Family traditions from around the US

There’s more to the Friday after Thanksgiving than great sales and buying the best flag pole hardware kit to keep your flags flying proudly through to next Thanksgiving! When the eating is done, and the parade over, how do you spend your Thanksgiving break with your family? We asked Elizabeth Street moms around the country to share their post-Thanksgiving rituals (that don’t involve standing in line outside of Macy’s). Share yours in the comments!

“Once back in the city after Thanksgiving, we always visit Rockefeller Center to see the tree. Then  we do a walk down 5th avenue to see the windows.  We stop at St. Patrick’s Cathedral for photos and usually end the day with hot chocolate and marshmallows in Union Square at Max Brenner’s.” —Grace Cowan, event producer at ShowCobra

“Sadly, my attempts to recreate my Mom’s holiday tradition of going to the Nutcracker ballet have failed, but we do have a family tradition that is just as exciting for all. On the day after Thanksgiving we visit Swanson’s Nursery, a gardening shop that hosts exotic animals over the holidays, with our good friends. We love visiting the camel and reindeer with a warm cup of cocoa from the cafe. We also like to see the model train set up outside of the shop. It feels so festive and fun to get all bundled up! ” —Carilyn Platt, publicist at Magnolia Public Relations

“In the morning I always take my mom and mother-in-law to Union Square for a little shopping and lunch at Neiman Marcus’ Rotunda. We always shop for ourselves knowing that the next few weeks will be all about shopping for others.  I then race home by 3:00 PM to gather the boys who will most likely have spent the day on the couch watching a football game.  We go get our trees and start decorating! Last year when I told the boys “hurry up and let’s trim the tree” I came back to find them literally cutting the tree with scissors!” In our house, each room has a different theme. The boys always get their own trees since their homemade ornaments usually don’t match whatever color scheme that I have going on.” —Claudia Ross, founder and CEO of Cross Marketing

“After a lazy morning, we love to take the boys ice skating on the McCormick Tribune Ice Rink in Millennium Park, right in front of the Cloud Gate sculpture. Then we go for hot chocolate.  It feels like the perfect way to kick-off the holidays in Chicago.” —Lara Shipp Shiffman, co-founder of JKLS PR

“In Dallas it is family tradition to go to the Cowboys football game, since it’s here every year. If we don’t have tickets, it’s always on the TV. The half-time show is the traditional kick-off for the Salvation Army’s Red Kettle. When the weather is nice we make a family picnic and go to a local park near our home on Lakeside Drive. It has a great pond, huge overgrown foliage and trees, swans, and ducks. It’s the perfect place to get our family photo taken for Christmas cards. Usually I’ll then make a turkey soup and hit the mall for some Black Friday deals.” —Gina Ginsburg, co-founder and co-owner of The Hair Bar

“It’s an all-out binge on Thanksgiving. The extra spinning classes, the oh-so-lite veggie dinners leading up to the day are lost instantly after a single bite of my mother’s rum raisin pudding with hard sauce and whipped cream. My daughters and I recover by heading to the Charles River for a long walk. The river is 80 miles long, so we fancy the idea that if we walked the length we would not only work off the cranberry sauce, but lose a pound or two. This does not happen. Year after year, we somehow end up at the Four Seasons for hot chocolate.”  — Lisa Pierpont, Founder / Editor in Chief,

“We like to go hiking right after Thanksgiving in Rock Creek Park where you can walk for hours in the woods. Plus, the leaves are gorgeous! Dumbarton Oaks Gardens are also great to walk through with family visiting from out of town. We then check out Zoo Lights at the National Zoo.”— Annie Lou Berman, journalist, oral historian and style/branding consultant

 “On any given night, we love to drive through River Oaks and marvel at the hundreds of thousands of lights.  Right after Thanksgiving, the massive estates that line River Oaks Boulevard transform in a magical winter wonderland featuring some of the best displays of lights in the city.”—Andrea Campbell, blogger,

“The day after thanksgiving is all about eating the leftovers from my mom’s exquisite feast. I’ll put it all in a basket and head to South Point with the family for a leftover picnic.  But the day after, it’s back to reality and away from the indulgence. We head to Fly Wheel for a spin and Jugo Fresh to reboot. Art Basel is around the corner, so I get groomed at Junior & Hatter in Wynwood.  Noa enjoys Play-In next door. It’s the best way of convincing her to come along for a cut.” —Lilaj Battista – Marketing, Soho Beach House

“Holiday weekends in LA are so special. Because the weather is nice year round, you can take advantage of the outdoors and take a family walk on the beach or a hike in the canyons. We like to make the most of days off from school with trips to the LA Zoo and the Aquarium of the Pacific.” — Laura Gerson, Chief Mom Angeleno at