to get together with family and/or friends and to be thankful for those people and all that we have.

If I think of more, I'll come back and edit!


05-15-2007, 03:31 AM
Amanda its May 26th http://www.thanksgiving.org.au/index.asp

here is what it says on the above site

The National Day of Thanksgiving is a unique opportunity for Australians to celebrate and give thanks for our God given heritage as a nation and to demonstrate the God given values of honour, respect, thankfulness and gratitude towards our fellow man that have made us the great nation we are.

It is a day for us to pause as a nation and say thank you to God and to each other for those many things we often take for granted but which really make our lives worth living. Let us use this day to be a blessing to those who have been a blessing to us during the past year.


I know that thanksgiving orgins are in Succoth also known as the Feast of Ingathering--and is tied to the harvest time( which is why it will be in may here im guessing because thats harvest time here)
I guess as most things over time it gets commercial or takes away from the true meaning which is sad.
But i am looking forward to making it part of our yearly celebrations

05-15-2007, 05:09 AM
Well thanks for making me aware, I had no idea! Sounds like a wonderful thing to do. I always thought how great it was that Americans did this, and I'm glad OZ is on board too :clap: Cool :cool:

Kendra AU
05-15-2007, 05:18 AM
Wowie! The inlaws are going to blown away by this one, but it wouldn't be the same for me (an American) to celebrate it in May (all though it makes sense considering it's currently fall) because I'm use to celebrating it in November. :)

I usually host Thanksgiving as Mom hosted Christmas. Thus we split all the baking, all though Mom always made the dishes that her grandmother use to make.

Thanksgiving for my family always started with our traditional 5k (this may be the first year in many I've missed it...) at our local YMCA. It was dubbed the "Turkey Trot". Even my children participated in the one mile fun run. I pointed out it was a great way to make room for all those calories we were bound to consume.

The week leading up (sometimes the entire month) was all about giving thanks. We had a tree on the wall one year (made from heavy brown paper) and each day we all added a leaf that had something we were thankful for. When family showed up on Thanksgiving day we asked them to please add something special too.

I ended up finding a beautiful glass jar that came with a lid and had a very appropriate verse on it. There after we would write down what we were thankful for, fold it up and toss it in the jar. Then we'd read them out for some good old fashion "feel good" times. lol When I moved from America I left our notes in the jar and passed it on to Mom.

We did watch the traditional Macy Day parade, that was a left over from childhood when my siblings and I would crowd around (the only day no one had to force us to get up early) to see what fun balloons we'd see this year. All though I must admit my kids only watch it to see The Wiggles! LOL

My boys make placemats for each family member who will be showing up. We print out fun little Turkey pictures of make turkies with our hands. You simply trace your handprint (fingers pointing up) and color the fingers as the feathers, thumb is the head, and draw some little stick legs. Then they'd tell me something they loved about the particular family member, I'd write it down, laminate it and stick it on the table.

My husband worked in a chocolate factory for a little while and got discounts on the chocolate. So each Thanksgiving I'd go down and pick up one chocolate turkey for each family member as well. Familyfun.com had cute little name tags for the table. These were, of course, often shaped like Pilgrims, or the Mayflower, etc. So I'd stick the turkey and the name card together.

Our menu was generally a roasted turkey, stuffed with traditional stuffing. This means, for us, I'd buy the biggest turkey I could find. I'd buy, yes I cheat, a couple boxes of seasoned stuffing mix. Then on Thanksgiving Day I'd remove the "ick" from the turkey melt some butter in a frying pan, toss in a chopped onion, and half a bunch of chopped celery (not the leaves). When they were tender I'd proceed with the directions on the back of the stuffing box. Fill the turkey (both ends) with the stuffing, baste with some chicken broth and put in the oven. When the skin starts to brown cover with foil, but continue to baste every 20-30 minutes. Our family's method for knowing when the turkey is done is to wiggle the leg. If it wiggles really easy (or happens to fall off) it's done.

We also have cranberry sauce (both home made and canned). For the canned kind I simply chill and open and slice. For the homemade kind we've tried new recipes so often it's crazy, but my ultimate favorite was found at FamilyFun.com and it's the pineapple cranberry mix (I'll look for the recipe and post later..).

Fresh rolls (I make the dough in my bread maker because it's soooo much easier!)

Green bean casserole (this is a tradition in many American homes.. recipe can be found here: http://www.campbellkitchen.com/recipedetail.aspx?recipeID=24099 (we use frozen beans normally),

mashed potatoes,

fruit salad (red grapes halved, a can of pineapple tidbits (fresh pineapple is pricey in America), sliced bananas (they are pricey here! LOL), a handful or so of walnut pieces, marshmallows (all though I will say American mallows are different!), and then you whip up about a pint (two cups) of cream and mix. Make this close to dinner time so the bananas don't brown!)

Corn Pudding (I recently obtained this recipe for another thread, and it seems one of my children has run off with the paper to regions unknown, I'll post it later!)

Sweet Potato Casserole (this is the one I used that my family seems to like: http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Sweet-Potato-Casserole-II-501/Detail.aspx)

For Desert we usually have several pies on the table--

Apple pie (okay I thought all pies were the same, but my MIL made us a pie, and it wasn't anything like an American pie! I normally use a simple oil pastry, peel and slice apples, add sugar and cinnamon to them toss gently, plop them in the pie crust and put another crust on top. Slice some vent holes and cook it for about thirty minutes.. I'd share my pie crust recipe but that too is tucked away somewhere between here and America at the moment..)

Pumpkin Pie (we often used canned pumpkin.. Okay Libby Canned pumpkin to be exact because the recipe is on the back of the can! LOL All though nothing beats pumpkin pie from "real" pumpkins! Here's the recipe we normally use: http://www.verybestbaking.com/recipes/detail.aspx?ID=18470)

Chocolate Pie (basically you make a pie crust (cook it if you make a pastry crust) you could do regular pastry or you could crush up chocolate sandwich cookie (like oreo) and press into pie pan. Then you'd make homemade chocolate pudding and pour into pie crust. Set in fridge to cool and serve with cream.)

Cherry Pie -- (my husband (An Australianer) wouldn't celebrate Thanksgiving with us if I didn't serve cherry pie! hehe I cheat big time here though because cherries are really pricey to buy fresh in America where I lived. So I make an oil pastry crust and filled it with two cans of cherry pie filling. If I had time I'd make a lattice top out of oil pastry as well and then bake until crust was golden. My husband swears that King Island Cream should be imported to eat with this, but now that he's back in Australia he can just buy some and save on shipping! LOL)

Sometimes my SIL brings a desert her grandmother sends along. It too is DELICIOUS. I'd share the recipe, but you need Graham crackers and I can't find them here!! I have no idea if you can get them on the mainland or not, my husband said he'd never heard of them until he came to America.

Anyway, if all that isn't enough the kids and I usually make a "turkey" desert. This means we make something that is shaped like a turkey! One year it was cookies. Here's an easy recipe for them: http://pie.midco.net/grammalowe2/cookie.html#cookie17 We used chocolate covered cherries in place of the caramels and we'd used two cookies the same size. I'd share a photo, but those too are between here and there...

Another year we did Turkey Cupcakes (I do NOT advise making these up the day ahead because our feathers started to MELT!) Here's the recipe: http://jas.familyfun.go.com/recipefinder/printrecipe?id=40569

We made other cupcakes once too.. http://familyfun.go.com/Resources/Cookbook/FeatureRecipeImages/0906_sweettomcupcakes.jpg here's a picture of what they looked like, I can't find the recipe.. But basically chocolate cupcakes (or fairy cake of choice.. the cookies were mini shortbreads used for head and wings.. tail feathers are candy corn, beaks are the white tip of the candy corn, eye is a mini M&M held on with a dot of frosting, wattle is red frosting..)

Okay, so you get the picture that we go all out for Thankgiving at our place. We usually have lots of fun turkey crafts and read all about the Pilgrims and the history "story" that goes with it. One of our favorite crafts (aside from swapping "turkey" sweets with our neighbors) was to make our Turkey candelabra, instructions are here: http://jas.familyfun.go.com/crafts?page=CraftDisplay&craftid=11148

I often try to have a game or two and a craft on hand as well. With little ones left to themselves too much, well you know "bringeth their mother to shame.." One year they made turkey shirts. I used some squeeze paint (the little bottles of it you can buy at Spotlight or other craft shop) and I traced each child's hand onto a long sleeved shirt. Then I gave them bags of feathers and glue and let them cover the turkey with feathers. We glued on a googly eye and the shirts are still going! lol

Football is part of the American tradition for many, and my family was sure to watch the games. So one year we opted to go outside and play as well making sure that even the children were part of the game. They of course loved this.

Last year we did Turkey Races! This was by far the biggest blast for a game we've done yet. I took a large piece of paper (poster board sized) and I broke it off into 6 columns, each column was seperated into about 10 rectangles. Each one was also colored a different color (The six columns, not the ten rectangles) I had everyone save Toilet Paper tubes and bring them. lol Then we decorated our TP tubes into turkeys. We used construction paper to do so. Once each person had a turkey and picked a color to be on we were set.

All though to get even the couch potatoes into the game I handed out candy kisses and these were used as monopoly money. We used six dice and would have one of the children shake them in a cup dump them out. Depending on how far your turkey went depended on if you got extra kisses or not. The idea originated from Family Fun.

Because family hangs out from anywhere of 10-11 am until 9 or so at night we often have snacks out all day. Veggie trays, cheese and crackers, fruit trays, nuts, etc. Then we have our big meal around 4 or 5. After which we often enjoy desert while watching a "pre Christmas" movie.

Ahh yes, Thankgiving is a huge thing for us,


05-15-2007, 06:11 AM
Oh Kendra, your Thanksgiving sounds sooooooooo wonderful! :hop: I could almost imagine myself there with your family as I read your post! :hcry: Lovely, thank you :clap: :kiss:

Angela Paige
05-15-2007, 07:07 AM
Many families watch the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade on television in the morning(don't ask where in the world that tradition came from)

Actually, the Macy's parade has a pretty interesting history! We read a bit about that this past Thanksgiving. I'm not a faithful watcher, though we did watch this past year.

My family doesn't do the traditional American Thanksgiving dinner. Growing up, my grandparents hosted a Thanksgiving Breakfast. It started when their children began to marry and it was hard for them to find a time that was suitable for every one to come. What worked for one child didn't work for the other. So, they decided to start hosting a breakfast because everyone was free then. :D

My grandparents had an old recreation building behind their house that was heated by a large fireplace and a wood burning stove. It was large enough to hold lots of people. That's where they did the breakfast. Much fo the meal was cooked on the woodburning stove: grits, scrambled eggs, biscuits, etc. There was also turkey and ham, fruit salad, donuts, breakfast casseroles and the like. Hot coffee and hot chocolate, orange juice, and milk were set out to drink.

My grandfather and grandmother loved to invite others to join our family. Several years, they hosted 75+ folks for Thanksgiving Breakfast. Breakfast was early (about 7 am), so I remember getting up at the crack of dawn to go help cook. Tables were set up outside and we all ate in the chilly morning air.

My dh and I have a hard time making it back for Thanksgiving each year. He doesn't have enough time off for us to travel that far. :( So, we do our own mini-version of the breakfast. I always invite people to join us, though I've never hosted 75!

As for traditional turkey and stuffing ... we used to do that as well, since my dh's family always ate that. However, one year our oven was broken at Thanksgiving and I ended up making shrimp etouffe instead as it could be done totally on the stove top. My dh has requested that I make that every Thanksgiving since. I usually do a much smaller turkey/stuffing meal over the Thanksgiving weekend, so we do get to partake of all the traditional foods as well.

This past year, I put 5 kernals of corn on each of our plates. That was to remind us of how little food the Pilgrims had. Then we each told 5 things we were thankful for before serving our plates. We plan to keep this tradition up. I've also done a thankful tree before ... we did it on the wall and added colorful construction paper leaves on which we had written something we were thankful for each day in November.

Thanksgiving is also my favorite holiday. It makes my heart happy to remember how much I have to be grateful for and I enjoy the closeness of family.

05-15-2007, 07:21 AM
We have turkey, stuffing (my grandmother's homemade recipe), mashed potatoes, gravy, boiled onions (when I was a kid...the last few years I have made an onion casserole instead), turnips (sometimes mixed with carrots..though we've left this one off the menu the past couple of years), butternut squash.

We always have pickles, olives, cranberry sauce (jellied from a can), nuts, and candy (usually some homemade and some store bought)

As a child we always did the same thing every year. We went to my grandparents house with 30+ people every year. We ate around noon and everyone stayed all day late into the night. We'd have turkey on snowflake rolls at supper time with leftovers and people would bring Jello salads or quick breads.

Oh I almost forgot pie! We always have pie. Traditionally, apple, pumpkin and mincemeat. Occasionally there would be lemon meringue too. In the past couple of years my mom took over the pie baking from my great aunt and we haven't had mincemeat but we have had some cream pies.

It was traditional for a large group to go for a walk in the afternoon and for others to play games (cards and board games).

Great family memories from my youth.....:)

05-15-2007, 10:49 AM
Same here as other Americans posted. Turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, gravy, green beans, carrots, corn etc... lots and lots of food!! We always have stuffed dates, which are dates stuffed with peanut butter and rolled in sugar, mmm... good with cream cheese as well. There was always a bowl of assorted nuts on our little appetizer table too. potato chips, dip, veggie sticks etc.... We watched the parade when I was growing up. DH's family plays games on Thanksgiving. They look for any excuse to play games. We have lots of fun. A year ago Thanksgiving we celebrated Thanksgiving on our island and invited a few Aussie's to join us. I think that they had a wonderful time. We also had a 4th of July party and invited Aussie's too. Its hard to have holidays alone, so even though they are American holidays we will take whoever we can to come and join in on our celebration. There were no Americans on our island.

Woops, almost forgot pie!! Apple, pumpkin, pecan, chocolate cream etc...

Lori D
05-15-2007, 11:32 AM
I did forget the never ending string of "thankful" and "turkey" crafts! :)

In past years we have made wreaths(cut the center out of a paper plate), and glued on colored paper leaves with what each child is thankful for written on each leaf.

There is also the famous handprint turkey(paint hand and place on paper to make a handprint) with a poem to go with it-

This isn't just a turkey.
As anyone can see.
I made it with my hand,
Which is a part of me.
It comes with lots of love,
Especially to say,
I hope you have a very,
Happy Thanksgiving Day!

And here is one that I saved to do next year:

Have fun!