Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Thanksgiving traditions.

Real life conversation:

My husband: "What was that sigh for?"
Me: "I have to write my thanksgiving blog and I don't know what to write about."
My husband: "Um, Thanksgiving."
Me: "No really, what should I write about?"
MH: "Dry turkey...I hate dry turkey."
Me: "Have I ever made you dry turkey?"
MH: "No, but you wait so long and it's so disappointing when it's dry."

Then he goes on and on about food... so I'm thinking maybe I should blog about food.
Or decorating! I love decorating for Thanksgiving! The colors and textures are brilliant...

Really there are so many things I could blog about that I'm stymied by the possibilities. I even asked my children what they liked best about Thanksgiving. I expected answers such as pie and cookies but the unifying answer was spending time with family. 

So I started thinking about family....and traditions. And how traditions change over the years.

Every holiday tradition I have, all my favorite memories, revolve around my grandma. She was the most amazing woman you could ever meet and I treasure everything she taught me.

My earliest memories of Thanksgiving were of my grandma in the kitchen, painstakingly going over the bird, removing any pin feathers. She'd soak the turkey in salt water the night before to remove any impurities in the meat. I don't know if it worked; you don't question grandma. She cooked from 4 am till 1 pm or so. As soon as I could hold a knife or a potato peeler, I was in the kitchen with her. 

As the years passed, I cooked more of the meal and she became the consultant, sitting at the kitchen table and taste-approving everything.  The first Thanksgiving after my grandfather died, I pulled the turkey out of the oven and stared at it with tears in my eyes. Who would carve it now? Eventually, my uncle stepped up with a knife. He's carved it ever since.

Over the years there have been a few changes in our traditions. I don't put that turkey in until 8 am or so...and that way, I also get to watch a little of the game. I also made it a little bit of a potluck. Each family member brings a side dish. We like sweets. Every year we have about 12 pies. Also, I don't let anyone fill up a plate and run off to the TV. We sit down at a table like civilized people. Okay, so I put the table in the living room so we can still watch the game, but it's the principle that counts. One must compromise.

Two years ago, my grandma passed away. That first year, we did something completely different: Mexican food for Thanksgiving. No one was ready to face tradition without the one who created them.

So although I love turkey and all the fixings, it's not just the food, not just decorations or the football games that makes Thanksgiving special. It's gathering together, preparing a meal together, fighting, making up and getting sick on pie. It's reminiscing over shared memories and making new ones that holds us together, makes us a family and together, we pass the traditions down to the next generation. My kids are right. It's about family. And that is my favorite part of Thanksgiving.


  1. Ha! He would! (the dry turkey LOL)

    I think family and traditions are my favorite part about Thanksgiving too. Since i don't eat meat, the turkey doesn't really do much for me. For me it's getting together with the family (at my grams...at the table in the living room as well ; ) ) ...something i can always count on? my mom and my aunt end up arguing over something completely dumb...and my aunt trying to force us all to play really annoying and boring board games! LOL

  2. Sweet! And hey, I could do some mexican one year. Oh, maybe chinese. Oh, or maybe ...

    Look at what you've done!

  3. Hi Vanessa,

    Yeah, I'm pretty sure 9 will be introducing games to the Thanksgiving mix. "Anyone want to play Gestures?" ; )

  4. Crystal,

    Chinese is just taking it too far! LOL.