Some have sneaked a few unconventional rituals into our Thanksgiving celebrations.
Grooming a tradition
Michael Van Denend, director of alumni and public relations
The first time I went to my wife, Loni's, parents home for Thanksgiving was when we were dating. Of course, one is nervous when you walk into such a situation—the initial "meeting the girlfriend's family."
When I came into Loni's parents' home, I noticed a good share of the extended family huddled in front of the television. Naturally, I assumed this to be the annual Detroit Lions football game. There was animated reaction out of family members—laughs, groans, “Did you see that?” exclamations.
My surprise came when I eventually got to the living room to join in on the spectating. It was not the Lions game on television; rather, the annual National Dog Show from Philadelphia. What I learned was that the Vanden Berg family was chock-full of dog experts, commenting on ear cropping, behavior and style—a new world I was about to enter!
Two boxers later, the National Dog Show is a Thanksgiving Day staple.
Commencing the hunt
Three years ago, after my family had finished breakfast Thanksgiving morning, my Dad got a smirk on his face and told us that he had seen a giant flock turkeys fly over the house earlier that morning. “Hundreds of turkeys,” he said, "they were so loud. I can't believe you all slept through it." We couldn't tell if he was joking, but he seemed awfully serious. “Only one turkey landed in our yard,” he continued, “the rest of them headed over to the empty lot across the road. But our turkey left this,” he said, pulling out a turquoise Easter egg. “I think we should go check the lot to see if any of the other turkeys left something behind as well.” We all started laughing, none of us had wanted too before in case he was being serious about the turkeys. We were ready to ditch the table and go on our turkey egg hunt, but my Mom made us clean up the dishes. Thirty minutes later we were all heading out, and the Thanksgiving Turkey Egg Hunt was born.