Get delicious Thanksgiving recipes while Savannah regales you with Thanksgiving tales!

I’ve made it through my entire life without once having Thanksgiving dinner, even though my family celebrates Thanksgiving. How is this possible? Well, in my family, the Thanksgiving meal is more of a brunch—sometimes even breakfast. And being the only non-morning person in my tiny family, this could create a serious challenge. But on the plus side, waking up to the smell of turkey is heavenly on the best feast day of the year.

After dragging myself out of bed, I would wander into the kitchen to help myself to some h’ordeuvres. Carrots, celery, olives (I’d always stick some on my fingers and pretend I was a monster), crackers and cheese, and my FAVORITE—deviled eggs (healthy Avocado Deviled Eggs, anyone?). Sometimes, there’s even pieces of extra pie crust sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar and baked in the oven. My mom’s pie crust is a special family recipe, and not something you can buy out of a box. Mmm! After filling a small plate (gotta save room for “dinner” in a couple of hours), I’d plop down in front of the TV to watch the parade.

We’d always dress up for Thanksgiving, even when it was just me and my parents. So after “breakfast” h’ordeuvres, it was off to the shower to get fancified. Most of the Thanksgiving cooking was done the night before, so the big day wasn’t too much work. Everyone pitched in to set the table and lay out the dishes once we were all dressed in our autumn best. With dogs underfoot every step of the way, it didn’t even matter if we dropped something. It was gobbled up right away!

Most years, we ate Thanksgiving “dinner” before Macy’s Santa made his appearance. The TV was muted for a prayer of thanks, then it was time to dive in! We always try a different fruit salad recipe every year (you really need to check out iFit’s Banana Berry Salad…yummy!), but the rest is the same: Rhodes rolls with real butter, stuffing (if you’ve got an allergy, this Gluten-Free Apple Cranberry Stuffing will be perfect for you), turkey, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes and gravy, green bean casserole, and yams. Mashed potatoes and gravy have always been my dad’s favorite, while my mom enjoys the green bean casserole. For me, it’s the cranberry sauce (whatever form it takes that year) and the yams with pineapple and melted marshmallows. Oh! And definitely the rolls.

Once we ate our fill, everyone pitched in with the dishes and crammed the leftovers into the refrigerator. My dad took the turkey out to the garage to carve the rest into smaller pieces. Then we changed into comfier clothes and rolled ourselves into the living room to watch The National Dog Show (with our dogs, of course). Sometimes, a nap was in order after we found out who that year’s cutest dog was, but I usually just read.

When actual dinnertime rolled around, it was time for pie! My mom usually makes two pies—pumpkin with homemade whipped cream and something else. Pecan, razzleberry, dutch apple, or chocolate cream are the usual suspects, although once we had pumpkin cheesecake! That was also when the dogs got their Thanksgiving dinner. A little bit of gravy, mashed potatoes, and turkey was mixed into their food, and they were in doggie heaven!

The rest of the day was family time. Playing board games (Mom’s favorite), dice (Dad’s favorite), or cards (my favorite). We’d perhaps even watch the first Christmas movie of the season. A must was decorating the Christmas tree while listening to Christmas songs. The evening was finished off with an early midnight snack, like a turkey sandwich (you should try this awesome iFit recipe for a Cranberry Turkey Panini) or a bowl of fruit salad (give this healthy Basil Fruit Salad a go). For me, Thanksgiving isn’t just a day packed with food. It’s also a day to pack in family time and make some warm holiday memories. Maybe I’ve never had Thanksgiving the traditional way, but we’ve created family traditions that I look forward to every year. What are your Thanksgiving family traditions? Share ‘em in the comments!

Savannah Kringlie
iFit Email Specialist

WARNING: This post is not intended to replace the advice of a medical professional. The above information should not be used to diagnose, treat, or prevent any disease or medical condition. Please consult your doctor before making any changes to your diet, sleep methods, daily activity, or fitness routine. iFit assumes no responsibility for any personal injury or damage sustained by any recommendations, opinions, or advice given in this article.