Sweet Southern Thanksgiving Traditions

Sweet Southern Thanksgiving Traditions

by Amy Boyett November 26, 2019

‘Tis the season to break out the beloved family recipes, our mothers’ china, and all of the extra chairs from around the house. Southern Thanksgivings are full of family, football, and gratitude. Of course, nothing brings people together like a traditional Thanksgiving meal.

There are a few lasting traditions that make this Southern-style celebration so memorable. Let us know if these sound similar to your Thanksgiving gathering!

Thanks, Grace & the Blessing
There are many different names for this sweet pre-meal moment. Chances are there's a designated family member who speaks on your behalf for the many ways you and yours have been blessed throughout the year. This yearly tradition feels like a warm blanket bringing everyone a bit closer before beginning the meal. Some hold hands around the table, some bow their heads—either way, you’re ending it with a strong “Amen.”

“Be Careful with That”
Mother’s China, napkin rings from a special trip to Aspen, and water goblets that cost much more in memories than money… All of these pieces come together to set the table in the most welcoming way. Silver serving dishes are accompanied by new pieces and perfectly paired with the recipes that have been passed down year after year.


Turkey & Dressing
Don’t get me wrong, I love turkey, but I could make do with a chicken if I had to. Or a ham, provided there was some homemade spicy mustard or a brown sugar-maple glaze involved. It's Grandma’s dressing recipe that we are all fighting over in the end. As soon as the blessing is said, it’s all eyes on the dressing.

Pass the Casserole(s)
Every Southern cook understands this is probably not the best time for experimental recipes. Bring on the favorites: creamed spinach, broccoli casserole, green bean casserole, brussel sprouts, sweet potatoes, roasted carrots, deviled eggs, and soft dinner rolls to wipe the plate clean with at the end. The kids will have more-than-generous helpins of their favorite mac-n-cheese and mashed potatoes. And somehow, everyone always has some room leftover for the finest desserts: pecan pie, anything with pumpkin, banana puddin, and chocolate pie.

“Gimme Some Sugar”
You know it's coming—that extended-family kiss on the cheek followed with the “how much you've grown” conversation. It’s incredibly satisfying, even if you’re 45.

The Game
It wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without a little "all in good fun" smack talk about rivalry teams and bowl games. Usually an hour or two after the big meal, we all start circling the foil-covered leftovers and make a small plate before kick-off.

"While We're All Together"
Whether it’s planning for Christmas, a family photo, or an announcement, you can be certain this phrase will be said before the celebration concludes.

The night will end with you kicked-back in your favorite chair, as tired and as full of gratitude (and food) as you can be.

Amy Boyett
Amy Boyett


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