Growing up, the Thanksgiving Holiday pretty much guaranteed a few things besides turkey.

There was the never ending bowl of chips and dip, a boring veggie tray which just happened to hang out with not-so-boring cheese whiz filled celery and a never-ending supply of olives (which go on your fingers btw), and of course… the pumpkin pie.

As a kid I didn’t have a love of pumpkin pie, yet as I grew in years and wisdom, so grew my taste for pumpkin pie. What I did not realize in all those holiday gatherings of my youth was that the family pie recipe was special.

I discovered this fact while living in California. My husband was away on military assignment, and I was invited to enjoy Thanksgiving with a friend and her family.  It was the first time I had been away from family during the holidays, and when asked if I wanted a piece of pumpkin pie?  I said, “Heck yes!”

I prepared myself for the taste that would bring with it memories of my grandmother’s house, filled with family (and of course that never-ending bowl of chips and dip).

Imagine my shock and horror to discover on the first bite, that not all pumpkin pie is created equal.  The taste brought back no fond memories of home and family, because that pie tasted nothing like the pumpkin pies of my childhood.

A Family Secret

When I asked my mother why our pie tasted so very different, she revealed that our pumpkin pie came from a secret family recipe passed down through generations.  So I learned how to make the ‘secret’ family pie, and in the years since have started my own pie infused tradition.

Each year on Thanksgiving eve, I bake pumpkin pies for my local friends. I bake and bake, and friends drop by nonstop for a chat + a pie to go.

I still live far from my family, but I’ve been able to honor family traditions while growing them into my own unique thing. This will be my fifth year baking pies. It’s become a fun and joyful way for me to include friends in my holiday traditions, plus it let’s them know just how much they mean to me.

Holiday Traditions

What holiday traditions do you honor each year?  Have you grown and expanded any of your traditions into your own unique thing?