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Holidays and Sports: Our Favorite Traditions for the Best Time of Year

The holidays are often filled with family, friends and a whole lot of food. But if you ask us what our favorite part about the holidays is, we’d quickly answer sports. From Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day, we’re breaking down the best holiday traditions you can join in on this year while recovering from your food coma.

Mashed Potatoes, Stuffing, And a Six-Legged Turkey

The Thanksgiving Day football tradition started with the historic Detroit Lions win against the Chicago Bears in 1934, which was also the very first radio-broadcasted football game. For Thanksgiving this year, the Detroit Lions will play the Chicago Bears, the Dallas Cowboys will play the Washington Redskins and the New Orleans Saints will play the Atlanta Falcons. The three games are broadcasted strategically so fans can catch football throughout the entire day.

One of our favorite NFL Thanksgiving Day traditions is the John Madden Turkey Leg Award which is given to the most valuable player of the primetime Thanksgiving Day game. Since the first Turkey Leg Award between legendary sportscaster John Madden and Reggie White of the Eagles, the prized turkey has since morphed into having six legs after Madden said on air how he wished he had enough drumsticks to give to the Cowboys' five-man offensive line in addition to Emmit Smith in 1990.

All I Want for Christmas is 12 Hours of Basketball

What could possibly rival Santa Claus for popularity on Christmas Day? Over 12 hours’ worth of true basketball bliss. Not only are the games exciting, but since 2012, players have suited up in special edition Christmas jerseys, making the games even more thrilling to watch. The NBA also creates festive and fun commercials to get fans excited for the Christmas Day games. A past favorite has been Jingle Hoops, where star players Derrick Rose, Kevin Durant, Steph Curry, James Harden, Steve Nash, and Lebron James are wearing their seasonal jerseys and every shot they make in the hoop makes a jingle bell noise making it sound like the song, “Jingle Bells.”

Boxing Day Rules: Can’t Use Your Hands

The celebrations and sports don’t stop when Christmas ends! In fact, on December 26, soccer fans can celebrate Boxing Day, as most other leagues are on a holiday break. The Premier League, the highest profile league in the United Kingdom sets an exciting lineup of the best teams and players playing head-on in 10 matches against one another. Many fans can be seen dawning Santa Claus outfits in the stands.

New Year’s Resolution: Watch More Football

Thanks to the College Football Playoff National Championship, we have multiple New Year's Eve and Day events to celebrate during the postseason knockout tournament with the New Year’s Six. Pasadena California has fully embraced this football tradition, merging it with their Rose Parade which started in 1890. Every New Year’s Day, floral floats and spirited marching bands parade down the streets of California, and now in addition to this long-standing tradition, they watch football after!

Winter Wonderland for Ice Hockey Fans

The NHL Winter Classic is just what it sounds like...cold. This premier NHL event started in 2008 and is annually held on New Year’s Day. It showcases the league’s most popular teams and players. It is held outdoors, typically at football or baseball stadiums, and fans should be prepared to bring heavy parka jackets. A blizzard hit the 2014 Detroit Red Wings and Toronto Maple Leaves game in Ann Arbor, Michigan. These severe weather conditions didn’t stop the fans from cheering their teams on or the players from playing the game. The uncertain weather conditions have proven to add an exciting element to the Winter Classic games.

What is your favorite holiday sports tradition? Let us know on Twitter.

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