14 Musicians Share Their Thanksgiving Traditions

Music Lists Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is a day rife with tradition. For many, it’s the only day of the year when we are able to reconnect with seldom-seen family members. For others, it’s just an excuse to eat turkey. Some families’ Thanksgiving traditions run deep, while others’ are just beginning to take shape. In recent years, the emergence of tofurkey (tofu imitating turkey), has revolutionized the way vegetarians celebrate. It’s a holiday that is always changing—new dishes and customs are continuously introduced—while still remaining the same (no, your 85-year-old grandfather isn’t giving up that carving knife anytime soon).

In honor of the diversity of Thanksgiving traditions across the country, we decided to get the low down on some of our favorite musicians’ Turkey Day traditions.


1. Kopecky Family Band
What is your Thanksgiving tradition?
Kelsey: Reflecting on thankfulness has always been on the forefront of my parents’ teaching. Counting our blessings is essential to pause and take inventory of the goodness of each day. On Thanksgiving Day, Dad usually gets a branch from the backyard and hangs it from the ceiling of the garage. (The “garage” is not the typical car shelter, it’s heated and cleaner than most people’s kitchens. My Minnesota dad takes pride in his garage!) We cut out leaves in every color and size and loop a string around each leaf. We put the leaves out on the table and invite our thanksgiving guests to write what they are thankful for.When all of the leaves are hung on the branches it is a lovely spectacle of the goodness of life!

Gabe: We all do a little something different with our respective families. Usually, we get to take a little time off and go see parents, relatives or just good friends! But I will say that a Kopecky Thanksgiving always requires three bottles of Evan Williams Egg Nog. Not to mention a stop by Boston Market where Thanksgiving is everyday (new slogan).

If at Boston Market, it’s a Carver plate with stuffing and macaroni and cheese with a piece of cornbread and an additional side of mashed potatoes. Seriously, Boston Market is amazing.

How did it get started? How many years has this been going on?
Kelsey: We’ve been doing this sort of crafty reflection since I was in fifth grade and had an assignment for the family to make bookmarks of thankfulness. We usually bring out my fifth grade journal and remember the sweet tid-bits and messy handwriting.

Give us a rundown of the food involved. What are the go-to dishes?
Kelsey: Well, my family always has a spread of the classics: Turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy, creamed corn and Tofurky for my vegetarian self. Usually we polish things off with a selection of pie. Apple is my favorite with vanilla ice cream.

Gabe: Cranberry sauce is my territory. That is all there is to say, and my recipe is one for the record books! Oh and cornbread stuffing! My parents use to just buy things from Publix but I am a from scratch kind of guy!

What are you washing it all down with?
Kelsey: Mom, Gram, my sister Lindsay, and I love a glass of chilled white wine. The men and boys of our family go for beer. Dad always goes for Budweiser, he says “There are only two kinds of beer in the world, Budweiser and free beer.” Classic Brad Kopecky.

Gabe: Pumpkin beer and homemade mulled wine. If you haven’t made mulled wine do it!

What’s your stance on gravy? On turkey? On everything? Abstaining?
Kelsey: I like to put veggie gravy on EVERYTHING! Potatoes, veggies, corn, tofurky. YUM!

Gabe: I hatttteeee gravy. But that’s just me.

Do all of the family members like this tradition?
Kelsey: YES! We even made a video for Kopecky Family Band last Thanksgiving, with a special appearance from Mr. Tofurky himself! The voice over is extra special with the northern accent of my step dad, Rick.

Gabe: Our band is all about family time (no pun intended), so I can say with zero hesitation that all members love their time home with family, and making and eating good food with the ones they care about most. Or swinging by Boston Market.


2. Corin Tucker of Sleater-Kinney and the Corin Tucker Band
What is your Thanksgiving tradition?
Our tradition is really just getting together with family and friends. We’ve done lots of different things over the years, I’ve cooked a turkey a couple of times (hard!) and sometimes my mom has cooked. This year we’re going out to a lovely buffet in Eugene with my folks. It’s also nice if everyone goes around and says something they are thankful for, too.

Give us a rundown of the food involved. What are the go-to dishes?
When my grandmother was still cooking, she definitely had some southern dishes on the menu, like green beans cooked with bacon that she called “greasy beans.” Those were always a hit.

What are you washing it all down with?
Sparkling apple cider is always fun!

What’s your stance on gravy? On turkey? On everything? Abstaining?
Gravy is a must. I’m changing my above answer to “washing everything down with gravy.” My partner Lance is a vegetarian so it’s always a crap shoot for him on Thanksgiving. Does anyone like tofurkey?

Do all of the family members like this tradition?
Our son is 11 and he really likes to eat now, so it’s fun watching him shovel down turkey and mashed potatoes. He loves gravy too!

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