Thanksgiving Day traditions vary widely, I’m sure. In preparation for this holiday post, I looked up a lot of them. While they included many great traditions, some of which we practice in our home, a couple of my favorites were missing.
First, the common traditions that we practice here are no doubt among the most common across the country. Macy’s Parade starts the day, very much as a background to the cooking and last-minute calls about who’s to bring what and when they’ll be here. It’s the ‘official’ start of Christmas movies and Christmas music playing virtually non-stop through the end of the year. Pies and bread baking in the oven, along with a 14 to 20 pound bird and plenty of savory and sweet side dishes fill the house with mouth-watering aromas. Gift exchanges are setup and our kids enjoy getting the names of their siblings in the secret Santa drawings.
Perhaps my favorite pastime – missing from the traditions I read about – is listening to the women in the kitchen. Since the passing of my brother-in-law, Tom, many years ago – the family matriarchy presides over the kitchen absolutely. Tom was perhaps the best conversationalist I’d ever known, and a great listener. Now it’s purely the women running the kitchen, from my wife and daughters to my wife’s sisters, (and formerly my mother-in-law before she passed) and they dominate the conversations about things that matter. The men are relegated to a mixing drinks, a steady stream of appetizers they can have now (vs. save that for the meal!), and to taking out the trash. Conversations among the women range from the foods being prepared to dates for family camping in the coming year, to the progress of our adult children and our grandchildren in their pursuits and more. I enjoy the life they bring to the holiday, as well as the love and food they prepare for the table. Of course, by this time, the guys are watching A Christmas Story or Miracle on 34th Street for the 211th time, and, of course, a football game.
The house is decorated for Thanksgiving, and the Christmas decorating begins in earnest on Thanksgiving weekend, if it hasn’t begun already. Much like Christmas Eve, I enjoy the time after all the visitors have gone. The time devoted to enjoying a glass of wine or a cocktail with my wife who evaluates what went well (or not), sharing some news that perhaps I hadn’t heard, and beginning plans for next year. That’s among the finest of traditions.
Here are a few places to think explore more Thanksgiving Day Traditions to consider for your own family, along with a few comments.
I got a practical start to the research at a blog for International Boarding Schools, of all places. The post, “Top 10 Thanksgiving traditions in the US” suggested this post was on the right track.
Oprah offers a nifty slide-show of 34 Unique Thanksgiving Traditions Your Family and Friends Will Adore You may get a pop-up or two to start with, but I found the slide show easy to glide through, with nifty matching graphics and a few sentences bringing the ideas in each slide to life.
Country living shares the 30 Best Thanksgiving Traditions to Try With Your Family This Year on a single long page of “fun and unusual activities will keep the crew entertained.”
I could (maybe next Thanksgiving) do a post about Friendsgiving – a tradition I witnessed my own adult kids getting into perhaps a decade ago – and mentioned several times in the research, including the links above. We enjoy having friends over on Thanksgiving, as well as family. I think the whole idea of Friendsgiving is a great one. My wife has a great banner on her website, CindyCooks.com: Treat Friends Like Family, and Family Like Friends. The flip side of this research was learning that some traditions flat out don’t match up with what we learned about the origins of Thanksgiving, between the Pilgrims and Native Americans, in grade school. While many traditions are no doubt shared, if you Google “native american thanksgiving traditions” you may find links to “a day of mourning.”
When all is said and done, Thanksgiving to me is simply a day to celebrate our blessings and to give thanks…a shared day of celebration and thanks if you’re lucky. Be lucky. Happy Thanksgiving!
With all best wishes for you and yours to enjoy a Happy Thanksgiving!
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