Turkey Notes – A Thanksgiving Tradition!

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Last week I said to my husband, “It’s almost Thanksgiving – time to write Turkey Notes!” To which he replied, “What’s a Turkey Note?”

WHAT’S A TURKEY NOTE? In my family, that’s like asking, “Who’s Santa Claus?”

I thought everyone grew up with this funny family tradition! After doing a little research, I learned Turkey Notes originated right here in Davenport, Iowa, and not many people outside of the area know what they are.

In that case, let me be the first to introduce you to this hilarious Thanksgiving activity! Let’s start with the basics: What is a Turkey Note?

A Turkey Note is a short, silly rhyme made up for each Thanksgiving guest. The rhymes are three- to four-lines and the main theme is “Turkey”. (For example, here’s a turkey note I wrote for my cousin who brews his own beer:  “Turkey old, Turkey new. Let’s wash down this Turkey, with your finest brew!”)

Each rhyme is rolled up, wrapped in tissue paper, and placed next to each place setting on Thanksgiving Day. When the time is right (in our family that’s after the meal – but before dessert) each guest opens their note and reads aloud to the group. This is when you sit back and get ready to laugh!

Sound like fun? It really is!

Here’s what you’ll need to make your own Turkey Notes:  Paper, Pen, Tissue Paper and a little imagination!

Start by writing down (or printing) your Turkey notes onto paper. Cut down to size.

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Roll each note into a tube, then wrap in tissue paper.

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Twist each end of the tissue paper to secure.

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Add additional decorations:  I usually add an initial with family members names (otherwise I can’t keep them straight!), some people like tying each end with ribbon or string. Use your creativity!

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Now place the notes at the Thanksgiving table and get ready to laugh!

Turkey Note Tips:

  • Rhymes can be a compliment, funny, loving, or insulting – depending on your (and your family’s) sense of humor.
  • Turkey Notes do not need to be well written! In fact, rhymes poorly written are usually the funniest!
  • Don’t think about it too much – just go with the first thing that pops into your head.
  • Children write the funniest Turkey Notes. Trust me! Give them something to write with and let their imaginations go!


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