What are Your Favorite Thanksgiving Traditions?

What are your favorite Thanksgiving traditions?  Do you have special recipes, table settings, or games you play?  Let’s share ideas with one another.

This year we are celebrating Thanksgiving with dear friends and have been assigned the task of bringing the desserts, which sounds fun to me.  I’ve asked my kids for suggestions and we plan to make a variety of delicious treats.  I’m sure there will be plenty of whipped cream involved.

A more recent tradition is this delicious recipe.

Pumpkin White Chocolate Cheesecake with Gingersnap Crust

3 c. gingersnaps, whole
6 T butter
1.5 T brown sugar

3 – 8 oz. cream cheese (at room temperature)
3/4 c. pumpkin
3/4 c. melted white chocolate (additional for decoration is desired)
1 c. sugar
3 eggs
1 t. vanilla
1/4 t. nutmeg
1 t. cinnamon

1/2 c. almonds
1 t. sugar
2 T. butter

Preheat oven to 350. Wrap outside of Springform pan with foil. In food processor or blender, grind gingersnaps, add sugar and melted butter. Press into pan. Bake 5 – 7 minutes.

Mix cream cheese and sugar in food processor or with a mixer until smooth. Add remaining ingredients. Blend.

Pour mixture onto crust and bake for 50-60 minutes. While cooling, grind almonds, butter and sugar in food processor or blender. Spread evenly on cookie sheet and bake 6 – 7 min. (Note: Sometimes I skip this step and just drizzle white chocolate over the cheesecake.)

Spread evenly on top of cheesecake. Drizzle melted white chocolate over top if desired.

Cool 4 – 5 hours or overnight. Remove from pan and serve.

If you’ve never made a cheesecake, you will be amazed at how simple and delicious this is. Let me know if you try it.

Question: What is one of your favorite Thanksgiving traditions? Share it with us!


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Let me introduce myself. Russ and I are the parents of twelve children by birth and adoption, and sometimes more through foster care. I'm the creator of One Thankful Mom which has been as much of a gift to me as to my readers. In 2011 I became a TBRI® Pracitioner* and have lived and breathed connected parenting ever since. I'm deeply honored to be the co-author, together with the late Dr. Karyn Purvis, of The Connected Parent; it is her final written work. I love speaking at events for adoptive and foster parents. I'm also the co-founder of The Adoption Connection, a podcast and resource site for adoptive moms. I mentor and encourage adoptive moms so you can find courage and hope in your journeys of loving your children well.


  1. Christine
    November 16, 2012

    It is a tradition for us to not eat the same thing each year. We have a traditional Thanksgiving at our church with the church family the sunday before Thanksgiving(That is a tradition too!). So we assign the kids an area of the meal and they pick what they want. We only do this when we are having Thanksgiving at home so some years it does not happen. If I am putting on the meal though, then It is Kid picked. It is alot of fun, and the kids enjoy the meal a lot more. Plus the day is filled with games (Apples to Apples is one of our favorites because every age can play- we have both regular and disney). Happy Thanksgiving!

  2. Emily
    November 16, 2012

    Oooh. Maybe I should come have Thanksgiving with you guys. 😉

  3. sleepyknitter
    November 16, 2012

    We started a new tradition this year, a "Thanksgiving Tree" on which we tape our daily thanks written on leaves. I was going to use a real tree branch but finally made a construction paper tree and taped it to the dining room wall. At any supper in which we have no meltdowns going on (five nights so far for the month of November!), I ask the kids what they are thankful for in a specific category, maybe a person they know, a possession they have, etc., and I write it down on a construction paper leaf, along with the child's name, and we tape it to the wall. On Thanksgiving Day, assuming there are no meltdowns and people are relatively calm, we will read all our thanks and then offer a prayer of thanksgiving to God for being so good to us. As the children grow, I hope to expand their thankfulness to God's character traits and to His work in the world, but for now I'm just grateful that my kids feel thankful for their blankets and toys. 🙂 Another Thanksgiving tradition we started this year is the packing of Operation Christmas Child shoe boxes, which we are doing to bless other children elsewhere but also to teach our children to be thankful for their own blessings.

    Your recipe sounds WONDERFUL! We are allergic to six of those ingredients around here, but otherwise I would be making that recipe TONIGHT. Mmmmmm! I've made cheesecake in the past (BC — before children), and you're right, it is easy, fun, and tasty.

  4. Debbie
    November 16, 2012

    Oooooooo! SO gonna make this! Thanks for sharing. 🙂 One of our favorite traditions is all the family (extended, too) holding hands in a big circle, each telling what they are thankful for that year. Each of my 5 children choose a pie to make and bring, too. Oh, and crescent puffs!

  5. Kate Sumpter
    November 16, 2012

    When we were small one of the adults wrote place cards and us kids got to decorate them with turkey stickers, pilgrim stickers, fall leaves, etc. Grandad printed out a bible verse for each person and we'd read then aloud. Oh, and Grandma also put a small candle by each place. Even if it was paper plates it was still fancy!

  6. Mary
    November 16, 2012

    Our Thanksgiving Tradition is just being together :). My husband coaches basketball, so often they are traveling around Thanksgiving. If he is away, we go with him. This year we are all riding the sleeper bus with the team and they are playing three games in Texas and Colorado. Gonna be an adventure!

  7. Katie May
    November 16, 2012

    I grew up watching the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade on TV with my family on Thanksgiving morning. We would stay in our pajamas and eat a casual breakfast. I loved being all together in a relaxed way that morning before the big production of our usually large Thanksgiving dinner with family and friends. This year, I am beginning the parade watching tradition with my boys by making cinnamon rolls, heading over to a friend's house in our pajamas that morning (both our husbands work that day), and watching the parade together…me, my boys, my friend, and my friend's little girls all relaxing together enjoying the morning.

  8. MRK
    November 19, 2012

    We make pilgrim hats (originally found the idea in Family Fun magazine, I think) using fudge stripe cookies, marshmallows, and chocolate. As the kids each eat theirs, they say things that they are thankful for….I love the idea of packing the Operation Christmas Child boxes on this day. I just finished getting all the stuff for ours today and was planning to let the kids assemble them tomorrow, but now I'm going to hold off until Thursday!

    1. Lisa Qualls
      November 19, 2012

      I love that idea too! Thanks for the comment.

  9. Sara
    November 20, 2012

    One of our favorite traditions on Thanksgiving morning is to watch the Macy's Day parade. We love to watch the whole show. We also make butter for our Thanksgiving dinner while we watch – another tradition. We pass around a chilled mason jar with 2 cups of heavy whipping cream, and we shake and shake and shake! It seems as if it will never turn to butter, but after shaking and shaking all of a sudden it turns into solid butter and buttermilk.

  10. Mom-2-6
    November 22, 2012

    Lisa, I just had to tell you that I made this for Thanksgiving dinner and it was a big hit! Think I might have found a new tradition. Thanks for sharing this!!!

    1. Lisa Qualls
      November 23, 2012

      I'm so glad you liked it! I made it too.


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