My Favorite Southern Thanksgiving Traditions

My Favorite Southern Thanksgiving Traditions

by Jeanne DeFauw

I grew up in South Carolina, and usually traveled to Georgia for holidays to visit my Dad's side of the family for Thanksgiving. We'd drive for several hours, hungry, ready for my Aunts' delicious dinner. 

Oh, the food! Southern cooks know how to fix an amazing Thanksgiving dinner. Living in Colorado makes me appreciate those fine meals so many years later. 

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Here are some of my favorite parts of a Southern Thanksgiving:

After hugging my man Aunts, Uncles and 20+ cousins, I would devour a small plate of deviled eggs and grape jelly meatballs after we arrived. I'd usually skip the many cheese balls.

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While the Uncles watched football and the cousins played outside, the Aunts would cook. After what seemed like forever, they'd call us in for dinner. I'd fill my plate with a perfectly roasted turkey, gravy, add some sweet potato casserole with toasted marshmallows, cranberry sauce, green beans cooked to death with bacon, soft yeast rolls, and buttery mashed potatoes with more gravy. 

Dessert was fresh pecan pie, pumpkin and sweet potato pies with cool whip, pumpkin bread, upside down pineapple cake and Southern Chess Pie. Maybe I'd get lucky and find some magic bars.  

We'd let out a collective groan and gather ourselves for a walk in the crips air or naps on the couch. There was nothing remotely healthy out it. Simply pure indulgence. 

Sound amazing? Yes, it was. 

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However, these are a few things to remember if you're spending holidays in the South. 

Remember your manners! “Yes, Ma’am” and “Thank You, Sir” are not unusual to hear around the dinner table. Many places in the US aren't as formal, but if you opt to spend your holidays somewhere like Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Texas or even the Carolinas, you might be impressed by how well-mannered the people are.

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Dinner time happens early. Because many people like to enjoy dinner before the football games start, you can find families and friends sitting around the table as early as 3PM. One wouldn’t want to miss the Cowboys!

The weather is typically mild, especially when compared to our Northern friends. A light jacket, t-shirt and jeans is all that's needed. Some years, we would wear shorts! Leave your parka at home.

What are your favorite Thanksgiving memories? Please share in the comments.

I wish you a Happy Thanksgiving wherever you're spending it!