14 Musicians Share Their Thanksgiving Traditions

Music Lists Thanksgiving
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5. Eleni Mandell

What is your Thanksgiving tradition?
I go to my Aunt Rosny and Uncle Fred’s house every year. I’ve only missed one or two (because I was on tour) since I was born. The unique thing about our tradition is that the evening ends with a levitation trick. It’s hard to explain but amazing to see four kids lift a heavy adult in the air with only two fingers each. It gets a lot if squeals of joy and laughs.

How did it get started? How many years has this been going on?
I’m not sure when this tradition started because it’s the only Thanksgiving I’ve ever known.

Give us a rundown of the food involved. What are the go-to dishes?
My aunt is famous for her homemade rolls. They’re a big highlight of the evening. Everyone in our sizable family gets excited when the basket gets passed around. They’re basically three small balls of dough stuck together so when they come out of the oven we break them apart and let the butter melt in. She makes all of the traditional food plus amazing desserts and charming turkey shaped cookies, too!

What are you washing it all down with?
Red wine, white wine, plus we start the evening with champagne.

What’s your stance on gravy? On turkey? On everything? Abstaining?
I love gravy, turkey, stuffing, pie…I’m an eater! All the family that comes to Thanksgiving will eat just about anything.


6. Jon Black of Fort Atlantic

These answers aren’t as entertaining as I could probably make it but this is true and not out of character. I thought about making up a story about Iditarod training and sending in some bad-photoshop pictures with it.

What is your Thanksgiving tradition?
We had two Thanksgivings in our family. One with my parents and one without them. Thanksgiving with the parents was pretty traditional (turkey, dressing, gravy, casseroles, etc.). The no-parents Thanksgiving was something a little different. My parents would go to south Georgia for an extended family Thanksgiving on a farm which was pretty great, too. Lots of shooting guns and riding four-wheelers and as a 13-year-old kid that stuff is pretty awesome. It was all properly supervised of course. The moment our parents left we cleared out the living room, took down the pictures on the wall, and set up a projector that my oldest brother “borrowed” from his place of employment and spent the next three days playing video games, watching the Star Wars trilogy (on LaserDisc, mind you…this was in the ‘90s) and entertaining our friends that would come over. Girls occasionally showed up. They didn’t stay very long.

How did it get started? How many years has this been going on?
Our No-Parents Thanksgiving began by accident. It ended up that my three older brothers couldn’t go to south Georgia for work reasons so my parents gave me the option to stay back with them. We realized pretty quickly that, although the farm was great, our Thanksgiving was more up to speed with how we’d like to express our thankfulness: Overly caffeinated and binging on “Goldeneye” tournaments. Sadly, due to life, long distance, marriages, babies and so on we haven’t been able to do this for years but we had some form of this geek throw-down for eight or nine years. Thanks to Xbox Live we still play games over the Thanksgiving holidays but it’s not the same as being in the room together.

Give us a rundown of food involved. What are the go-to dishes?
Traditional full spread with the parents. Waffle House and pizza with the brothers and friends. The All-Star Special with a cherry Sprite is easily the go-to dish.

What are you washing it all down with?
Back then it was strictly Mountain Dew and Dr. Pepper. Now it’s grown up to craft beer and/or an Old Fashioned.

What’s your stance on gravy? On turkey? On everything? Abstaining?
I am pro-gravy. I feel like Ron Swanson would doubt my commitment to freedom if I didn’t like gravy and encourage its use on all items. No spoilers though, I’m only in Season 3. He doesn’t turn into a vegan does he? What a terrible idea for a story arc.

Do all of the family members like this tradition?
I think my parents would have preferred us all to be together on Thanksgiving but, looking back and knowing what I know of other’s family dynamics, it’s pretty awesome that all four of us got along and looked forward to our Thanksgiving nerd fest. I think our parents saw that and had something else to be thankful for.