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20 Ideas for Making Your Thanksgiving Extra Special This Year

The best parts about Thanksgiving are the traditions you build with your family over the years. We recently asked several friends of the farm what traditions and tips they use to make their Thanksgiving special every year.

The responses we received were heartwarming (and admittedly made us pretty hungry).

We've put together 20 of our favorites to share with you. Maybe you can add one or two of these to your own family's traditions!

Planning for your Thanksgiving meals?

Bring our farm fresh pecans, homemade pies, and mouthwatering pecan delicacies to your table this Thanksgiving. Order by Wednesday, November 16th, to make sure they are delivered in time!

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"My family always invites a family from another country over for Thanksgiving dinner to introduce them to the reason Americans celebrate the holiday — not just a lot of good food, but being thankful for living in our country."
- Denise
"Our family takes health and fitness seriously. After we eat our thanksgiving meal we all take a walk to the park close to my sister-in-law's house. During our walk, family members talk about what they are thankful for and what great things have happened in their lives.
- Melba
"We sing together and we have a 'blessing box' to pass around and draw a card. We read and answer the card describing that blessing and express gratitude for it."
"We always go around the table and tell what we are thankful for. Always brings tears! We also remember those that have passed on from our lives. Miss my Dad ..."
- Ellen
"We always invite neighbors to join with us and our family to celebrate and give Thanks on Thanksgiving Day. Good food (pecan pie) and pecans in my cornbread dressing always add to the celebration."
- Dean and Dalla
"To help our children remember the story, we re-enact it using the whole crowd of people that have gathered. My husband takes them from 'Holland' to 'England' to the 'New World,' running them all over the property. The kids love it and the action is good for everyone after eating Thanksgiving dinner!"
- Amy
"Making dishes that were passed down from my childhood. They are like receiving warm hugs from my deceased family. I am 75 so each one is special to me because they evoke special family memories."
"While thankful for my family and friends, I cant help but think of those that have lost someone or don't have anyone to be with. I make it a point to call or go and see those that I know of and share a meal with them."
- Josh
We always have a prayer with the adults and children. Some of the younger ones coming up say really good prayers from their heart, so nice to hear that. This year, I had some of your pecan pie – the BEST I have ever had. I will be buying one from now on as a new tradition, because it was so good. Not sure if I will share the secret. :)"
- Beverly
"When I grew up, we always invited people who had no one else, as well as friends who just didn't want to travel. We loved to pitch in and each make a special dish. Now that I am older, and so many family members are no longer here to help me celebrate, I still make goodies for others. I make pralines, fudge, cookies, pies, cakes, all to share with people who are either shut-ins or with elderly who have no families left. This makes my Thanksgiving special for many people. Thank you for the yummy pecans I get from you each year ... it sure doesn't take long for 10 pounds to disappear when so many need these goodies. :) OH ... I also love to add pecans to my stuffing and my candied yams!"
- Bronnie
"I love to take our family and make and deliver meals to the community that is less fortunate. Epicures has everyone come and make plates then deliver. After my family eats together and watches (naps) football."
- Cindy
"Every year we use felt pilgrims as name place cards to celebrate Thanksgiving and to remember my late father-in-law. My husband, who is the only son, was chosen to be the keeper of the pilgrims, and we have them safely stored. Every year, no matter where we are, we take our pilgrims to help us remember the many reasons we have to be thankful."
- Karen
"I like the old days Thanksgiving – the kids playing in the yard and all the cooking smells in the air. But the one thing that makes it perfect is sitting outside under a tree cracking and shelling pecans. Your pecans will continue the time honored memory going this Thanksgiving."
"We share my family's tradition of tamale making. Our friends come together, share food and laughter, and make tamales – enough so that each family can take home at least a dozen to share with THEIR families at Thanksgiving and Christmas. Another thing that I enjoyed doing, when we were growing up, was help my dad peel pecans with his 'Inertia Nutcracker.' He passed it on to me, so that I can enjoy this family memory with MY family! Can't wait to start crackin'!"
"Before dinner, we all fill out a leaf (real one picked up from outside) and use a sharpie to write what we are thankful for ... they are shared after the blessing, and then those are added around the table centerpiece."
- William and Tiffany
"I'll be making Thanksgiving extra special this year by making my famous pecan pie ... a family recipe made with Royalty Pecans! Then following my grandmother's tradition ... I will use the leftover pie dough to make 'pie crust cookies,' which are strips of rolled out pie dough, sprinkled with cinnamon sugar and baked like cookies. My children, now ages 32 and 36, always begged me to make more pie dough than was needed so they could have more pie crust cookies! A real treat and family tradition that I am delighted to carry on in my grandmother's memory. Happy Thanksgiving to all y'all!"
- Nancy
"Every year, we all curl up on the couch with hot chocolate and marshmallows to watch the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade while the turkey's cooking in the kitchen. Then at the Thanksgiving table, before eating, we go around the table and each person shares what Thanksgiving/family means to them. After the meal it's off to the park for a hot game of Bocce ball, which brings lots of laughter and cheering. Then it's back to the house for hot apple cider and the movie 'Charlie Brown's Thanksgiving.'
- Joni
"Making a 'thankful tree' is one of my favorite traditions. My children enjoy making leaves out of colored paper and passing them around to family members to write what they are thankful for on each leaf. Then we adorn our tree with the many colorful leaves and read them after dinner. It's a great time of gratitude and reflection and makes a pleasant decoration."
- Cassandra
"My favorite tradition is passing bread around in a circle given by a church member and saying what we are thankful for after blessing the bread."
- Sarah
"My favorite tradition for a wonderful Thanksgiving meal is always including my daughters in the planning, making, and serving the meal. I have twin daughters, one of which loves to bake and the other to eat it. I love the complete failures as much as the successful efforts because of the giggles and huge mess made with pure fun and love."
- Kathryn

Looking for good recipe ideas for your Thanksgiving meal?

Take a look at our favorite recipes that we've shared on the Royalty Pecan blog.

See our favorite recipes