Thanksgiving Eve Recap: How it Really Went!

On the day before Thanksgiving, my husband's family celebrates Thanksgiving Eve - a time when they go back to the earlier years and experience life without so many conveniences.  We joined in the tradition for the first time this year and had a lot of fun learning to be thankful for more things that we usually take for granted.  Here's our list of thankfuls...

  • Store bought OJ - we had to squeeze our own orange juice.  Everyone savored their little portion!
  • OJ that is sweetened...yet we all made crazy faces when we tasted the unsweetened tartness of the fresh OJ

Squeezing fresh orange juice

  • running water - we had to haul it from the "well" (otherwise known as the hose in the back yard)
  • warm water - the "well water" was freezing!!  If we wanted our water warm for washing dishes, it had to be heated on the stove!
  • dish washers - every dish and utensil used had to be hand washed...and dried...and put away.  Lots of work!

washing dishes

  • Grocery stores - we had to dig up veggies out of the garden (so nicely placed the day before)
  • The boys had to "hunt" a "wild" turkey (so nicely cleaned and placed in a tree ready for target practice)

Digging up veggies


Turkey Hunting

  • Fast food - we realized that meals could take all day to cook.  Right after we finished cleaning up breakfast, we worked on lunch, then cleaned up, then started dinner!!  Quite a process!
  • Equal opportunities for girls and boys - the girls wanted to go hunt the turkey, but they had to stay in the kitchen and get the rest of the meal together...and then do laundry!

peeling potatoes


Veggies for Lunch

My nephew Matt (8) found my camera and fell in love. This picture was one of his firsts - and an amazing shot!




hanging laundry out to dry


  • lighters to start fires - the boys had to start the fire to cook the took a while even with matches!  We were all thankful to have the heat from the fire.

starting a fire


grilling turkey over an open fire

So I've heard in previous years that the turkey the boys cook over the fire is mostly charred and not very tasty. This year, with the handy grill feature on the fire ring, the turkey turned out amazing. Nobody was complaining!!

I truly think my kids thoroughly enjoyed this adventure.  I don't think they will loathe it when they remember this day.  In addition to learning thankfulness for the basics we so easily take for granted, I think we all learned some valuable lessons:

  • Many hands make light work - this was the largest group of people celebrating Thanksgiving Eve in a long time, and things go faster with a good team!


  • It's all in the attitude - butter making is a big part of Thanksgiving Eve.  The kids are given mason jars with heavy whipping cream and they have to shake it until it makes butter.  It's a tough job.  They took their task to the trampoline and had great fun producing the largest amount of butter in Thanksgiving Eve history.

hand shaken butter


  • Waste not, want not - Grandma was great at reminding the kids that everything had more than one purpose.  After lunch, whatever we didn't eat was made into soup for dinner.  After washing the dishes, the water was used to water the garden.  In a world full of disposable things, this lesson was priceless.

Watering the garden

I'm so thankful that I was able to experience Thanksgiving Eve, although I think I hit it on a mild year.  The weather was beautiful and there were so many helpers that to me it felt more like a glorious camping trip than an experience of true roughing it.  I am thankful for in-laws that provide such fun educational experiences for my kids.  Most of all I am thankful for my sweet family that participated with cheerful and willing hearts.  I am so blessed by them every day!


  1. Jessica B. on December 3, 2015 at 10:12 pm

    Hey – what a small world! I somehow ran across your blog and recognize you from a CC practicum a year or two back. I love this idea of Thanksgiving Eve! I might have to start a scaled-down version of this tradition for my family. Thanks for sharing!

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