NEW YORK — For some of America’s most devout Christian communities, Thanksgiving presents a chance to celebrate and reconnect with the people they grew up with.
For others, it’s a chance for family and friends to get together and share memories.
The holiday season has become synonymous with the celebration of family, with many of the country’s most popular Thanksgiving traditions being rooted in Thanksgiving itself.
In some communities, the Thanksgiving turkey has become the focus of a religious observance, like at Christmas or the holidays, and the tradition is also seen as a source of spiritual inspiration for many Christians.
A group of New Jersey families is looking to revive one of their favorite traditions: the turkey decorating tradition, said Lisa Siegel, a senior pastor at the Church of the Reformation in Newark.
She said that her family’s tradition started with a family gathering in the 1930s.
When they moved to the suburbs, the tradition of decorating the turkey began to die out.
In fact, her grandparents bought a turkey that they used to decorate the church in the 1940s and ’50s, and it was an inspiration to her father, who used to make a big turkey dinner for Thanksgiving dinners.
She and her family started doing it in the 1960s, with her grandfather serving the turkey for a family dinner each year.
“He made it with turkey liver, and that’s why it was so delicious,” Siegel said.
The turkey has been used to display family pictures in their homes, to decorating their Christmas trees, to decorations in their churches, to turkey dinners and even to decorates the home of a friend.
“The turkey was very much an icon of Thanksgiving,” Skelter said.
“So we just used it as a way to express our Thanksgiving traditions, and to share the memories of those we grew up around.
And that’s what we’re trying to do again.”
To celebrate Thanksgiving, many Christians make turkey dinner with white bread, mashed potatoes, gravy, cranberries and cranberry sauce.
Siegel and her husband, John Siegel Sr., decorate their Thanksgiving dinner turkey each year with a turkey liver.
She recalled making her grandparents’ Thanksgiving dinner at the same time her father used to.
“I always said, ‘It’s time to go to work, John,'” Siegel recalled.
“We got up, and I went downstairs, and there he was, making his turkey dinner.
And it was a great way to celebrate Christmas.”
The Siegel family lives on the east side of Newark, in a suburb of Newark.
They are not the only ones who decorate turkey.
Skelters’ father, John, is a member of the Presbyterian Church in America and the Episcopal Church.
In the United States, more than 80 percent of Thanksgiving dinner guests eat turkey, and many Christian traditions celebrate the holiday with turkey dinners.
But the Siegel’s are among the more traditional Thanksgiving celebrations.
“We just use a lot of things from Thanksgiving and all of the traditions, whether it’s Thanksgiving dinners or just eating turkey,” Selsiek said.
“My parents made it as part of the tradition, but the tradition grew over time and grew and grew,” Sauer said.
Siegel said that she and her parents have made more than 100 Thanksgiving dinners over the years.
“It was something that my grandparents always had in their house,” she said.