A Very Merry Thanksgiving from My Family to Yours!
November 12, 2012
As we all know, every family is unique in terms of relationships, beliefs, traditions, and celebrations. My family began combining Thanksgiving and Christmas together into one huge celebration about twenty years ago. We started this tradition because one of our siblings moved out of state, and we couldn’t bear to celebrate the holidays without them.
With Missouri winters being quite unpredictable and the concern that our out-of-state family would not be able to travel during the Christmas season, we decided merging the holidays would be the perfect solution. Over the last twenty years, our family has grown so much that we now have to rent a large building to accommodate the entire brood.
Before we begin our Thanksgiving/Christmas meal, we gather around the room and give each person the opportunity to share what they are thankful for. Some choose to share a special blessing they have received the past year, while another may share just one heartfelt word or phrase of thanksgiving. This takes some time, but it is a precious memory and well worth every moment spent.
Everyone’s favorite comes next: the family meal. And what a glorious spread it is! What makes it even more special is that our 87 year old father, who has Alzheimer’s disease, is still able to share the blessing.
After we have stuffed ourselves with the traditional turkey, ham, and all the trimmings, we mingle and visit with one another. The adults spend much of the afternoon playing games, laughing, taking photos, as well as reminiscing by sharing family childhood memories and stories. We always try to plan something fun and entertaining that involves the younger family members, such as a craft or a special game or two.
Later in the afternoon, we begin the annual family gift exchange. Our parents and the small children seem to always receive a sleigh load of gifts. We end the evening with a very entertaining white elephant gift exchange that keeps us in stitches for a couple more hours.
The majority of the family members stay in the same hotel, and we continue the celebration the entire four days of the Thanksgiving holiday. It’s always hard to say goodbye on Sunday, so we try very hard to focus on our next annual gathering in late May.
Is it a ‘let down’ when December 25th actually comes around, you ask? Absolutely not! We still have our immediate family to share the traditional Christmas holiday with.
In a world run by cell phones, computers, and virtual networking, the comfort of family becomes rarer all the time. I would like to challenge each of you to try and spend some quality family togetherness this holiday season and create some special memories, or maybe start a new family tradition of your own.
Remember to visit your local MCPL branch early and often during the holiday season. Some of my favorite family recipes, games, stories, crafts, and gifts have been discovered at my favorite one stop shop, the Library! …and it was ALL FREE!
I would love to know what some of your holiday family traditions are. Please feel free to share! It’s always fun to learn from each other, and you may be helping someone create a new family tradition of their own!