Traditions and Non-Traditions

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As the holidays are approaching again, I've been thinking about family traditions. Maybe your family has traditions that are as set-in-stone as the "laws of the Medes and Persians, which altereth not." In my family, though, our traditions are always evolving, depending on the the situation each year. Some years we are privileged to get together with extended family. Other years we are by ourselves. Also, traditions that were important when our children were very small no longer apply now that the children are older.

I remember the first year I was away from home at college, my parents invited my future husband home with me for Thanksgiving. I told my mother to be sure and bake lots of pies because I had told my boyfriend how we always had many different kinds of pie at Thanksgiving. Mother laughed. Turns out we had only done that one other time (the previous year), but in my mind it was a tradition. She obligingly baked lots of pies that year, and she still does when we have the rare opportunity to have an extended family Thanksgiving dinner-- though, due to distance, those times have been few and far between in recent years.

Yesterday we were discussing plans for Thanksgiving with the children. It looks like this will be one of those years when we will be by ourselves. We were making plans to fix a nice dinner, and talking about other things we would like to do that day to celebrate. My youngest daughter had an idea: "Daddy could play 'Turkey in the Straw' on the piano after dinner!" (My husband is not a pianist. "Turkey in the Straw" is one of two songs he knows how to play.)

I wondered why she came up with that idea, but then I got a sneaking suspicion. "Is 'Turkey in the Straw' a Thanksgiving song?" I inquired.

"Well, duh!" she said. "It's about a turkey!"

There ya go. I think we have a new tradition that will be fun to explain in years to come when the grandchildren come along!

I've discovered that the most important tradition is that we remain flexible and just enjoy each other, regardless of who or what that might include.

What unique holiday traditions (or non-traditions) does your family have?

Counting my blessings!
~Karla Cook
Lifelong Learner

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4 Comments

  1. bp

    One thing I thought of is that my Mom will ask if we have any requests for the meal or desserts. This year Caleb said chocolate chip cookies.

    Happy Thanksgiving!

  2. Pingback: Thanksgiving Dinner | Sonlight Blog

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  4. Janis

    My in-laws serve the same exact menu every year. Turkey, dressing, Niblets corn with butter, cream peas, mashed potatoes, rolls, and some pie (although that depends on who shows up to bring them). I learned this my first year dating my husband. That's the year that my family tried something "new and different" and served lasagna for Thanksgiving. I have definitely preferred the solid tradition of knowing exactly what would be on the menu at my in-law's celebration. My family has settled into a potluck offering.

    At Christmas my family does Secret Santa and we really look forward to that every year instead of trying to buy for so many more people. I really love how traditions really anchor you into a "safe" place. Grounding you in your own history.