Sometimes the best traditions around Thanksgiving aren’t just the food, but what happens around the table once the food has been cleared away.

In my family, the means an insanely competitive game of Spoons among the cousins. Spoons is a card game that is kind of like musical chairs. Start with one deck of cards. Everyone gets four cards.

Put spoons in the middle of the table, using one less spoon that the number of people playing.





Start passing cards one at a time. The first person to get four of a kind grabs the first spoon.











Once the first spoon is claimed, everyone else has their chance to grab a spoon.  Chaos ensues.  Polite families take one and get out of the way. My family? We scatter them to the four winds. Thrown under the table, into other rooms, into the laps of competitors. Its much more fun that way.

The odd person out who does not get a spoon  – because you put down one less than the number of people playing – gets a letter by their name to spell out S-P-O-O-N or J-A-C-K-A-S-S or whatever you want.  But teasing the loser isn’t the fun part. The fun part is watching people completely panic trying to get the last spoon.

We are not above trying to steal them out of someone else’s hand.                                                                                                      










WARNING: This has led to several scars and lost feeling in my pinky for a few days. I got that damn spoon, though.










Photos courtesy of Katie Barnes, my insanely talented cousin. She wisely decides to record, rather than play, Spoons. Her hands are remarkably scar-free.