Thanksgiving is laced with traditions, and the TODAY team has loads of them! From favorite recipes to favorite games, read on to learn some of the favorite Thanksgiving rituals behind the TODAY family.
Before we say grace, my mom has everyone around the table say what they are thankful for. As a newlywed and a new mom, I have a lot on my list this year!
Kathie Lee Gifford
It’s the only day in the entire year that I cook! And I really go all out. I make my mom’s sage and sausage stuffing, which is the best stuffing bar none in the whole world. We usually do two turkeys so we have extra drum sticks, and my ex-husband’s mother’s fantastic sweet potato soufflé. If you can keep a good recipe out of a bad marriage, that’s a good thing.
Our Thanksgiving is one of my favorite times of the year because everybody gets together. My brother and his wife, kids, my mom, cute dog and cute boyfriend. There is stuff all over — toys, clothes and dogs. It’s a mess, and it’s great.
We first stop at Whole Foods to pick up the turkey and trimmings, then we all like to go out to the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Every year, the kids are amazed at how big Garfield is. I love that!
Then the cooking gets going — and by that, I mean other people are doing that. We put football games on always and eat until we’re full. We take a break, and then we eat some more.
I’m lucky that my extended family always has made it a point to be together for Thanksgiving and Christmas. All the aunts, uncles, grandmas, grandpas, cousins, loose acquaintances and lonesome drifters you can find gathering under one roof to celebrate loudly. When I was growing up, these holidays were formative for me as I tried to hang with my uncles while they competed to tell funnier stories or to make bigger spectacles of themselves (the recent time Uncle Herb accepted a monetary bet to chug the gravy boat comes to mind). I’ve always loved being in the same room with all of these wonderful maniacs, and holidays give me that chance. The Thanksgiving food is great, but it’s the chaotic mass of family humanity that is my favorite tradition.
Thanksgiving has always been my favorite holiday. No gifts, no stress, no decorations, just family, food and a great time. Growing up, my mom always made the perfect traditional feast, but the best part was afterwards when we all played an extremely competitive family game of Pictionary that always made us laugh until we cried.
As time goes on, traditions change. Our new tradition is Thanksgiving in New York with my in-laws, complete with the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade (and the blowing up of the balloons the night before) and a restaurant meal for a nice, large group of family.
Jenna Bush Hager
One tradition my family embraces is each year, we start our meal by going around the table and each of us tells why we feel thankful. There are always sweet — and hilarious — responses. This year, Mila will have her first Texas Thanksgiving at our ranch, and so my answer for what makes me thankful will be sitting in a high chair next to me.