You’re probably wondering what it would really be like to go historical for Thanksgiving. Will it fit in with your bunch? Will you have time to join in the fun? How does the day flow?
You can structure the day according to your tastes, but for demonstration purposes I will share here how our family time travels for the holiday.
For starters, I like to call for potluck on Thanksgiving anymore. It is authentic to 1621, and it allows me, as the hostess, to play more during the day. It also insures that traditional food favorites are included in the spread, along with my historical experiments.
If weather permits I have an outdoor fire in the early morning. (I don’t wear my costume for the morning fire because it’s too dangerous.) I like to burn colorful maize in the fire in remembrance of the many American Indian thanks-givings that were offered long before the “first” (English) thanks-giving happened in Plymouth. If I have anyone at home during those early hours I tell stories from early Plymouth history, sort of in the Native fashion of storytelling. Then we cook thin steaks on sticks for brunch to remind us of the five deer offered as gifts during the three day feast of 1621.
Next I get my cooking going indoors, help put on any costumes, and set up for indoor games (outdoor, too, if it is warm enough). This year as my guests arrive I will be giving all the gentlemen handmade clay pipes as a gift. I know they’ll love it. I can see them now huddled outside laughing, and puffing up a storm, just like pipe-use was described in period source documents.
Remembering how it went last year, we had so much fun trying to speak in period English slang (like the lower classes) during our card games that it made the first-time period card games less intense to learn (they’re a little tricky at first). I blessed my family with a $20 pot of quarters to divvy up and play for. One lucky winner took all, but we had to play several games because I was supposedly cheating (I kept winning, dang it!)
Then there was football for a little while…
Then we washed up English-style in a basin of rose water, and came to a table set with a leg iron centerpiece, wood and pewter dishes, salt dips, wooden spoons and no forks, and one surprise Wampanoag setting with a stone knife. The food was all modern traditional, but this year I have mature groundnuts which we have all been eager to try (I can’t wait!)
I could get bogged down with details here, but I do want to mention the English Ale. At age 43 I had never even tasted beer until Thanksgiving 2007 when I decided it was too historically accurate to omit. Yep, I served beer. Albeit, half mug-fulls. My family could not believe it when I actually drank my ale, too. In fact, it stopped the room! Oh, did we laugh!
(Yucky stuff, by the way, but worth the torture just once a year )
Note: Ginger Ale is an alternative for kids, even though English children in 1621 drank beer as a staple right along with the adults.
I can’t seem to remember what we did after dinner last year, but this year I want to play the new pirate game found in The American Patriot’s Treasury of Historical Thanksgiving Dinner Ideas, Second Edition. It sounds like great fun.
So that’s a nutshell version of Thanksgiving Day at our house. Keep in mind we also do costumed Thanksgiving picnics as a family during the fall. This allows us to enjoy some of our favorite outdoor activities – such as stool-ball and Wampanoag clay pot cooking – when the weather is warm, and the ground is dry. Doing it this way we don’t feel like we miss out on anything historically fun!
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Tags: family thanksgiving ideas, ideas thanksgiving, time travel day, thanksgiving best, history for thanksgiving, national thanksgiving holiday, activities for kids thanksgiving, thanksgiving real, alternative thanksgiving ideas, new thanksgiving ideas, thanksgiving different, ideas for thanksgiving
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Tags: activities for kids thanksgiving, alternative thanksgiving ideas, family thanksgiving ideas, history for thanksgiving, ideas for thanksgiving, Ideas Thanksgiving, national thanksgiving holiday, new thanksgiving ideas, thanksgiving best, thanksgiving different, thanksgiving real, time travel day
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