Friday, November 18, 2011

Seeds of Wisdom --- Thanksgiving Traditions

It is less than one week until Thanksgiving.  This week, we would like to share our Thanksgiving traditions with you.

We are breaking from tradition this year, since it will be first big holiday since my Father in Law passed away. We will be gathering at my sister in law's house for a quiet family dinner. This year we are being intentional about being thankful and we {my husband and I} will include all the items that we have listed throughout the month during dinner.

We started a new Thanksgiving tradition last year. Because we are a military family, and move around, we thought it would be fun to add dishes specific to the area we live in to our traditional Thanksgiving selections. Because we currently live in a community that is mostly Hispanic, we made bolillos, which are Mexican rolls. We also watch the movie, "It's a Wonderful Life." That is a fun way to transition to the Christmas season!

We tend to alternate each year which side of the family we visit. Last year, we celebrated Thanksgiving at my parents' house, and this year we will visit my husband's side. Each extended family has their own traditions. On my side, there is always turkey and trimmings, lots of desserts most involving pumpkin or chocolate, football - watching and playing, and Bingo. When we visit my husband's side, there is turkey and trimmings, with additional Italian dishes, and playing cards. For our immediate family, the younger children dress up as Pilgrims or Native Americans and we watch the Macy parade.

I used to want to be in control of our Thanksgiving celebration. You know, plan the menu, decide on the day's schedule, etc. But in reality, I realize that just surrendering to the wild whirl of family and food is what makes the day for my children. They love the busy time of being with cousins and eating Grandma's food. I usually 'prepare' for the holiday by reading our collection of Thanksgiving and colonial America picture books.

Oddly, we don't really have very many Thanksgiving traditions. It seems we celebrate different every year. Sometimes we celebrate with extended family, sometimes with friends, and sometimes by ourselves. About the only thing that is ever guaranteed is the fried turkey. If we're at home, then the Christmas tree goes up on Black Friday after I'm done shopping.

We stay at home, and dress up after making our dinner together. We don't like turkey, so we usually do ham. This year we are looking at other options, but will keep all of the usual side dishes. Perhaps a chicken? Not sure! Our favorite part is always making our pies from scratch. I always take a hundred pictures of that process. Many hands always make it taste better!  At dinner, we always take turns sharing what we are thankful for. We write our thanks on construction paper leaves.

We are counting down to thanksgiving with an advent calendar, writing our thanksgivings on a slip of paper each day. On Thanksgiving, we will read them all. We love a big turkey dinner as well. And since we live far away from family, we love to open our home to others who are away from their families. Sharing our home at Thanksgiving is a tradition that our kids, even at 4 and 3 years of age, already expect and look forward to.

What thanksgiving traditions do you have?

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