The Only Thanksgiving Tradition Your Kids Will Ever Need
Once upon a time, I was killing myself with guilt because I was too sick to take the kids out for a Thanksgiving parade. It was something I wanted to start doing each year to start another tradition with my kids. My husband was trying to comfort me and finally said, “You don’t have to make everyday a memory. They can only remember so much anyway. What are the things you remember about Thanksgiving? Did you go to a parade? Or was it the smaller things?”
Our conversation went on about what we remember most about our childhood, especially around the holidays. My most fond memory of Thanksgiving was cooking with my grandmother. She used to come get me the day before Thanksgiving and we would spend the afternoon and evening cooking. I was really too little to help when she first started doing this, so I got to do things like stir and lick the spoon. As, I got older, she let me use more items and cook more things. The best memory I have is using the Handy Chopper to chop onions and pecans that she had put in! I could chop like nobody else, and she made sure she told me that every single time! I remember at the dinner table, she would go on and on about how I “made” the dressing and “made” the crab meat cheese ball. All the while, I would be thinking, “All I did was chop the onions!” She would look at me with a smile and everyone would just make the biggest thing out of how well I did!
At some point, I was cooking my own Thanksgiving dishes and bringing them to her house. To this day, I love to cook! I really enjoy holiday cooking and hosting dinner at my own house. I believe that her taking the time to include me and praise me really made me have a love for cooking and serving others.
So, instead of killing yourself to make little place cards out of pine cones, setting out Thanksgiving word searches at the kids table, making sure the kids have their own hand made center pieces, or making little turkeys out of feathers and hand prints, just include your kids in what it is YOU are doing. Let them be a part of the preparing and serving of others! Praise them for doing well, and do not go back and fix their mistakes. Let everyone else know that they helped you, and be sure to do that in the presence of others. Those things not only gave me wonderful memories to cherish, but also set an example for me of how good it can feel to contribute to a project for others!
A side note:
I was only married a short time when we moved 1200 miles away from my grandmother, and I no longer got to have Thanksgiving dinner with her. We moved back last week and the first thing my grandmother said to me when she saw me was, “I have the community center booked for Thanksgiving!” To me, this means that even though our family has outgrown her house, she will never let us outgrow her heart…or her Thanksgiving traditions! I cannot WAIT to cook with her and my daughter this year!!