If you were to ask me what our Thanksgiving traditions were as a child I'd have to reply that I don't think we had any. Although we had plenty of tradition's in general, Thanksgiving wasn't one of them.
One Thanksgiving around 1982 I know we were at home that year because my Uncle and four favorite cousins came to visit and we had a blizzard that year complete with the power going out. Our family had oil lamps for camping that we dug out of the garage and lit for light, along with two wood burning stoves that heated our house. However, with eight (8) kids between the ages of 2 and 15 coupled with those stoves the house was almost 90 degree's and we had to open the windows! The power went out about 3/4 of the way through preparing dinner, so we finished cooking the turkey and gravy on the old Franklin stove in the family room, and had a complete Thanksgiving dinner despite the power outage. Other Thanksgivings were spent at my Grandma N's house where we always, always, always had cherry dessert.
Although I don't specifically remember spending Thanksgivings at my Grandma H's house, I know we did some years, because I do have a very specific memory of this holiday at her dinner table. She served cranberry sauce from can in which she plunked out onto a crystal serving dish and put it in the middle of the table. With the ring lines from the can still in place, they served as her slicing marks and the cranberries looked to me like big round beet slices. This is my only memory of Thanksgiving at her home.
Now I have to say that using a can of cranberries this holiday season is actually a good idea if you don't relish the idea of cooking and popping and spicing your own cranberries. But... let's not serve it straight from the can, shall we? How about trying this simple and quick recipe on for size?
Cherry Cranberry Salad
1 6 oz. package cherry gelatin
1 1/2 c boiling water
1 (20 oz) can cherry pie filling
1 can (16 oz.) whole cranberry sauce
Combine the cherry gelatin with the boiling water and mix. Add pie filling and cranberry sauce to the gelatin and mix well. Pour into a large pan (9X13 works) and freeze it for an hour if you are in a hurry or chill it (preferred) for 3-6 hours before serving. This will serve about 6 people.