Deb Mills and her family have a Thanksgiving tradition that has nothing to do with turkey or pumpkin pie. Instead, it involves a special tablecloth.
Mills wrote on the Love What Matters Facebook page that every guest signs her tablecloth at Thanksgiving dinner. She then embroiders the names in a specific color to represent that year. The tradition was started back in 2000 and 16 years on, it has collected a range of signatures of relatives both young and old.
"We started this tablecloth in 2000. It has the names of everyone we've shared Thanksgiving with each year. Each year is a different color. I am so grateful to have the signatures of those who have left us ... mom, David's dad, our daughter Mary. It has scribbles of grands and special messages. Everyone signs it at our Thanksgiving and then I embroider it each year and it is quite a treasure to me. Along the edge is a key of what color goes with what year. Thanksgiving is this weekend at our house so we are ready for a new set of signatures."
Mills explained to Today that she originally came up with the tradition to celebrate her and her husband David's blended family and their teenage children.
Fast forward over a decade later, and the signatures have expanded from seven people at a Thanksgiving dinner to 19. The tablecloth includes 10 grandchildren and one great-grandchild. It also features signatures of boyfriends and girlfriends who were invited to dinners.
Mills says that the tablecloth is a heartwarming way to remember all of the important people in her family's lives,
"It has become very special to us to have the signatures of those that have been dear to us through the years that are no longer with us.
The tender Thanksgiving tradition is also something that many people love. Since Mills posted about it on the Love What Matters Facebook page on Nov. 15, the post has received 65,000 likes. Many are commenting about what a special idea it is. Others are also sharing how they do something similar with their families.
One commenter explained, "We do this each year in permanent marker and write what we are thankful for. We started it years ago, when my brother was very sick with brain cancer and we thought each holiday would be the last. He's still here, married with three little girls. To God be the glory."
What is your family's special Thanksgiving tradition?