The Big Ass List of Family Traditions, Thanksgiving Edition

Thanksgiving Family Traditions

Hello and welcome to the Thanksgiving installment of The Big Ass List of Family Traditions. If you’re looking for the Halloween edition, you can find it here. If you’re wondering why tradition is important in the first place, that’s right here.

BUT if you’re looking to baste your Turkey Day with family fun, then look no further because we got the juice right here! Do we have pumpkin pie shots on this year’s list? You bet your cranberry-lovin ass we got pumpkin pie shots! So let’s get to it and see what’s what.

Thanksgiving Morning

There are two schools of thought regarding Thanksgiving morning. You either A) get active, in an attempt to compensate for an afternoon of gluttony, or B) fully embrace inactivity and begin the day on the couch. Which is better? We’ll cover both and let you decide.

Drink Coffee and Baileys

It’s a national holiday, which means my home bar opens the moment my eyes do.

Run the Turkey Trot

Last year my family ran the Turkey Trot, St. Paul’s annual 5k. How was it? No idea. I stayed home to drink baileys and…

Watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade

Did you know the first parade was held in 1924? That’s like 100 years ago. Now that’s a tradition!

Play Turkey Bowl Football

Not a fan of organized running but still want to get the blood pumping? Then how about some touch football?

True story: The last time I played backyard football, I was so sore the next morning, I literally couldn’t get out of bed. It was like every muscle below my waist had been torn from its connective tissue and then torn in half. This is what happens when you don’t run for 5 years and then one day sprint for 3 hours straight without any kind of warm up. Anyway, now I prefer to…

Watch Football

A day full of football is one of my favorite things about Thanksgiving; however, the Vikings play this year, so that sentiment will likely change.

The Meal

As a kid, I didn’t care for Thanksgiving. Without presents or pillowcases of candy, Turkey Day paled in comparison to its neighboring holidays. But as an adult, a weekday off of work spent eating and drinking like a medieval lord is the best present I could ask for. So with that being said, the following traditions are designed to keep the kids entertained while simultaneously allowing the adults to enjoy a well-deserved break.

Let the Kids Help With Dinner

Like with croissants. Croissants are easy. They’re pre-cut and you get to pop the dough tube. That’s always fun.

Establish a Kid’s Table

Confining kids to their own table spares me from a dinner spent listening to little Sally piss and moan about how Tommy Jr. wiped a boogie on her American Girl doll, and it saves the kids from hearing me curse openly about how the Vikings ruined Thanksgiving. Kid’s table. Adult’s table. Everyone wins. Of course, the challenge will be to keep the kids at said table. So here are some tips to do that.

Crafts. Provide construction paper and markers so the kids can design their own place settings. Then buy some fabric markers and a blank tablecloth and let them decorate that. Those two things combined should keep them busy for an entire 6 or 7 minutes.

Provide exclusive serving plates, so the kids can’t go running to the adult table anytime they want more food. Also, by giving them their own serving ware, they’ll practice table manners, passing and asking for things to be passed…I see no way this ends poorly.

Serve specialty drinks. Serving Kiddie Cocktails and/or warm apple cider will make their dinner feel fancy and exclusive. As for the adult table, take that cider and…

Add Some Bourbon

Here is a delicious bourbon cider cocktail recipe:


  • 3 ounces Four Roses Small Batch Bourbon (or other bourbon)
  • 1.5 ounces cider
  • 1.5 ounces ginger beer
  • cinnamon stick for garnish


  1. Combine bourbon, cider and ginger beer into a cocktail shaker filled with ice.
  2. Stir.
  3. Strain into a glass filled with ice.
  4. Garnish with a cinnamon stick.

Take a Pumpkin Pie Shot

Pumpkin Pie Shots

The best thing about these shots is that I get to catch a quick buzz and disguise it as a fun, little tradition.


  • 1/2 ounce Baileys (or other Irish Creme)
  • 1/2 ounce Dissarono (or other amaretto liqueur)
  • 1/4 ounce Goldschläger (or other cinnamon schnapps)


  1. Combine ingredients in a shot glass.
  2. To make a dozen, combine 6 ounces Baileys, 6 ounces Dissarono and 3 ounces Goldschläger into a small pitcher and chill.

Wear Sweatpants

For years I’ve tried to make sweatpants a tradition. I’ve lead by example. I’ve broke barriers! It has not caught on. Please, can we make this a thing?

Break the Wishbone


The key to the wishbone is to let your opponent do the work. Grab the bone as close to the ‘V’ as possible and don’t move. As he pulls, the breaking point will shift to his side and SNAP! May your many wishes come true.

Giving Thanks Traditions

According to Wikipedia, half of the Pilgrims who arrived on the Mayflower died before the first Thanksgiving. Half! Christ, the inaugural Thanksgiving must have been a bummer. Anyway, let this be a reminder to those of us effortlessly existing in modern day America: We have a lot to be thankful for. Here are some traditions to help express gratitude this Thanksgiving.

Say Grace

This doesn’t have to be some holy sacrament. You can even make it a toast. Just express thanks for the food and the people there to share it.

Create a Thanksgiving Journal

Establish and maintain a notebook or Google Doc, and every year, let each family member write 1-3 things they’re thankful for.

Create a Thanksgiving Tablecloth

Same idea as the journal only you write on a tablecloth. A fabric marker won’t come out in the wash, allowing new items to be added every year.

I know gratitude can seem weird and awkward, but consciously giving thanks has its benefits, including improved physical and psychological health and increased levels of overall happiness.

After Dinner

The precise moment when the holiday season shifts from Thanksgiving to Christmas is heavily debated. Protectors of Thanksgiving insist Turkey day gets not only Thursday but all of the following weekend, while Christmas Maniacs just say screw it and hang stockings the day after Halloween. But both groups are wrong.

Thanksgiving ends when the meal is over. That is the purpose of the holiday and with that purpose having been met, it is officially acceptable to incorporate Christmas into your Thanksgiving Eve. Here are some post-dinner Thanksgiving traditions, with a few preliminary Christmas ideas included as well.

Take a Walk

Already feeling guilty about how much you ate? A walk can help regulate blood sugar and aid in digestion, which means more room for pie.

Play a Game

In addition to the classic board games, a round or two of charades or Pictionary would be interesting with 10 people full of Pumpkin Pie shots.

Draw Names for Secret Santa

Please don’t get weird Uncle Albert this year. Please anyone but him…DAMMIT!

Browse the Black Friday Ads

The only thing more intolerable than Black Friday is passing up all them sweet deals.

Make Your Christmas List

With your list in tow, you are officially ready for Christmas. Sign up below to have The Big Ass List of Family Traditions, Christmas Edition and other weekly content delivered directly to your inbox.


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