Forgotten Family Thanksgiving Traditions5 min read

by | Nov 22, 2017 | Blog

Thanksgiving is tomorrow, and if you’re like us you may be wondering one thing: since when does Christmas get to show up before we eat some turkey? Honestly, it’s like the Halloween decorations get taken down and immediately replaced by dancing Christmas trees and illuminated front-yard reindeer before we even get a chance to watch the Macy’s Day Parade. The team at Optimal Home Care is not prepared to give up our day of feasting so easily. We work every day with people who remember a simpler time when Thanksgiving was appreciated and holidays waited their turn to take over department stores, so this week we wanted to honor Thanksgiving the way it used to be. We’re uncovering some of the forgotten Thanksgiving day traditions; maybe you’ll love one and bring it back to your family this year! Prepare to show Thanksgiving the appreciation it deserves with our list of forgotten family Thanksgiving traditions.

Playing Football

That’s right. There once was a time when families actually played football together instead of just watching someone else do it on television while slipping in and out of a turkey induced coma. Families would often play football or go on walks together after their Thanksgiving meal to help digest and spend quality time together outside before the last of autumn swept away into winter.

thanksgiving day parade

Ragamuffin Day

Before Halloween became the sensation it is today, it had a precursor. Ragamuffin Day was a tradition that fell on Thanksgiving in which children would dress as in masks and costumes, walk up to their neighbor’s doors, and ask, “anything for Thanksgiving?” To modern people this just seems odd; actually, this tradition’s roots are fairly dark. The tradition stems from an earlier time in which beggars would go door to door on holidays and ask for food or fare. Those who celebrated Ragamuffin Day were recreating that interaction between those celebrating Thanksgiving and the poor they so often turned away. Over time the tradition was less about going door to door and more about hosting parades with costumes. Eventually the ragamuffins were replaced with large character balloons and we got the Macy’s Day Parade!

Barrel Burning

This sounds exactly as cool as the title suggests. Many families had wooden trash barrels, and communities would stack as many of them on top of one another as possible and light them on fire! The communities that participated in barrel burnings typically had a designated time and place for the event so that families could eat their Thanksgiving dinner, relax as a family, and end the night with the huge social gathering. Understandably, this practice ended shortly after home television sets became popular in the American household, probably because the TV was safer.

thanksgiving bonfire

Closing Down the Town

It’s hard to get hyped about Thanksgiving for many who work in retail because their family time gets cut short by the biggest shopping day of the year: Black Friday. However, it wasn’t long ago that stores weren’t opening up at midnight to increase their bottom lines. Family time was more important than 10% off a flat screen TV and, as far as we’re concerned, it still is.

Which of these Thanksgiving traditions are you most likely to bring back this year? Let us know in the comments, and to all the families of Denver, Colorado Springs, Boulder, and the rest of the state we serve, happy Thanksgiving from Optimal Home Care.