8 Thanksgiving traditions worth considering this year

Kick off the holiday season with festive ways to gather and give back with family and friends.

Like grandpa trying to sneak a slice of turkey just before dinner, Thanksgiving is right around the corner. A time filled with giving back, gratitude, and of course, enough food to make you wish parachute pants were still in style. It’s also a time that kicks off a season of festive traditions among family and friends. So, in the spirit of holiday hobnobbing, we’ve collected some of our favorite traditions from associates around Capital One. Whether you have your own long-standing traditions or you’re looking to start a new one, here are eight Thanksgiving traditions worth considering this year.

1. Capture memories around the table

“My favorite Thanksgiving tradition is my mom’s Thanksgiving tablecloth project. Each year, she asks everyone around the table to sign their name right on the tablecloth. Then, she embroiders each person’s signature along with the year, all using the same color thread. Now, we have a visual record of all the different people who have joined us for Thanksgiving dinner. She’s been doing this for about 10 years now and it’s an awesome reminder that it’s the people who are by our side year after year that we should really be thankful for.” — Beth B., Principal Art Director

2. Bring generations together

“I’d say for about 15 years now, our family has made it a tradition to sit down and watch Christmas Vacation after dinner. About 20 of us find a spot in my sister’s family room and we put it on. As a comedy, it’s a perfect way to exercise the core after eating more than we should. But more than that, it’s just a great opportunity for all of us to get together, relax, and share some laughs. I’ve been a huge fan of the movie ever since it first came out, so it’s awesome to see my older and younger relatives laughing at it now. It’s a collection of hilarious events with a bunch of zany family members!” — Jared M., Digital Consumer Identity

3. Focus on the value of family

“The day after Thanksgiving is always dedicated to family. We mark that Friday as a day to begin putting up our Christmas decorations, instead of shopping in town. We make a whole weekend out of it, and it’s so much fun. We officially turn on the Christmas music, put up the trees and start decorating—my girls love it because they start their Elf on the Shelf® tradition then too. That quality time is far more valuable than fighting with traffic to save a few bucks. Plus, online shopping is the way to go!” — Shavonne G., Human Resources

4. Carve out time for the neighbors

“On the morning of Thanksgiving, our entire neighborhood gets together for an annual turkey fry. All the families in the neighborhood get to hang out before all the craziness of the day begins, since most people are back in town for the holiday. One neighbor sends out a schedule and gets the fry oil ready to go. The rest of us show up with breakfast treats, complete with mimosas and Bloody Marys, of course. It’s just a chance to enjoy company and get our turkeys fried at the same time." — Caryn C., Legal Loss Mitigation

5. Reminisce about the past

“One of my absolute favorite traditions is reflecting with my family about when we were all younger. Remembering back to when we were just kids, and thinking about all the things that have happened in our lives. Every year is a reminder of just how special our time here is. Because as we share those stories, we remember some of the people who are no longer with us, and the impact they had on us.” — Nita R., Cashier

6. Introduce some friendly competition

“Every year we put on our Annual Thanksgiving Flag Football game. It’s a big deal, with about 30 family members. We plan way in advance so everyone has time to talk strategy and purchase uniforms. The morning of, we meet at the field and play ball. Everyone gets really into it. Some even forget its flag football, not tackle! There’s no trophy, just bragging rights. And after the game we all get ready for our family Thanksgiving ‘linner’ [lunch/dinner]. It’s a whole morning of family and football, and it makes for some great conversations later that evening!” — Kathryn W., System Integrator

7. Give back to the community

“Before Capital One, I worked for a Department of Education contractor that provided assistance to inner-city students in the D.C. area. And, after hearing stories from some of these students who didn’t have the kind of dinners most of us take for granted, my boss and I began donating turkeys to the D.C. schools that we had a close relationship with. She and I donate as many as we can afford. This Thanksgiving will mark the third year we’ve done this. It’s a humbling experience. It feels good to do something for these young kids, and it reminds me to give thanks for the things I have.” — Kayla S., Platform Engineer

8. Whip up something special

“When I moved in with my partner and his family we wanted to make our own tradition. So, every Thanksgiving after dinner, we wind down by enjoying a slice of pie and making these really decadent hot chocolates. We go all out on these things. Whipped cream, chocolate shavings, caramel syrup, you name it. It’s something we started about 15 years ago, and it’s still just as meaningful now. It was our way of creating a family tradition that I could help start and be a part of.” — Simon G., Brand

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