10 Thanksgiving Traditions to Start This Year

Thanksgiving is all about the tradition. Every family’s got one (or a few)–some are fun, others are sentimental, and then there are those that are just plain wacky! This year, go beyond the turkey and pumpkin pie and add a new noteworthy ritual to your Thanksgiving Day routine.

Thankful Tablecloth

There’s no better time of the year to count your blessings than Thanksgiving. Pick up a white canvas drop cloth—most home improvement stores should have them for around $10. After ironing the cloth, drape it over your Thanksgiving table. Add a cup or dish full of Sharpies to your table setting (keep them all the same ink color). Before it’s time to get your grub on, have each guest write down something they are thankful for on the tablecloth along with their signature. Each year, pull out the same tablecloth and continue the tradition using a different colored Sharpie or fabric marker. You’ll be so grateful to have the signatures of everyone who’s joined you for Thanksgiving over the years, especially those who may no longer be with you. TIP: Use extra care if you need to wash your tablecloth! Consider embroidering each gratitude and signature to make it durable. You definitely don’t want these special memories to fade.

Run for Seconds

Earn that second helping of mashed potatoes! Register with friends and family to run or walk a local 5k, Turkey Trot, or charity run on Thanksgiving morning. Participating in a race offers a fun and festive way to kick off the day, plus you’ll feel great about burning off a few extra calories before you indulge. Don’t forget to order festive t-shirts to commemorate the occasion! For more inspiration, check out our list of terrific turkey run team names and thanksgiving slogans.

Propose a Toast

This year at your Thanksgiving table start a toasting tradition. Pull out the bubbly or sparkling cider along with your favorite champagne flutes—you can custom order your own here! Begin with the host or hostess. They must toast one person at the table by stating one thing they are thankful for in regards to that person. Then, the person who was just toasted must toast someone else. So on and so forth, until the last person then has to toast the host or hostess who started. This will really force you and your guests to slow things down and take time out of the day for each other. Cheers to what you are and who you are with on this Thanksgiving!

Give Back

Spend this Thanksgiving getting wrapped up in the spirit of giving. Find a local homeless shelter or soup kitchen where you can help prepare and serve a hot meal. If leaving your own kitchen on Thanksgiving Day is unrealistic, make a donation to a local food bank. Get the kids involved by having them each pick out a few canned goods or other non-perishable items from the grocery store for a donation. Maybe visit a retirement home around the holiday and bring some flowers or donate the gift of good conversation. Offer to distribute food or bring small gifts to children or the elderly at your local hospital. Whatever speaks to you, there are plenty of ways to actively give thanks this year, and hopefully it will become a long-lasting family tradition.

Parade & Brunch

Who says your Thanksgiving meal has to be dinner? It’s likely that you start your morning by watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on TV, so why not host a brunch while you’re at it! Serve up some turkey, cranberry, and mayo sliders along with some pumpkin waffles or muffins. Add a bowl of orange, apple, and raisin fall fruit salad and sweet potato and brussels sprout hash to the spread. Make a batch of cranberry mimosas or some maple bacon bloody marys for the grown ups. Don’t forget the hot apple cider for the kids! Flip the parade on the big screen and chow down on this fresh and fun twist on the traditional Thanksgiving meal.

Shake Your Tailfeathers

If you haven’t seen the Minute to Win It game ‘Junk in the Trunk,’ do yourself a favor and watch a clip—it’ll have you itching to play this Thanksgiving themed version! Collect enough empty tissue boxes to have one for each player. Fill the tissue slots with a couple of handfuls of craft feathers. Duct tape a pair of panty hose to the box, so that the box is in the middle. Now, it’s time to play. Give each player a tissue box and have them tie the panty hose around their waist, so that the tissue box is on their backside. On go, or when you start some music, players have to shake, jump, and move around until all of the feathers fall out of their tissue box. The first one to empty their box wins!

Book of Thanks

Have each guest bring a copy of a photo or two featuring something they are thankful for from the past year. This can be a family picture, a snapshot of a fun trip, a portrait of a close friend, or some other special memory. Provide a blank book so that each guest can secure in their photo and write a little snippet in regards to what it is they are thankful for. Each year, continue the tradition by starting a new book, but also pull out the old ones to look back on. It’s a great way to capture memories and the perfect reminder that there’s always something to be thankful for.

Friends & Family Football

What says ‘Happy Thanksgiving’ more than a friendly game of football? Organize a game of classic touch football for all to enjoy. Start a new tradition by creating personalized team jerseys that you can break out for the Big Game for years to come. Keep things interesting by making the losing team clean up after your turkey dinner. If you’re not in to going outside and tossing the football yourself, just gather up the gang and cheer on your favorite team on TV.

Pies-giving

Instead of a traditional Thanksgiving, do an all pie-themed meal. Every guest, couple, or family brings a pie along with the recipe to share. Make sure that all attendees understand that pie is a very broad term and can go well beyond the traditional pecan and pumpkin. Think savory or sweet—pizza, potpie, quiches, tarts, and more! Your pie table will be the center of the event, so dress it up with a festive tablecloth and a few small pumpkins and flowers. Don’t forget to have labels available so each guest can write down what it is they brought and everyone knows what it is they’re tasting. If you want to keep things interesting, appoint a judge or have everyone vote for the overall best pie. Award the winner with a custom apron! If your Thanksgiving Day is too crammed for this pie-themed party, add this fun holiday tradition to the day after so you can refuel after all that Black Friday shopping—plus, it’s a unique way to use up some of those leftovers!

Family Photo

Use the annual gathering to take a family photo. It may seem obvious, but so often we forget to document the things that really matter on Thanksgiving—our family, not the buffet! There’s likely to be a camera wiz among the guests, but if no one knows how to set up a tripod, it is easy enough to use a self-timer on someone’s phone. Try setting a phone or camera with a timer on a fireplace mantel to take a photo at a decent angle. Just gather up the group and simply capture a sweet pic of everyone. Don’t worry about the picture being perfect. Besides, who doesn’t love a good candid photo? Your annual pictures will be fun to look back on for years to come. Bonus: a copy of your photo will make a great Christmas gift or Holiday card.

Custom GAP Gear

Iron On Sticker is excited to exclusively offer GAP t-shirts! Now you can outfit your group in new styles that feel like old favorites. The GAP fits you love—classic crew necks and comfortable v-necks—are now available for your next group order. Shop our new GAP collection and customize the shirts you know provide the ultimate in style and comfort.

GAP delivers incredibly soft high quality t-shirts that are sure to impress your group. The GAP Essential Crewneck Tee is available in New White, Moonless Night, and Tapestry Navy.

Garment-dyed and washed with a special technique for incredible softness, the GAP Ladies Vintage Wash Crewneck Tee comes in Optic White, Granite Heather, True Black, and Moore Blue.

V-necks from GAP are an easy go-to for any group or occasion. Thanks to the soft garment washed fabric, the GAP Essential Short Sleeve V‑Neck Tee is sure to be a favorite everyday tee.

If your group is looking for the perfect ladies fit v-neck, the GAP Ladies Vintage V-Neck Tee is one of the softest out there. The small front pocket and trendy colors, like Jungle Green and Fresh Coral, will keep your group stylish.

GAP delivers incredibly soft, high quality, retail t-shirts that are sure to impress your group. Classic, cool, and always in style—shop our exclusive GAP collection today!

Samantha’s Story: Walking for Willie

Every t-shirt tells a story. Whether it’s a reminder of a distant memory, a celebratory souvenir, or a fabric badge of courage, t-shirts take on meaning well beyond their original intent. –IRON ON STICKER

How do you best honor loved ones in times of trouble? With hope and determination. For Samantha Davis, whose father Willie was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease seven years ago, the struggle to separate person from illness has tragically become a familiar one.

“Alzheimer’s Disease has been running in my family,” she says. “My dad is the youngest of 12. Out of the 12, seven of his siblings have passed from Alzheimer’s disease. And I also have some first cousins who have recently started to become diagnosed…”

Making the decision to participate in a walk to raise awareness and funds for Alzheimer’s disease research was easy for Samantha; deciding how to celebrate her father while doing it required some more thought.

“I wanted something to show what we were representing,” she explains, “Not only just a walk for Alzheimer’s, but you know, of course, for my father, I wanted to do that for him.”

Samantha decided to use Custom Ink to create a t-shirt to commemorate the day of the walk. That decision was a hit with her family, loved ones, and even those who had never had the pleasure of meeting her dad.

“The family was so supportive,” she smiles, “Everyone was like, ‘Well how can I get one?’…I even had coworkers that didn’t even know my dad, but they wanted to support and they purchased shirts… So, it was a big hit.”

The day of the walk drew local family and friends to rally in honor of Willie. As the group, clad in purple – the chosen color for Alzheimer’s awareness – walked together, the shirts helped create a sense of connection amid the thousands of other marchers.

“[The shirts] brought a lot of love to that moment,” Samantha says, “It just showed how much people truly cared and just wanted to be involved. I really honestly didn’t expect as many people to support us…  It really showed a lot of love.”

Continuing to fight for an Alzheimer’s disease cure remains a top priority for Samantha, as is the daily care for her father, which has been challenging as the disease has progressed.

“…He’s nonverbal now. But he’ll smile, he’ll laugh. You can still see a little bit of him, a little bit of his personality is still there,” Samantha explains, “It’s been a struggle for my mom and I, but you know, we’ve remained pretty strong with everything and tried to be here for him. Although he may not know who we are, you know, we’re taking it day by day.”

For those unable to join in the day of the walk, the shirts provided a way to show support and love from all over the country. And, each one has become a lasting momento of that special day for all of Samantha’s family and friends.

Check out our new TV spot featuring Samantha’s real-life story, and how her custom t-shirts helped bring her family and friends together in honor of her father, Willie Davis.

Are Designer T-shirts Worth the Outrageous Price Tag?

As I casually browsed through my friend Paula’s latest article about designer t-shirts: T-Shirt Design: Achieving a fashion look by using the right printing technique, my heart nearly came to a halt as a I noticed the Dolce & Gabbana t-shirt price tag, a whooping €395. As someone who knows about fashion (or likes to think so) and regularly follows the ups and downs of the industry (aka drooling at the expensive store’s windows), I really shouldn’t be surprised. After all, it is a bargain compared to the Lanvin one which goes at $1,130.

Last summer, Kanye West made headlines when he joined forces with the French brand A.P.C. to release his own fashion line. The controversy started when it was announced that a plain white t-shirt of said collection was going at $120. The so-called “Hip Hop shirt” was one of the first items to sell out – only to wind up at e-bay a few days later with an inflated value of $300.

So what is it about this designer t-shirt that makes it so bloody expensive? Especially when we can get one at £10 that looks just the same? Well, there are several reasons.

It’s not neuroscience, or is it?
It’s neither a suit nor a haute couture gown, but some t-shirts do fit better than others. Do the shoulder hems align with your bones? Does the neck hold you or choke you? If there is a cool design printed on it, how much time was it spent on research to pick that one image? Is it an illustration? Did they do it from scratch? A better fit and a bolder design usually means someone spent valuable time working on the garment. The more time then the more expensive it will be.

Is it made of gold or something?
High-end brands tend to go for the best of the best. Pima cotton garments (which is similar to Egyptian cotton) can go up to £30 because the material is so soft and absorbent. Cheap t-shirts are made with less precious cotton that’s softened with silicone and other substances. That’s why when we pick them up at the store they feel like a puppy’s fur, but after a few washes the fabric starts to feel like a cat’s tongue instead.

Some hands cost more than others
Another reason why special designer t-shirts are so expensive is because most of them are produced in the western world where the cost of manual labour is higher than in Africa and Asia where most of the more affordable brand’s factories are located.

The a-lot-of-money-spending syndrome
Now, here’s where the real shade starts. You may be realising that the manual labour of a western citizen, good quality material and the salary of a person who spent a good deal of time designing a cool t-shirt raises the prices of the garment, but sometimes it doesn’t add up. Let’s go back to Kanye West. One quick visit to the A.P.C. website will confirm that their t-shirts usually go for between €70 and €80 but Kanye’s was sold at €120 and it was plain white. The only reason I can come up with is that it had the singer’s name attached to it.

It is a known fact that luxury brands inflate the value of their products to maintain their exclusivity. Earlier this year, Burberry announced that it would be raising their prices to attract a wealthier clientele. In these times of economical turmoil companies like Burberry stay afloat because these rich folk aren’t buying t-shirts, bags or shoes, they’re buying status. Our reptile brain has been wired to believe that if something is more expensive then it must be better and if he’s one of the few who can purchase it then he’ll feel better about himself.

Sometimes a high price doesn’t equate with quality. Companies assign these rates because they know it’s going to sell. Period.

So, is it worth the price tag? That, my friend, depends completely on you! Yes, I know, I pulled the Dumbledore-in-the-end-I-really-don’t-have-the-answers move, but it truly does completely depend on you. In my experience, there are a ton of affordable brands who make great quality designer t-shirts. The only time that I would consider investing would be if the garment had a really wicked, hard to find, one-of-a kind-design. But, then again, if you feel fabulous in a simple, white, designer t-shirt, simply because it has a celebrity’s name attached to it, then by all means be my guest.

From Cotton to Customer: How T-Shirt is Made

T-shirts are durable, classic, and versatile garments with mass appeal as a staple closet item. The life of a T-Shirt begins in cotton fields most commonly found in the US or India. They’re typically made of 100% cotton but can be found in polyester or a polyester-cotton blend. Fabric uses vary depending on the designers choice of material and budget; stretchable knit fabrics or jersey, which is comparatively inexpensive and great for screen printing and heat applications, are commonly used. Before a T-shirt is stocked by your favorite retailer, it goes through several processes.

Field to Gin

The cotton balls are put into a gin where the usable cotton is mechanically separated from the seeds and chaff. Modern cotton gins use multiple powered cleaning cylinders and saws which leads to higher productivity and less labor intensive work than previous methods required.

Spinner to Loom

Bales of cotton fibers are spun at a facility where they are carded, combed and blended. Before the carding stage, which involves separating the fibers into loose strands, the cotton is taken off a picking machine. The spun cotton is then knit on a loom (the weaving process) into a rough greyish fabric.

Wet Processing

The fabric is treated with heat and chemicals where is takes on its final touch and appearance. Examples of this include bleaching, printing, and dyeing. At this stage, the fabric goes through inspection for grey textile. This process is typically divided into three separate stages of preparation, coloration, and finishing. Fabric are “finished” to the desired softness and coloring.

Cut and Sew

Often times the finished fabric travels great distances to its next stop, the sewing facility. 15% of the fabric will end up on the cutting room floor as sewers create the blank garments.

Transforming Into a Perfect Print

The customer contacts a screen-printing facility to finalize design specifics. At this stage, Pantone colors, sizing, placement, and ink type are all confirmed. Each color in the artwork is separated and printed onto clear film. This is called a film positive.

Screen Printing

The films are used to expose the image onto mesh screens that have a photo sensitive emulsion. Each screen is exposed on a vacuum sealed UV Light table. The screens are rinsed with water and the images are checked for accuracy. The screens are registered into place on an automatic screen press that can print up 900 t-shirts an hour! Each screen has a unique color loaded into it with either plastisol or water

At Your Door

In the last stage, the printed t-shirts are folded, sorted and placed into inventory. When an order is placed online the t-shirt is pulled from inventory, packed and shipped to its new home.

Up Sell with Gear Bags

Gear bags are a great way to up sell to your current customers but offering them a gear bag to tow all of their supplies in. Whether it be an athletic team that you’re decorating jerseys (iron on vinyl) for or a laptop bag for a company who you customized shirts for, everyone can use a gear bag of some sort. Gear bags include much more than just bat bags or ball bags. You can customize laptop bags, messenger bags, back packs, gym bags, duffel bags, etc. The options are endless.