Six Southern Cozy Mystery Authors Share Their Favorite Thanksgiving Memories & Traditions
by Staff Writer
This Thanksgiving seven of our favorite southern cozy mystery authors share a special holiday memory. Whether it’s the food, the family or just fun times, holidays are a time to reconnect and express our gratitude for the people in our lives and the blessings we’ve received throughout the year.
Can you think of a good Thanksgiving memory that brings a smile to your face?
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My favorite Thanksgiving tradition is watching the Macy’s parade with my husband and kids, all in our pajamas. When the kids were young, my son would gather up every pillow and blanket in the house and make a huge nest on the floor in front of the TV so we could all snuggle in together to watch the parade. It was so comfy-cozy! We enjoyed seeing the classic balloons and the Broadway performances, as well as the Rockettes, but it was fun to see what floats were new each year, too. We’d often climb back into the nest to nap after eating our Thanksgiving meal.
My son went to to attend art school in Brooklyn, so we spent Thanksgiving of his senior year in New York and got to watch the parade live. Fun thing to cross off the bucket list! The night before we went down to the staging area to see them inflate some of the balloons. It was intriguing to see the behind-the-scenes action. My kids are adults now, and we don’t always get to spend the holiday together, but when we do it’s extra special. I’ll always treasure those mornings in the nest!
Diane lives in North Carolina, and is the author of series set in North Carolina and Tennessee.
Julie Anne Chase
I love Thanksgiving so much and for so many reasons. At my house it’s not fancy. I’m not trying to impress. I’m here to love you with words, good food and great appreciation. I don’t have to go anywhere, since I host, which is a giant WIN for me. I get to eat whatever I want, in any amounts I want, and no one judges. BONUS: This grace extends to desserts and wine. My entire family is in one place. I don’t have to dress up, and you’ll probably find me in fuzzy socks or bare feet. My meal is done buffet style on those classy disposable plates, which means folks serve themselves and clean up after themselves too. I get a morning parade and a dog show if I watch the right channel while I cook, then a long day at home with loved ones and friends, plus an evening of lingering, intimate chats with the people who aren’t in a hurry to leave. Sometimes we watch holiday movies. Sometimes we play games. We always reminisce about the past. And dream about of the future. Thanksgiving Day is on of incredible peace and bonding at my house, and it’s possibly my favorite day of the year.
Julie also writes as Bree Baker and Julie Frost. Her mystery series are set in North Carolina, Louisiana, Georgia and more.
Favorite Thanksgiving memory is one that still makes me cringe a little.
Many years ago, newly married and sharing our first apartment together, my husband and I wanted to host Thanksgiving dinner for my parents. We bought a turkey and all the ingredients to cook a traditional Thanksgiving meal. And a traditional turkey-day meal has to include cranberry sauce, right? But instead of canned cranberry sauce, I decided to make a homemade version.
I assembled my ingredients the night before – cranberries, check; an orange, check; and sugar, check; and carefully consulted the recipe. It seemed to call for a LOT of sugar, so I cut the amount in half. Who needed all of that sugar, anyway?
Needless to say, it was all we could do to swallow a few lip-puckering bites. My dad was a good sport and managed to choke down his serving.
I don’t remember much else about that evening, but I’ll never forget my first (and last) disastrous attempt to serve “healthy” cranberry sauce!
Katie is from Virginia but currently lives in Florida. Her mystery series is set in the Virginia mountains.
If there’s one dessert that I connect with holidays, it’s pie.
I grew up in an area very similar to the setting for The Blue Ridge Library Mystery series and pies were a staple in my rural community. Fortunately, I come from a long line of excellent piemakers. My grandmother, who along with my grandfather managed a small family farm, could whip up several pies in the time it took most people to brew a cup of coffee. She had a marble-topped table that sat beside her stove that she used to roll out the pastry dough. I remember watching her roll the dough and expertly flip it into pie pans with graceful ease.
Her pies were delicious too. She made all kinds—apple and blackberry were favorites, but she also made lovely pecan and custard pies. My mother learned the art of piemaking from my grandmother, then passed these skills down to me. This family tradition is one that always says “holidays” to me!
Victoria lives in North Carolina, and her series are set in North Carolina and the Virginia mountains.
Dorothy St. James
I’ve had Thanksgivings that were large family gatherings, with loud conversations and days-long feasting. I’ve also enjoyed several Thanksgivings where it was just a small family gathering, with just the basics and the family sat around the TV to watch the parades and then the dog show. We love watching the variety of dog breeds. The tiny dogs, the long-haired dogs, the gentle giants, and then the dogs that look like beloved friends that we’d had in the past.
Everything we do on Thanksgiving, be it the eating, the talking, the watching the classics on TV, we’re doing it with our families and friends. And although I do love the eating part of the holiday, it’s the coming together with loved ones that really makes the day special.
Dorothy lives in South Carolina, and writes series set in South Carolina and more.
When I think of Thanksgiving, I think of crisp cool air, beautiful orange and yellow leaves, boots and sweater and lots of family and friends.
Growing up, we had three Thanksgiving dinners!
My mother would spend the two days before the holiday cooking and baking and I clearly remember the oven being on while we slept the night before. And I worried so! We were sleep but the oven was on. But the house was warm with the heat of the stove and good smells wafted through the house. Mostly sage and butter from the turkey. And I remember my mother being up late at night and early the next day.
And then she’d put all the food she cooked to the side, and bring a few dishes to my father’s mothers house and we’d see family we hadn’t seen all year and just eat and laugh and have fun.
And then we’d go to my mother’s mother’s house and do the same thing. The first meal was like lunch. And the second time was dinner. No matter what, I’d get sweet potato pie wherever I went.
And then we’d go home late, tired but full of good food and cheer. And then the next day my mother would warm up all the food she’d cooked for us and we’d have our own Thanksgiving.
That’s a lot of Thanksgiving but traveling around, seeing family and eating lots of food is my best Thanksgiving memory.
Esme lives in North Carolina and her series is set on the NC coast.
Thanksgiving is a time for family, friends and food. It’s also a great time to make happy memories and continue family traditions. What’s your favorite Thanksgiving memory or tradition? Share in comments!