Thanksgiving Day is Thursday, November 25th, and most people might be enjoying time with a group of their friends and families, including some of your favorite country stars, such as Alan Jackson, Brothers Osborne, Caylee Hammack, Carrie Underwood, Darius Rucker, Dierks Bentley, Eric Church, Jon Langston, Jon Pardi, Josh Turner, Keith Urban, Kip Moore, Little Big Town, Maddie & Tae, Mickey Guyton, Parker McCollum, Priscilla Block, Reba McEntire, Sam Hunt, Travis Denning and more. They share their thoughts of thanks this year, their lessons in gratitude, memories and favorite Thanksgiving dishes.
The Thanksgiving holiday tradition traces its origins to a 1621 celebration at Plymouth, in the state that’s now known as Massachusetts. The 1621 Plymouth feast and thanksgiving was prompted by a good harvest. While initially, the Plymouth colony did not have enough food to feed half of the 102 colonists, the Wampanoag Native Americans helped the Pilgrims by providing seeds and teaching them to fish. The practice of holding an annual harvest festival like this did not become a regular affair in New England until the late 1660s. People now celebrate the holiday by giving thanks for their blessings over the past year, as well as feasting on turkey and other festive goodies.
Some festive fun facts about Thanksgiving:
- President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed Thanksgiving a national holiday on October 3rd, 1863.
- Harry Truman is often credited with being the first president to pardon a turkey, but that’s not quite true. He was the first to receive a ceremonial turkey from the National Turkey Federation – and he had it for dinner. John F. Kennedy was the first to let a Thanksgiving turkey go, followed by Richard Nixon who sent his turkey to a petting zoo. George H.W. Bush is the president who formalized the turkey pardoning tradition in 1989.
- The average number of calories consumed on Thanksgiving is 4,500.
- Butterball answers more than 100,000 turkey-cooking questions via their Butterball Turkey Hotline each November and December.
- The tradition of football on Thanksgiving began in 1876 with a game between Yale and Princeton. The first NFL games were played on Thanksgiving in 1920.
Carrie Underwood and Mickey Guyton are among the artists performing during the 95th annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, airing Thursday, November 25th at 9am ET/ 8am CT on NBC.
To access Thanksgiving liners, click here.
AJ (Thanksgiving) OC: …enjoy it. :19
“My favorite Thanksgiving dish would be the homemade dressin’ that we, cornbread-based kind of dressin’ that we always have with turkey. That recipe is a kind of a combination of my mama, and Denise has taken it and perfected it over the years, so that me and my children really enjoy it.”
Brothers Osborne (Thanksgiving 2021) OC: …I can’t wait. :31
“For this Thanksgiving it’s gonna be such a good time. I mean last year, we had a very scaled-back Thanksgiving. Everyone was worried about the pandemic, and rightfully so, but for this Thanksgiving, we’re coming back. We’re back with family. We’re all vaccinated. We’re gonna be hugging on each other, loving on each other and just celebrating the world coming back to somewhat normal. And our mom and dad, our mom’s been here for a while. Our dad and his girlfriend, Cindy, have officially moved down here, and we’re going to have the whole family together. It’s gonna be beautiful. I can’t wait.”
Brothers Osborne (Misfits Thanksgiving) OC: (TJ) …Happy holidays, y’all. 1:02
“What’s up, y’all? It’s Brothers Osborne here. And a Thanksgiving tradition that we did for so many years. John and I would host what we would call a Misfits Thanksgiving, and we would have everyone, I mean we must’ve done this for 15 years or so and it really started because we didn’t have enough money to go back home to see our family, so we would hang out in Nashville. And so everyone that was kind of in our same shoes, we’d all end up at our house, and it really turned into really blossoming some of our most cherished relationships. We would be there with Kacey Musgraves. It was the first time I really got to hang out with Mickey Guyton (JOHN: “Maren Morris.”) Maren Morris. They would come over and we just became like family to each other because we couldn’t get home to see our own families. And that’s a Thanksgiving tradition that we still to this day try to keep, and it’s a revolving door of who’s there or who’s not there, but yeah, it’s a wonderful tradition. And let me tell you, spending it with our friends in Nashville, there’s a little less arguing than back home. (laughs)” JOHN: “We’re still arguing, but we get over it faster.” (laughs) TJ: “Anyways, Happy Holidays, y’all.”
Carrie Underwood (Thanksgiving) OC: …the other one. :34
“We don’t have too many set-in-stone Thanksgiving traditions. I find myself a lot of times working on or around Thanksgiving or unable to get home or whatever. We try to be together, but sometimes that just doesn’t work out. But yeah, I mean, I think it’s just about we eat. I eat a lot every year on Thanksgiving. [laughs] I never skip THAT tradition. But yeah, that’s the gist of it, and I’m kind of lucky. I get two Thanksgivings, because I also get to celebrate Canadian Thanksgiving with my husband’s family, so if I don’t hit one, I’ll definitely be able to get the other one.”
Caylee Hammack (Thanksgiving) OC: …favorite holiday. :27
“Thanksgiving is the one holiday where we stay at home. We stay at my family’s house, and it’s just me, my mom and dad, my brother and sister and their families. We all sit around and just eat all day. And I love Thanksgiving because you don’t have to worry about getting gifts for people; you don’t have to worry about wrapping them. You just show up and you eat all day with the people you love. So, I absolutely love Thanksgiving. It’s my favorite holiday.”
Caylee Hammack (Thanksgiving eats) OC: …cranberry jelly. :15
“My favorite Thanksgiving meal (dish) is definitely cornbread dressing. My mom makes the best, er, some people call it stuffing, but I’ve always called it dressing for some reason. But I love that with canned cranberry jelly.”
Darius Rucker (favorite part of Thanksgiving) OC: …my family. :17
“My favorite part of Thanksgiving is easy – it’s food. It’s eating. It’s hanging out with family and getting some great food, ‘cause that’s really what Thanksgiving, Thanksgiving is about giving thanks for all of the great things you’ve got, and I always give thanks for the greatest thing I’ve got and that’s my family.”
Darius Rucker (Thanksgiving Day favorite sporting day) OC: …big for me. :10
“Thanksgiving Day is my favorite sports day of the year. It’s crazy how much football you get to watch (laughs) on Thanksgiving Day, so I really like that a lot. Thanksgiving is big for me.”
Dierks Bentley (Thanksgiving must-have) OC: …for Thanksgiving. :34
“You gotta have a big turkey. Thanksgiving is not possible without a turkey. We cook it traditionally, but when we’re in, a couple of Thanksgivings ago, we were here in Nashville, we did the whole fry the turkey up, and it was great. It just tasted so good; all those juices get locked in there, and I love that too. You really can’t, to me, cook a turkey wrong. I’m gonna eat it any way, and I have over the years. Trust me, I’ve played a lot of county and state fairs, where I’ve seen gigantic turkey legs, you know, I’ve had the flat meat. I’ve done turkey every way you could do it. I’m pretty good any way you want to cook it up, but you’ve got to have a turkey for Thanksgiving.”
Eric Church (Thanksgiving) OC: …want to do it. :23
“A couple of things. I’m thankful for my family and great health. And I’m thankful for from a career standpoint, I’m very thankful for the success we’ve had lately. I’m thankful for what the fans have done. I mean there’s a lot of stuff to be thankful for in that regard. And I’m thankful that I was given the opportunity to do it my own way. I’m thankful that I’m going to get to keep doing this and do it the way that I want to do it.”
Jon Langston (Thanksgiving) OC: …pretty cool. :21
“We always watch football on Thanksgiving. It was pretty cool in high school. It was a big deal in high school if you had practice on Thanksgiving Day because you made third round of the playoffs. So, in high school we always had practice on Thanksgiving, so I guess that was pretty cool. Everybody’s waking up on a cold Thanksgiving morning going to football practice, but yeah, pretty cool.”
Jon Pardi (Thanksgiving 2021) OC: …miss them. :31
“I’m so thankful for all the fans that showed up at my concerts this year. There was a lot of concerts. There was a lot of fans. We always had a good time. I know the crowd did. It was a tough year, but we made it through it and that’s something to celebrate. And also my amazing wife Summer – thankful for her. And just being a part of country music. I’m thankful for that too, and country radio…and all the people at UMG that I don’t get to see a lot, but I still miss them.”
Jordan Davis (Thanksgiving 2021) OC: …thankful list. :16
“This has been a great year both music-wise and personal, but I think the most thing I’m thankful for in 2021 is a healthy son, 3-month-old son Locklan. So, that’s definitely at the top of my thankful list.”
Jordan Davis (Thanksgiving) OC: …lot of football. :12
“When I was growing up at Thanksgiving, we just got all the family together. You know, did the traditional turkey, ham, all the sides, but it was always at either one of my grandparents’ house. Just a lot of family, a lot of food and a lot of football.”
Jordan Davis (Thanksgiving side dish) OC: …look forward to. :12
“favorite side dish for Thanksgiving is green bean casserole, just the regular green beans from a can, nothing fancy, just do it the old-fashioned way. But that’s the thing I most look forward to.”
Josh Turner (fave side dish) OC: …’em myself. [laughs] :24
“Uh, deviled eggs! [laughs] Where I’m from in South Carolina, I don’t think I’ve tasted a bad deviled egg. It’s like everybody has their own twist on it, but they’re all good, but I always loved it when my mama made ‘em. I’m learning as I get older, making deviled eggs is no easy task. It’s more complicated than it looks, and so that’s probably why I never made ‘em myself.” [laughs]
Josh Turner (holidays) OC: …the peace and quiet. :38
“I love being outside in nature and the outdoors, and the holidays is a great time for me to go and partake in that part of my life. A lot of times, Thanksgiving and Christmas, it’s a little cold to go fishing, but when it comes to Thanksgiving and Christmas, it’s a great time to go hunting, especially in South Carolina, that’s when the temperatures are starting to drop and the conditions are getting right, and especially in November, kind of the tail end of the rut, as far as deer season. So, it’s a good time to get in the deer stand whether you kill anything or not, it’s just a great time to just get away from everything and get away from the noise and the lights and the diesel fumes [laughs] and just relax and just enjoy the peace and quiet.”
Keith Urban (Thanksgiving) OC: …for me. :21
“Thankful that, well, my marriage is just, it’s life-giving, not just life-changing, it’s been life-giving for me. And from there, we created life, and that’s just beautiful, absolutely beautiful. And the effect that all of that has had in my work, has given life to it too, given it a sense of purpose and really deepened the experience for me.”
Kip Moore (Thanksgiving) OC: …with them. :11
“I [usually] go home for Thanksgiving. I love going home to see all them. I have five brothers and sisters and it’s a blast to go home and just catch up on their lives. I get so wrapped up in all this that I lose touch sometimes, and it’s cool to hear everything going on with them.”
LBT (Thanksgiving) 2 OC: (Kimberly) …and eat. :31
KIMBERLY: “Thanksgiving—we love Thanksgiving, ‘cause we get to be with our families and we don’t often get to spend time with our families, our extended families, until the holidays. I love being around the table with my family and talking and laughing and cooking and eating…” JIMI: “And eating and eating and eating and eating…” PHILLIP: “The laughter around the eating, the good cheer, the celebration, the music…” JIMI: “The eating, going taking a nap, then coming back and eating.” KIMBERLY: “Go to bed with a full belly, take a nap, and then get up and eat.”
Maddie & Tae (Thanksgiving) OC: (TAE) …I do. :41
MADDIE: “I love Thanksgiving because I get to see my family, and it’s not as much pressure as Christmas I feel like because there are no gifts exchanged. It’s just all about quality time and I love quality time. My favorite dish is some broccoli-cheese casserole and Tae’s favorite dish, I know, is cranberry sauce, just plain. Just plain ole cranberry sauce, no turkey, just cranberry sauce.” TAE: “She knows.” MADDIE: “That’s it.” TAE: “I genuinely feel there’s something wrong with me. (MADDIE: “Out of the can.”) out of the can. My parents know just to have cranberry sauce for me, like no one else can touch it. There’s a home video where my brother Mason tries to eat it, and I’m like, ‘What are you doing? This is mine.’” MADDIE: “She eats it out of the can.” TAE: “I do.”
Mickey Guyton (Thanksgiving traditions) OC: …Thanksgiving traditions. :17
“One of my Thanksgiving traditions is playing charades after Thanksgiving dinner. I’m not the most competitive person in the world, but as soon as you put some Charades in the picture, I am crazy, and you will definitely want to be on my team if we’re playing Charades. I’m just saying. So, that’s one of my favorite Thanksgiving traditions.”
Mickey Guyton (favorite Thanksgiving dish) OC: …both so much! :39
“My favorite Thanksgiving dish that has to, has to, has to be at Thanksgiving dinner is dessert. Dessert is my favorite Thanksgiving dish. I mean, it doesn’t matter what it is, as long as it’s sweet. My mom actually makes an Italian cream cake that’s absolutely awesome. It’s homemade, and the entire family, that’s the first thing to go at Thanksgiving dinner. And my Grandma D, she makes a pecan pie that is awesome. She taught me how to make them when I was little, and I just love them, and that’s the other thing that I look forward to at Thanksgiving dinner, and I love them both so much!”
Parker McCollum (Thanksgiving tradition) OC: …go there. :27
“I mean, my parents have been split up for a long time, but they’re all from the same town. My mom and dad went to high school together and all that stuff and all the family still lives back there on both sides. So, we kind of do a Thanksgiving with my dad’s side of the family, but all my life, we’ve always gone to my mom’s parents’ house on Thanksgiving, and they got a big ole house and a bunch of property and it’s really where I grew up is right there. That’s kind of home for me, so that’s kind of our thing. We always go there.”
Parker McCollum (Thanksgiving eats) OC: …creamed corn. Mmm hmmm. :04
“My Aunt’s creamed corn is pretty bomb. I love creamed corn. Mmm hmmm.”
Priscilla Block (Thanksgiving 2021) OC: …thankful this year. :18
“With Thanksgiving coming up, I am so, so thankful for this past year. It has been unbelievable. I just feel like I am living my dream and everything that I have always dreamed of is finally happening, and I’m just super, super, super thankful this year.”
Priscilla Block (Thanksgiving) OC: …so much. :34
“Thanksgiving has always been chaos, actually any holiday that my entire family is there is straight chaos. But for Thanksgiving, we all try so hard to be together and it’s such a fun holiday to, my family’s a little cheesy. Like, we actually still go around the table and being like, ‘What are you thankful for?’ ‘What are you thankful for?’ So, that means a lot where it’s not about presents, it’s not about anything else. It’s just about truly being thankful, and that’s why I love Thanksgiving so much.”
Reba McEntire (Thankful) OC: …happy camper. :39
“Omigosh I wake up in the morning grateful that I can, that I’m alive, I can breathe, I can move, I can get out of bed on my own. (I’m) very grateful for the lifestyle that I have and if anybody needs help, please Lord please, direct me in what you want me to do. Just grateful for getting Rex in my life and Riddler, my family being healthy and happy, my friends being healthy and happy. I’ve got a great job and people I love and get to work with, and I’ve got a huge faith. So, no matter what happens to me, I know where I’m going, so I’m a happy camper.”
Sam Hunt (Thanksgiving eats) OC: …glass of milk. :12
“When I pile my plate up, it’s mostly turkey and then I’ll put a little dressing on the side, and I’ll usually go ahead and grab my dessert on the first run [laughs] and have it ready before it all disappears.”
Travis Denning (Thanksgiving menu) OC: …then beer. :17
“The ideal Thanksgiving menu to me is a little bit of turkey, but definitely prioritizing ham. I’m a firm believer in ham at Thanksgiving. Squash casserole, broccoli casserole, stuffing and then beer.”
Travis Denning (typical Thanksgiving holiday) OC: …a lot of people. :22
“A typical Thanksgiving growing up was essentially and the men of the family – Dad and Uncle Mike and my granddaddy — watching football, while grandmama and my mom pretty much yelled at each other in the kitchen the whole day. But they threw down and made the best food you could ever imagine, which you know is kind of how it is for a lot of people.”