Celebrate Thanksgiving Family Traditions

Meet Christy Rost

ThanksgivingEvery family has unique Thanksgiving traditions from the dinner menu to the activities during the day.

Christy Rost, host of the holiday special “A Home for Christy Rost: Thanksgiving” shares her personal family memories surrounding the holidays in this guest post. Christy’s holiday special airs on many PBS stations as well as CreateTV.

Share your own family’s Thanksgiving traditions in the comments!

By Christy Rost

Thanksgiving has always been precious in our home because it centers on family and friends gathered around the table – some traveling home from thousands of miles away, and others just a short walk down the street. It’s a time to reunite, catch up with loved ones, and be grateful for one of the most precious blessings of the year – those we cherish.

Christy has a delicious recipe for Pumpkin Swirl Cheesecake

Memories of childhood Thanksgivings spent with grandparents in Pittsburgh or in our family home often in faraway cities, is one reason I get tingly all over in anticipation. Each Thanksgiving morning, my mother would prepare the turkey and stuffing, standing at the kitchen counter in her robe and slippers, while my sisters and I watched the parades on television. The aromas of herbs and freshly chopped onion and celery are so integral to my memory of long ago holidays, I’m transported back even now when I catch a whiff of those fragrances. When my sisters and I were grown, I was amazed to discover each of us spends Thanksgiving morning in our robe and slippers, watching the parades on TV as we prepare the turkey for our own families – just as our mother still does.

Decorating the Home for the Holidays

Decorating our home for Thanksgiving is a tradition I started years ago – one which I love. From the seasonal decor that greets family and friends on the front porch to the way I embellish the dining table, mantle, and rooms are seemingly small efforts that combine to create an unmistakable feeling of warmth and hospitality. I adorn the tops of china cabinets and other surfaces with garlands of silk autumn leaves intertwined with tiny white lights, accented with gorgeous pumpkins and squash for a gracious seasonal display of abundance and serenity. Before guests take their first bite of turkey and cranberries, these decorative accents convey this will be a very special gathering they’ll remember fondly for years.

Preparing for Thanksgiving Dinner

In our home, it wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without a table groaning with family-favorite dishes such as Southern Cornbread Dressing, Sweet Potato Casserole, and Autumn Roasted Vegetables, followed by my traditional dessert buffet. Tradition is an important part of any holiday, but especially so during Thanksgiving. Serving a favorite aunt’s holiday salad or grandmother’s stuffing recipe creates food memories when we are young, memories that often remain throughout our lives. Creating these recipes each year connects us with family members who came before us, and provides a source of continuity, cultural heritage, rich conversation, and sharing of memories around the table. All the same, I firmly believe there’s room for new favorites each year, some of which will ultimately become family traditions.

Get the recipe for Christy's southern cornbread

When the turkey is juicy and golden brown, ready to be carved, and all the side dishes await serving, we gather at the table in the glow of candlelight and ask a blessing, thankful for the chance to be together and the many gifts we’ve been given throughout the year. The mood is festive, eyes twinkle in anticipation of the feast before us, and in my heart I say a silent “thank you.”

Now, who wants a drumstick?

Happy Thanksgiving!

Learn more about Christy Rost

Christy Rost is lifestyle expert, cooking host, cookbook author and home design pro. She is also the host of the PBS special, “A Home For Christy Rost: Thanksgiving.”

What are your family traditions involving Thanksgiving? Tell us in the comments!

Thanksgiving 2011

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving, and be sure to check out other Thanksgiving content from PBS on the “Ultimate Thanksgiving Guide.”