Skyler Pyle: My moment is from 2013. A Pyle family tradition is for my father, sister and I to play a game of Risk. My father always wins. That year, after talking it up, he was the first one out—within the first 20 minutes of the game. My husband and I bring it up all the time because my dad was so mad about it. It was the last Thanksgiving I ever had with my dad, and it will forever be one of my fondest memories.
Kelsy Thompson: My favorite Thanksgiving moment is from 2009. We had an amazing dinner and afterward decided to watch “A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving.” There honestly wasn’t anything super exciting about that Thanksgiving, but it just felt wonderful to relax with my family and a cute movie after all the food. And after the movie, I had seconds.
Karissa Wang: My favorite Thanksgiving memory is from 2012. We’ve always celebrated the holiday, but in a pretty low-key way, with just close family. There wasn’t anything drastically different about that year, but my sister had just moved out a few months earlier, and we all missed her. It was so great to have her at home again and to spend the holiday as a family.
Abby Payne: Every year without fail, mom’s side of the family sets the candied yams on fire. Everything will be perfect up until the very end. The turkey is moist, the stuffing is plentiful, the pies turn out golden brown and the uncles aren’t screaming too loudly about the football game. Candied yams are always the last thing to cook. Yams are boiled and cooked the day before so when it comes down to it, all that needs to happen is covering them in brown sugar, butter and marshmallows, but in that split second when the marshmallows are expanding, the heat gets too hot and there are literally flames dancing on top of the yams. Maybe instead of trying to not set them on fire, we’ll just call them flambeed yams instead of candied yams.
Kellie Plumhof: My favorite Thanksgiving memory is one that my mom has never quite lived down. One year we opted out of the traditional pumpkin pie and instead got a strawberry cheesecake for dessert. My mom offered to cut everyone a slice of cheesecake after my sister said it was too difficult to cut a decent slice. Mom ended up massacring each slice of cheesecake until everybody’s dessert plate was just a mushy pile of cheesecake and strawberries. It was hilarious and everyone shared a good laugh. The cheesecake still tasted delicious.
Ariana Berkemeier: Every year during Thanksgiving, my family has a tradition of whoever sneezes first gets $100. One year, my uncle pulled me over with a pepper shaker and made me sniff some. Sure enough, during Thanksgiving dinner while everyone was enjoying their meal, I began sneezing relentlessly. Needless to say, not only did I go home with a belly full of food, but a ton of cash in my wallet.
Kate Konchar: Growing up, every year my family and friends would go to our local skating rink on Thanksgiving Eve. They rented out the rink — it was a big crowd — and the owners played different songs over the radio to skate to. We skated in the dark, we skated while dancing and we skated while playing limbo. I would fall down and go home with a hurt bum, but I eventually became a decent skater over the years. The rink is torn down now, but I love thinking back to when it was in its prime, and how special it was to my childhood.
Madison Swensen: I have so many favorite Thanksgiving memories it’s hard to narrow it down to just one. Last year we flew back to Minnesota for Thanksgiving because we have some family there. On Thanksgiving morning, we went to a 5K at the Mall of America and, even though it was 6 a.m., I was wide awake because the mall was so huge and amazing. After we did the 5K we went back to my aunt’s house and everyone went about helping make dinner. It was probably my favorite Thanksgiving because we got to go to a place we had never been before and spend time with family we don’t get to see very often. That was definitely a Thanksgiving I will never forget.
Liz Ruttenbur: My nephew was 3 years old and had developed a taste for “poonkin” pie. He stood mesmerized as I made a pumpkin pie the night before Thanksgiving. When he woke up Thanksgiving morning (earlier than anyone else), he immediately grabbed the cooled pie from the oven, and sat it down on the kitchen floor with a fork and a butter knife. He was about to dig in when we caught him. The pie was a little worse for wear, but his ingenuity at such a young age was admirable. This year I’m making him his own pumpkin pie.
Charles Bowker: Thanksgiving has many different memories for me. When I was younger, my father and I were in charge of making the turkey. We went out to our family’s grill, and set about getting it ready. We lit it once and let it heat up, but when we returned the grill was out cold, so we lit it again, when “Bang!” The excess gas lit, and we spent our holiday season regrowing our eyebrows. This is a fond memory, but the fondest was Thanksgiving 2012. I was away from my family on a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, serving in Harlem. This sweet lady, mama Daisy, as she was known, invited 10 of the missionaries in the area to eat with her and her family. It was one of those rare moments when I didn’t feel as far from home, and I was really grateful for every blessing life had given me.
Alexis Rague: One of my favorite Thanksgivings was the last Thanksgiving before my brother got married. Don’t get me wrong, I’m super happy that he’s got such an amazing wife and is moving on to create his own family, but I really enjoyed the last Thanksgiving we had as an original family. We had twice as much food, double everything, and it was just us as a family. Later we watched “The Wizard of Oz” because that’s our Thanksgiving tradition. I’ll miss those days, but I know we will have more Thanksgiving traditions growing with my brother’s new family.
Lichelle Jenkins: The last Thanksgiving I was able to spend with my brother is one of the memories I am holding onto this year. We had almost everyone together that year. Lots of good memories.