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Traditions to be thankful for

For most families, Thanksgiving means good food, good company and a turkey, but every family has its own unique traditions.

Below are some of the favorite traditions and memories for the Oracle writers and their families:

1. French silk pie

I have never been a fan of some traditional Thanksgiving foods. The casseroles, stuffing or cranberries just don’t cut it, so I mostly skip over dishes on the table.

However, when I was about 9 or 10 years old, my mom made French silk pie and it quickly became my favorite part of the meal. Every Thanksgiving dinner since then, my mom has made that pie just for me. It’s not a very big tradition, but it’s my favorite.

– Tyler Shepard

2. Macaroni and cheese

Every Thanksgiving in my house was just like the one before: turkey, stuffing and the usual holiday feast.

But then things changed when my aunt decided to make baked macaroni and cheese.

This was the first time I ate baked macaroni, and I was hooked on her delicious recipe. Now, every Thanksgiving, it’s my personal duty to make sure she makes the dish. I know for some people it’s the turkey or cranberry that sets off the season, but for me it’s all about the macaroni.

– Melissa Howell

3. Railroad tracks

While I always look forward to the traditional food-filled activities on Thanksgiving, my sister and I have our own tradition. Every year, we visit my aunt’s house for the meal.

She lives near a railroad that my sister and I were fascinated with as children. We would play house around the tracks before dinner. It’s good to return and sit and talk near those tracks.

As we’ve gotten older and moved away from one another, we still have that spot that never changes. We can always go back to our childhood, no matter where life takes us. That nostalgia is what I look forward to every Thanksgiving.

– Ashley Coogle

4. Burnt rolls

Every year, my family sits down and talks and laughs our way through dinner. Things always go great until someone asks the question on everyone’s mind: “Where are the rolls?”

My mom runs to the stove to save the rolls, but she’s always a moment too late. Among our delicious food, the burnt rolls have become a staple and a tradition at our Thanksgiving meals. Dinner just wouldn’t be the same if we didn’t have to pull the burnt bottoms off our rolls.

– Rachel Kaylor

5. Football and floats

My favorite part of Thanksgiving is watching TV all day without feeling guilty.

Eating your body weight in food can make you feel sluggish. When I become catatonic from calorie overdose, I stake out a spot on the couch for a daylong bond with the TV.

Football isn’t usually part of my viewing, but for some reason I’m engrossed by it every Thanksgiving. Much like during the Super Bowl, the commercial breaks are usually as entertaining as the game.

I always watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on NBC. My senior year of high school, I was part of the parade after getting an invite during a summer dance camp with my high school team. Despite the odorous and trash-lined streets of New York – and the frigid temperature – it was an amazing experience.

Now, big balloons shaped like Snoopy and Shrek, Broadway musical numbers, marching bands and pop stars lip-syncing atop festive floats are things I look forward to each year.

– Shana Johnson

6. Pigging out and falling asleep

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday because it’s the day my eating habits suddenly become socially acceptable. I eat a ton of carbohydrates – then eat more carbohydrates – and top it off with dessert.

The best part of Thanksgiving at my house is immediately after dinner. No one jumps up to wash the dishes or clean the table. Instead, we all move to the couch, doze off and sleep away the afternoon. Waking up to the people I love always reminds me how genuinely lucky we are to be together.

And then, of course, we eat more pie.

– Maria Douaihy

7. Leftovers

I love the change of the leaves, the smell of scented candles and the cool air brushing my face Thanksgiving morning.

It’s a great time to reflect on all the things we have, while we eat, watch TV and spend time with our families – all the while ready to explode from turkey and stuffing.

My new tradition is to take leftovers from home to my apartment because there is nothing better than a home-cooked meal in the days after Thanksgiving.

– Julie Rice

8. Turducken

With the creation of several unique recipes, Thanksgiving no longer consists of the traditional feast of roasted turkey and stuffing.

My family feasts on a popular southern Thanksgiving dish called the “Turducken.” The Turducken consists of a boned chicken stuffed inside a boned duck, which is then stuffed inside a boned turkey. Dressing is layered between each level of meat.

The Turducken was created in New Orleans by the well-known Chef Paul Prudhomme, but it was renowned NFL analyst John Madden who made this meal famous through the Thanksgiving Bowl.

With one slice of this Thanksgiving feast, you get a taste of three savory meats in one. Turduckens can be ordered from your local Cajun or Creole restaurant, and the brave can make one from scratch. Try one this Thanksgiving – you won’t regret it.

– Jasmine Fowlkes

9. Experimenting and volunteering

Growing up in the military, it always felt like I was spending each Thanksgiving in a new house. This made the two traditions my family has developed very important to me.

One of our traditions involves trying a new recipe every year. I have had more variations of stuffing than I can count – anywhere from sausage to seafood. We’ve also tried things like fried halibut nuggets and frying our turkey, which resulted in fourth-degree burns for my dad.

But we also make sure to give back every Thanksgiving. Wherever we are in the country, we find a nursing home or care center where we volunteer our time as a family and help serve a Thanksgiving meal to the elderly.

– Emily Handy