Posted on: Nov

Thanksgiving Traditions 2016

As a family owned business, we believe that it is important for our hardworking, dedicated staff to be able to spend time with their families during the holiday season. For this reason, we shorten working hours during the winter, and keep our stores closed on Thanksgiving (and Christmas, too). We asked some of the members of our great team to weigh in on what they’ll be looking forward to most on Thanksgiving! Check out a few of their responses below.


Thanksgiving is the biggest and best family event of the year.  For the past 9 years, 30 – 40 family members gather together for a two day event. We have family in attendance from Connecticut, Georgia, North Carolina, Alabama, and a great number from Niagara falls.  We rent out a church gym and kitchen to accommodate everyone.  

Three large ovens are needed to roast four turkeys and stuffing from 12 loaves of bread. Our family is blessed with talented cooks and bakers, there is never a shortage of awesome dishes and desserts. When we first started this tradition, we had a talent show as entertainment, from the psychic that talked with deceased pets, a clogger, dancers, magicians, and poetry readings, our family has a great depth of talent!

More recently following the meal, we split into four or five teams for a huge trivia challenge, which has proven to be very competitive! We gather together again for dinner and games on Friday night as well. Two days of family may be a lot for some people, but I would not change a thing about it! 

-Nancy Bowen, Cashier

The Thanksgiving day for the past few years has started with running the local Turkey Trot with friends and family.  In 2015 my sisters were visiting from Georgia, dressed as turkeys, they suggested that we all work at the turkey theme 🙂 

Donned in turkey hats, we were naturally a photogenic bunch! This year I will be running in the Atlanta, GA Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving day.



-Scott Maryniak, Manager

For the past 5 years or more my family has a friendly game of turkeybowl (football) on Thanksgiving morning. The age range is 70-6 its mostly uncles, dads, sisters, brothers, cousins and the little ones. It is usually freezing, snowing or it has even rained (that was fun). This game is suppose to be 2 hand touch but it can get a little rowdy with the older folks. Not to say we haven’t had our fair share of injuries. It’s something I enjoy watching and sometimes playing.

-Wendy Williams, Cashier

With our children living in Colorado and Vermont, holiday tradition for my wife and I has become one of doing something different on each holiday. This year we our spending Thanksgiving in Vermont with our two grandchildren, our daughter and husband, and our son. We have decided to host my wife’s family at our home this Christmas. The one constant tradition with all our family get togethers is that we play board games, Michigan Rummy, and Left-Right-Center after we eat. It allows us to talk about everything that is going on in our lives. Always lots of laughs, jokes, and cookies!!!

I do have fond memories of a tradition we had back when I was a preteen. My DAD was 100% Polish and his parents lived in Oakfield, New York. We spent most Sundays during the year visiting my grandparents for the day. Christmas Eve was the annual special tradition. There were 9 siblings in his family. Everyone that could would come in for that night’s totally Polish dinner. The house was smallish and each year a few more people would come in the form of newborns and boyfriends/girlfriends so the house was always jammed. And they didn’t just show up empty handed either. Everyone brought Polish desserts plus extra tables, chairs, utensils, etc. The tables stretched from one end of the house in the back, through the den and living room. One year people had to sit on the other furniture too!

The highlight of the evening would be my Uncle Floyd’s grace. The borscht was served, then we all stood with our heads bowed and little hands clenched (from hunger pangs) in prayer while Uncle Floyd commenced with his 20 minute grace, thanking everyone, every armed force, every type of public professional worker including the President and Vice President, their families, their staff (if he remembered their names, the priests, nuns, and staff from St. Cecilia’s the street, everyone’s pets (not by name thankfully), relatives back in Poland, and the Leaders of Poland. I know there were more included but time has erased the last parts of his grace from my memory.

When he would finally finish, all the elders in the family would raise their “grace wine glasses” and say things to him in Polish and laugh. Of course by that time my borscht was cold……wait, it was served cold! Still tasty though. The dinner was just like being at a comedy club in the front row. All the 9 uncle’s and aunt were amazingly funny people. That is the best memory of a holiday tradition. We now are starting to be part of a new tradition in Vermont.

-Mike Kedzierski, Sales Associate


“Every year my family has an “open door” policy for Thanksgiving dinner. Everyone is welcome, so anyone who may not have family or is simply too far from them to get together, are all welcome. The thing I ask of them before they eat, is everyone must share something they are thankful for. I believe, no matter how bad things seem at times, there is always something to be grateful about, and saying it out loud simply reminds us about it. The other Thanksgiving tradition we do is more anonymous, but we do it as a family. We create a basket full of everything required to make a Thanksgiving feast, including treats and goodies. We give it to a local church that has the names of families that are in need for the holidays, and have them deliver it the night before to one of those families.”

-Heather Beard, Floor Manager

“For several years I have hosted what I call the ‘orphans Thanksgiving.’ It’s for people who have nowhere else to go, or no family. Sometimes I have just a few, but this year I will have at least 11 people. I do a traditional dinner, and if someone asks what they can bring, I tell them anything they would like, besides a good appetite and containers for leftovers of course. We have a lot of laughs and a good meal.”

-Linda Padilla, Sales Associate

Watching Football!

“On behalf of Team 48 (Owego) every associate and manager are extremely thankful for Valu Home Centers closing their doors on Thanksgiving Day so we can spend time our Families, Eat wonderful food, and of course football. Not many companies do this anymore. Valu Home Centers understands the meaning of FAMILY. THANK YOU!!!!!”

-Store Team in Owego, NY

“Our traditions include a big family dinner, watching football, and playing board games as late as we can manage to stay up :)”

-Lisa Pratt, Floor Manager

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