I’m big on traditions: following them, making them, tweaking them, reinventing them. Thanksgiving and Christmas vie the place of “my favorite holiday” mainly because they are both rich with traditions.
The advantage of Thanksgiving is that the traditions tend to be simpler and less time consuming. I’m so thankful to be able to spend the time slowly teaching my children what we value, not day by day, but year by year.
One of my favorite traditions that my daughter’s and I have established is reading Cranberry Thanksgiving by Wende and Harry Devlin and making the bread from the recipe on the back cover. A couple of days before Thanksgiving, we get out the book and snuggle up on the couch. Then the girls pick through the cranberries, looking for any bad ones, then we mix and stir and wait impatiently for the bread to bake. I really don’t know how they’d react if we skipped it.
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The boys have never really participated in the reading or the baking. Sure they’re around, but they’ve generally been to mobile to get much of the story. But today, something clicked. Suddenly the story was interesting, Bulldozer looked with wide eyes as Mr. Whiskers chased Mr. Horace round and round. Even Satchmo stayed close and wasn’t too distracting.
The boys involvement in our Thanksgiving tradition was limited to the story and eating the bread (well, Satchmo wasn’t too impressed with it), but I have hopes that next year they’ll be sorting cranberries with the rest of us. And who knows, maybe in a few years our tradition will be the boys cook the turkey, mom takes a nap. I could be thankful for that.