Marcia Strykowski

Thanksgiving Thoughts & Traditions

Although there are many discrepancies about what went on, who attended, and what they ate, most people agree the first Thanksgiving was held in Plymouth, Massachusetts in 1621. I find it interesting that this famous Currier & Ives Lithograph along with the popular tune of “Over the River and Through the Wood,” both created in the mid 1800s, also had roots in Massachusetts.

c&i american homestead winter

Over the River and Through the Wood

By Lydia Maria Child

Over the river and through the wood,
To Grandfather’s house we go;
The horse knows the way
To carry the sleigh
Through the white and drifted snow.

Over the river and through the wood,
Oh, how the wind does blow!
It stings the toes,
And bites the nose,
As over the ground we go.

Over the river and through the wood,
Trot fast, my dapple gray!
Spring over the ground,
Like a hunting hound,
For this is Thanksgiving-Day.

Over the river and through the wood,
And straight through the barnyard gate!
We seem to go
Extremely slow,
It is so hard to wait!

Over the river and through the wood;
Now Grandmother’s cap I spy!
Hurrah for the fun!
Is the pudding done?
Hurrah for the pumpkin pie!

Lydia_Maria_ChildLydia Maria Francis Child, born in Medford, Massachusetts (February 11, 1802 – October 20, 1880), was an American abolitionist, women’s rights activist, opponent of American expansionism, Indian rights activist, novelist, and journalist. Here she is in 1870 reading a book.

Currier and Ives was a successful American printmaking firm headed by Nathaniel Currier (1813–1888) born in Roxbury, Massachusetts and James Merritt Ives (1824–1895) of New York. Currier & Ives produced at least 7,500 lithographs during its seven decades. Artists created two to three new images every week on lithographic stones. The images were printed in black and white and then colored by hand in assembly-line fashion, with each worker applying one color.  Currier & Ives sold more than a million prints, through peddlers, pushcart vendors and bookstores, through the mail and through an international office in London.

In Amy’s Choice, Amy teaches her friends how to make turkey apples to start off their traditional Thanksgiving celebration. Shown below are a few turkeys the kids in my family made to decorate our Thanksgiving table one year. Any holiday traditions going on in your house?

turkey apples

cornucopiaHave a wonderful Thanksgiving!


  1. Louise

    I love your photos of the Fall. And I’m going to try making the little strawberry Santas–for my elderly friends, not for children!


    • Thanks, Louise! The Strawberry Santas (found under the Recipes & Crafts tab) are easy to whip up, along with being healthy and delicious. Have fun making and sharing them!


  2. I love this song. We sang it in grade school. And I still remember some of the verses. Thank you for the reminder.


  3. Bette Norton

    Your post reminds me of years ago singing this song in the back seat of the car, on the way to my grandparents home up in Maine for Thanksgiving! I only knew a few verses. I love seeing the rest of the verses and the history behind the song and the Currier and Ives prints! Wishing you and your family a wonderful Thanksgiving!


    • Thank you, Bette. In one of the earliest versions there are actually 12 verses, but these 5 have always been the most popular. Happy Thanksgiving!


  4. After seeing those adorable turkey apples, I’m realizing my family doesn’t have nearly enough fun traditions. 🙂 I’ll have to come up with some!


    • My children always enjoyed making (and eating) these turkeys each year. Happy Holidays!


  5. I love the turkey apples! Cute.


  6. Ashley

    I enjoy learning the traditions of this holiday and the history behind the song and painting, thank you!


  7. I love the ‘white and drifted snow’. And dapple greys, that’s one of my fav types of horse coat. =)


    • Yes, these lyrics really set a peaceful scene. Have a nice holiday!


  8. Edna

    Loved the poem. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving.


  9. Hello Marcia,
    I love the words to ‘Over the River and Through the Wood’ and can’t believe it’s the first time I’ve come across them. Sharing is THE best part of blogging. Barbara x


    • Hi Barbara, so glad this old New England favorite made it across the pond! 🙂


  10. Those turkey apples are super cute! I have always loved this song and the images it conjures up. 🙂


  11. I love this whole post, Marcia. History, beautiful art, poetry and a taste of your family life. It doesn’t get much better than that!


  12. Cathy

    Saved as a favorite, I really like your blog!


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