WIN Your Thanksgiving Turkey & Tips for More Meaningful Holiday Photos!


Turkey Winners! Congratulations to: Tracey Bentley, Tiffany Schmidt, and Sally Rector Patterson!

Only thing I hate about giveaways is that everyone can’t win! I really need to be Oprah one day…

Please email me your mailing address at and I’ll send them out tomorrow!

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When it comes to Thanksgiving and turkey, one name instantly comes to mind: Butterball! Not only are they known for their ever-juicy birds, but also for their famed Butterball Hotline that allows consumers to call in with all of their turkey questions and have them answered by seasoned professionals. The butterball hotline began 29 years ago and received over 11,000 calls in it’s first year. Today, Butterball employs more than fifty college degreed home economists who answer over 100,000 questions each year in November and December.

Got questions? They’re here to answer them! Whether it be how to impress your in laws or how to feed a large gathering, Butterball experts are ready to help. Just call 1-800-Butterball (1-800-288-8372) and get ready for a less-stress holiday!

Now on to how to enter to win a Butterball Turkey Certificate AND how to better preserve your family history this holiday season. I’m sure the two are related somehow.

As I sat down to type up this post, I had just finished going through a box of old photographs from my childhood. It’s amazing how many of my special memories are caught on film. But one photo in particular stood out to me. It was one of my Grandaddy pushing us around in the wheel barrow on Thanksgiving. We always arrived at my Grandmama’s house early so that Mama could help cook the meal. The house heated up awfully quick and all of the kids usually spent most of the time before the meal playing outside. Grandaddy, who dearly loved kids, joined us whenever he could and never turned down our requests for rides in his wheel barrow around the yard.


Grandaddy, Me, my sister Patti, brother Bill

Finding this picture meant the world to me, not that I didn’t have the image etched firmly in my mind, but now I can see it tangibly and share it with my children as well so they can “remember” along with me. I was fortunate to find that one but I also learned some things while going through the photos, aside from the fact that I come from a long line of very bad photographers! I thought I’d share a few tips with you to help improve the value of your holiday photographs.

Tips for Remembering the Holidays Through Photos

  • Remember what really matters. Food is important, so is atmosphere, but ten years from now are you really going to care that you have a photo of Aunt Sue’s casserole, or a photo of Aunt Sue? Whenever possible, put people in your photos. You’ll be glad you did.
  • Take a “hungry” camera. I know this sounds morbid but we don’t know how long our loved ones will be with us. An opportunity where we are all gathered together is a precious one, take photos of everyone present both casually and smiling directly at the camera. Make your camera “hungry” for everyone. Be sure to hand it off to get a few photos of yourself as well.
  • Be Considerate of your subjects for better photos. I think everyone in my family has had at least a few photos taken right as we put a bite of food in our mouth. Not very flattering, believe me. Warn your subjects ahead of time so that they can look their best and you can get a photo  everyone will be proud of. “Okay, everyone look up!” will suffice, provided you wait a second until they look up and see the camera.
  • Take a few posed group shots with assorted groupings. One of the photos I came across was my dad’s grandparents, Mama Pearl and Papa Cleve. There was a photo of my dad, his mom, Mama Pearl and Papa Cleve, myself and my siblings. It was a very nice photo. However, whoever took the photos (most likely my Mama) also placed each of us individually with Mama Pearl and Papa Cleave, which makes for an even more intimate photo as a remembrance of our relationship. I’m glad we have it both ways. :)
  • Have prints made. I am the world’s worse at this since digital cameras have taken over. Looking through all of these family photographs though, I’m going to make it a point to change that and have photos printed at least monthly. While I don’t have time to properly scrapbook them like I used to, I can at least place them in an acid free album using a safe adhesive. I want my kids to be able to thumb through their memories one day, too.

I’d love to hear your hints and tips for preserving the memories of the holidays. I’d also love to hear about your favorite Thanksgiving memory. Did your Grandaddy to ride you around in a wheel barrow like mine did? Did your granny make a special dish just because you liked it? What memory do you try to recreate for your children and grandchildren today?

Share a little with me in the comments below and be entered to win one of THREE Butterball Turkey Certificates, just in time for Thanksgiving!

I’ll draw winners at random next Monday and notify the winners on this post and on the Southern Plate Family Page on Facebook.

Good Luck!

For additional entries, do one of the following:

On Twitter: Tweet “Win a Butterball Turkey from @butterball and @southernplate! “

Facebook: Post a link to this giveaway on your Facebook page and let me know you did on the Southern Plate Family Page!

Some people are always grumbling because roses have thorns;

I am thankful that thorns have roses.

~Alphonse Karr. Submit your quote here.

My good friend (and flea market buddy!), Lara alerted me to some great deals on Turkey at Wal Mart. She has a great deal finder blog if y’all are interested. She’s a great friend, too!


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  1. Claudia says

    As always, your stories and tips are of infinite value. Thank you for sharing with us all. I’m looking forward to trying my turkey this way this year too. Note to self (lol): get baking bag! {giggles}

  2. Tiffany S. says

    My favorite memory is after the clean up of Thanksgiving dinner the girls of my family all gather on the couch and the floor and reminisce. It doesn’t happen any longer as our matriarch is no longer with us, but they are memories that will last a lifetime!

  3. Susan says

    I remember there were 9 of us children plus 2 parents and grandpa and grandma…the passing around of food before we could start eating took at least 5 or more minutes. It was grand to have all of us together! The food and conversations were always great!

  4. Linda M. says

    Oh Thanksgiving, my memories are still so etched in my mind too.I cccan remember like it was yesterday,while I just can’t say how long ago it was, I’d have to kill you all…………OK, well, we too would get up early & watch all the parades.I have done this with my sons & now their children too. Then we’d go to my Grandparents where I got to help with making the fruit salad,still my favorite dish on Thanksgiving. My Grand daughter’s too! Thanks for the memory this morning!

  5. Tracy B. says

    Memories of Thanksgiving when I was little was always going to my grandmothers. So much good food. But now that I am older – times have changed so much. Our families do not get together anymore because some are going here and some there, or others can’t get along. It just breaks my heart. I would love to win this great turkey. It would be the only way that I would have one to cook for my family this year. I would love to prepare a big Thanksgiving dinner with all of the fixins to go with it. But this year – I will make do with what I have on hand. I am sure it will not be a traditional Thanksgiving Dinner. But we will be thankful for what we have because I know that God will answer my prayers and bless us with a bountiful feast. Thanks so much for all of your postings. You always bring a smile to my face.

  6. Marilyn in NC says

    I remember Thanksgivings w/ the whole family at our house. Moms dinner was always perfect. I live 800 miles away now& mom and dad are no longer with us,so I carry on with ALL of my family at my home for dinner. Traditions just getting passed down to the next generation.
    Here’s hoping that all have a Wonderful Day!!!

  7. Kcgmom says

    Thanks so much for reminding us to stop and pay attention to what is important this Holiday season. I think we all need reminding each time this crazy time of year rolls around! I have fond memories of holiday times as well and I am going to break out my camera and keep it by my side this year. I refer to your recipes often and always get rave reviews from my family! Thanks Christy!

  8. carol cobb says

    I love everything about Thanksgiving: family gathered together, turkey sandwiches, sweet potatoes, and anything pumpkin. So far I’ve had pumpkin latte, pumpkin muffins, pumpkin bagels,…what’s next?!

  9. Linda M says

    My favorite memory is of swinging on the tire swing hanging from the pecan trees at my grandparents’ house. My cousins and I would all take turns, and whoever wasn’t swinging would be picking up pecans to use for the pralines and pies and other desserts for the holidays. The ones who were picking up pecans would either bend over to avoid the swinger, or give a push if he/she was starting to slow down (or get knocked down if they weren’t paying attention). Older cousins and uncles would bring back a turkey (or two) from the turkey shoot, and the aunts and my grandmother would all be cooking, some in the kitchen, and some overflowed into the dining room to work on the table in there. When the meal was finally ready – oh my goodness! Wonderful, wonderful times!

  10. Sharon says

    My best Thanksgiving memory is waking up to smell momma’s cornbread baking in the oven and the celery & onions frying up in the iron skillet (for the stuffing). YUM! Momma’s at Thanksgiving. The best smell in the world!

  11. Marti says

    My favorite thanksgiving memory is eating “raw dressing” while watching the Macy’s parade with my sister and mom. Actually, I’m sure mom was just stepping out of the kitchen for a quick break, now that I realize just how much work she was putting into that enormous meal! The “raw dressing” is just the cornbread, breadcrumbs, celery, onions, seasoning, and chicken broth – no eggs- before you stick it in the oven to bake- and, I know it sounds crazy, but it is the best part of the whole day of eating for us!

  12. says

    We will have 3 generations for Thanksgiving this year! Both sets of grandparents, great grandfather (94 years old!), and parents to the only grandchild! Yes, we will be making wonderful memories and enjoying our many, many blessings!
    Happy Thanksgiving to Everyone!!

  13. says

    I grew up in a hispanic family so we never had Thanksgiving when we were little because my parents really didn’t celebrate. But because of that, every year they would take us to a special dinner at a famous cafeteria in downtown Los Angeles. It was like heaven since all the food was cafeteria style and we were allowed to eat whatever we wanted. It wasn’t until we got older that I decided that we should celebrate Thanksgiving and I began cooking the meal.

  14. says

    One thing that I particularly enjoy about having Thanksgiving and/or Christmas with my grandparents was the way they always spoiled us! (I don’t remember wheelbarrow rides, but I do remember helping my grandpa in their nearly acre-sized garden!) :)
    thanks for hosting this giveaway!!! :)
    roseinthemorning [at] gmail [dot] com

  15. Cathy says

    I have always asked my 3 daughters to tell us what they are most Thankful for each Thanksgiving before we start to eat our dinner. My girls also always help me make the desserts as well as the appetizers. It is important to make Thanksgiving a family time.

  16. Joe Baker says

    While most pick Christmas, Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. It’s the coming together of family and friends, not for celebrating Christ’s birth, to exchange presents, or any other reason than coming together to be together, and enjoy the traditional meal.

    As a child, being an only child, I so looked forward to Thanksgiving because all my Aunts and Uncles, along with their children came together, spent the day in such a wonderful way. At Christmas, most did their own thing, but Thanksgiving was always reserved for the entire extended family to come together as one.

    From the deviled eggs to the stuffing to the pumpkin pie it was all just heavenly. Not only the meal, but the women hanging out in the kitchen, gossiping away as if there were no tomorrow. The men would all be kicked back in the living room watching football, and us kids would be where ever the weather would allow; outside playing games, or huddled inside in a bedroom enjoying one another if outside conditions were inclement.

    I can recall how I would dread when it got dark. I knew that it wouldn’t be long until all the visitors would be putting on their coats and this year’s Thanksgiving would just be another memory.

    Ahh, Thanksgiving, you warm my heart with memories of the past and hope of the future.

    Oh yeah, and by the way, I would really like that turkey.

  17. Renea says

    Thanksgiving has always been a big holiday for my family. I have so many wonderful memories. When I became an adult I worked in retail management for years and missed many Thanksgivings with my family due to work demands and travel time. I no longer have that job, but I am now married too. So it is no longer a question if I will miss Thanksgiving with my family or not, but which family to spend the day with.
    All and all to me Thanksgiving is about sharing a wonderful meal of foods we love with the people we love.

  18. Jim H says

    I have a recipe that a lot of your readers will not be familiar with. It is a dish similar to perogies but made with a rising dough, baked and a sauce is made of lotsa butter, lotsa onions, lotsa black pepper and a pint of whipping cream. When combined, it is a fantastic side dish. Should we omit this on any occasion, our grown up kids won’t let us hear the end of it. I will post it real soon. We have it for every holiday occasion as an accompaniment for Turkey, Ham, you name it, it works.
    As a Canadian, I have already had my Thanksgiving turkey feast and should I be fortunate enough to win one in your draw, I would ask that you donate it to an armed forces family in your area or wherever you think appropriate. (I might make a ham for your Thanksgiving anyways along with some scalloped potatoes).

  19. Elaine Reynolds says

    I remember baking pumpkin pies with my mother. They turned out… well let’s just say not very good. We laughed about it for days. After we threw the aweful mess away we went back and baked our regular “Sweet Tater” pies that we always made. My mom doesn’t remember some of our good times right now, so I have to remember enough for both of us.

  20. Elaine Raye says

    I am so looking forward to Thanksgiving this year as I moved back to my hometown in April and so for the first time in ten years I am going to be with my family for the holiday. I am hostessing our dinner and I am going to bring back all the traditional foods that meant Thanksgiving when I was a child. my grandchildren need to know a “real” family Thanksgiving and hopefully from now on they will associate with their Nana which would be ME!

  21. Karen S. says

    I so enjoy the holidays, especially Thanksgiving, hubby and I were married on this holiday.
    I also remember my first Thanksgiving when I made the whole meal and my mom telling me to buy a Butterball. My folks are now gone, but I still make Thanksgiving.
    Hope everyone has a great Thanksgiving!

  22. KathyV says

    I was in the military and dating my future husband to be on my first Thanksgiving away from home. A newly wed couple had invited a group of us to their home to share their first Thanksgiving as a married couple. She took the turkey out of the freezer the night before… needless to say – no turkey for Thanksgiving dinner, but we still had a great time!

    The next Thanksgiving as a newly wed myself and now stationed overseas, I invited a group to my home and was very sure to take the turkey out of the freezer three days before. But, cooked it with the giblet bag inside (we still ate it!). Now I cook a pretty good turkey but it is fun to think back on the beginning “bloopers” and the many friends I was blessed to share Thanksgiving with during that time of my life.

  23. Kathy says

    We not only celebrate Tnanksgiving Day with the traditional meal for those who can come home, but also on Friday we have a fish fry or make chile and everyone who had to be at another Thanksgiving meal can all get together. With 6 kids and some spouses, we have a difficult time all getting together on holidays. Love the site and all the recipes. Thanks for sharing your life with us.

  24. says

    I don’t know if it’s my favorite memory, but certainly the most memorable memory for me is the first year I went to live with my aunt and uncle. They had my grandmother and great-grandmother that year, I was trying to settle into a new household and had a complete breakdown at the table when my aunt put sweet potato casserole on my plate and it touched some of my other food. I left the table crying and ran to my room. Two grandmothers and a half hour or so later I made it back to the table. My table manners are greatly improved, but I still don’t eat sweet potato casserole!

  25. Diana Haines says

    My newest favorite memory is last year teaching my 3 Grandkids how to do some of our old family favorite recipes like deviled eggs which the youngest who is 7, got the biggest kick out because I call him my little devil..

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