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My Absolute Favorite Post-Thanksgiving Tradition

 

No, it has nothing to do with shopping…..but everything to do with family!

 

You see, my parents had tremendous foresight.

 

Several years ago (far more than I care to admit), when my siblings and I were still living at home, but were quickly approaching the time when we’d begin to move out and start new chapters of our lives, they instituted a new yearly “celebration.”

 

My parents knew that as their kids got older, got married, and had kids of their own, it would become increasingly difficult to always have all of the holidays all together. Oh, we would most definitely try, but because they wanted to prioritize time together as a family, without adding extra stress or overwhelm to their kids and families, they started Soupus.

 

It was really quite simple – Soup + Us = Soupus.

 

And I cannot tell you how much everyone looks forward to this Every. Single. Year!

 

There’s so much I love about this family tradition, but I think the thing that I love the most is that I get to see so many people I care about. Of course, I get to see my parents, my brother and his family, and my sister and hers, but I get to see so much extended family – grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, neighbors, friends from high school…..the list goes on.

 

And because it’s not a formal dinner, we can all get together without anyone having to stress about preparing and hosting an elaborate meal for 40+ people!!

 

So, now that I have you totally sold on this tradition, let me share some of the details.

 

We have always had this the Saturday after Thanksgiving. Everyone does their own smaller Thanksgiving (we’re usually at my husband’s parents) on Thursday, and then EVERYONE comes together on Saturday. People have had a chance to “recover” from all the food on Thursday, have gotten their Black Friday shopping in, and are eagerly awaiting Saturday.

 

In the morning, my dad organizes some kind of game or activity. We have done everything from baseball, to flag football, to ultimate frisbee, to whiffle ball, and this year, we’re trying pickle ball (it’s all the rage, haha). The games are pretty low key, but with my family there’s always a bit of a competitive spirit. And as more kids have been born and are now old enough to play (and perhaps some of us have gotten a little older), we usually have one kid oriented game and one more adult oriented game.

 

After an hour or two, everyone heads back home to shower and clean up.

 

Then, around 3pm, or so, everyone heads over to my parents. And when I say everyone, I mean everyone. Some years we’ve had 35 or so people, and other years we’ve gotten closer to the 60 mark! My mom has the most tremendous gift of hospitality and welcomes people into her home with such generosity and grace. But it’s such a fun and unique tradition, that it seems like once you’ve come, you always want to come back! My in-laws, and all my siblings in-laws come (and sometimes even other members of their family). Old friends from high school or college (whom I rarely talk to during the year), will call just to make sure Soupus is still on!

 

Like I said, no one is responsible for making a huge formal dinner, but several families bring over crock pots full of soup, others bring bread, some bring appetizers, and we always have more than a couple of desserts.

 

We also have some sort of “cooking competition” – and if you watch Food Network, you’ll have an idea of what I’m talking about. We designate some category or ingredient and whoever wants to brings a dish for the competition. Some of the ones we done in the past are: apple, pumpkin, cinnamon, maple, and pomegranate. Sometimes it’s more broad – appetizer, dessert.

 

Over the course of the afternoon, people can try any or all of the competition pieces, and then vote for their top 3. At the end of the day, my mom tallies all of the votes and has prizes for the top 3 (my mom is seriously THE cutest thing!!)

 

We usually eat around 5pm – and it’s always fun to try the different soups and see what everyone brings (my sister makes the most amazing Tomato Soup!)

 

And while everyone is “semi-gathered” someone (who knows ahead of time), shares a short devotion pointing us to Christmas and the TRUE reason we are celebrating. Sometimes it’s read from a book, other times just a few verses are shared, and still others just share what the Lord has put on their heart. It is a beautiful time to reflect and refocus as we enter the Christmas season.

 

Then, as the evening wraps up, my mom usually has some sort of craft for the kids and everyone begins to head home. And I assure you that as each goes their own way, they leave not only with full bellies, but with full hearts as well.

 

Soupus has become a beloved tradition for our family, and I’m thrilled to be able to share it with you today!

 

If you decide to give it a try, I’d love to hear how it goes – and how you tweaked it to work for your family!

 

Hope you have a Happy Thanksgiving – and a Happy Soupus!

 

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