Happy Thanksgiving! We asked the Merrimack Valley Mom Bloggers about their favorite way to celebrate the holiday. Check out what they had to say and then tell us about your own special traditions. Do you cook a special recipe every year? Take a walk around the neighborhood after the big meal? Simply enjoy connecting with your family? We want to hear!
Sue: Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. I love it when we all gather around the table and enjoy conversation, laughs, and food. Our celebration often changes from year to year. Some years I have spent it with my sister and her family at their home; other years I have had it at my house. Now that my oldest two kids are married, often we have extended family celebrating with us. This photo was taken on Thanksgiving 2012. My youngest son was taking the picture, and my oldest son and his wife were at her parent’s home for dinner. I have a nine foot long table and we are outgrowing it quickly! I am fortunate to still have my parents to celebrate with, along with my grandchildren. I am truly thankful for the Lord’s blessing of having four generations at my dinner table this year for Thanksgiving.
Kate: Our tradition is simple: spending Thanksgiving with family. I realize this sounds simple. Like, “Duh, that’s the point of Thanksgiving.” But we don’t have much family in our immediate area. Our nearest family is an hour away (unless you’re driving through traffic, in which case catching a flight from Manchester to Logan, then grabbing a commuter rail might be faster) and our nearest parent is 5 hours away. So getting together with family for Thanksgiving, as wonderful as it is, isn’t always a “given.” So every year, I try to stay home. “This year,” I announce with finality every October, “we are staying home.” And yet, somehow by the last Thursday in November, I find my little family sidled up to a long table filled with turkey, stuffing (or “dressing” if we’re with in in-laws), about 65 side dishes and surrounded with family. This year, I held out until the Sunday before. “No,” I stated with authority every time someone asked, “We are NOT going this year. I love you. It’s not you; it’s me. I just can’t do it this year. I need a break.” But this? This is my family. The chaos. The too loud talking. The too much food. The bickering over whose year it is to do the dishes. The too many kids under foot. The telling and retelling of the same stories. And while the thought of a simple, quiet day with my little, insular family is appealing, this gaggle is my family, too. And I simply can’t stay away. It’s not Thanksgiving, after all, without mom’s butternut squash (or the Orlando favorite Parker House rolls). So, over the river and through the woods we go. Again.
Danielle: Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays because it kicks off the magical holiday season. It is a time when you get to spend time with your family and friends and truly reflect on the things that matter most. As a child I always remember fondly watching the Thanksgiving Day Parade and eating my Mom’s delicious ice cream pie for breakfast the day after Thanksgiving. That Saturday we always put up the Christmas tree, decorate for the holidays, and listen to Christmas music. I love that I get to start sharing these traditions with Zoe and establishing the same memories for her. I feel so lucky!
Michaelene: Our family celebrates Thanksgiving along with several birthdays, football, and eating a weeks worth of calories. Thanksgiving is a time to give thanks. Nearly 8 Thanksgivings ago we gathered to celebrate my Grandmother’s 90th Birthday. Each place setting held a card with these printed words of thanks. This year we continue to do the same.
We Give Thanks
For each high and low tide.
For our children brought up with pride.
For cherished insignificant things.
And for songs our hearts sing.
For loved ones who forgive our failing ways.
For kindness received on dreary days.
For lessons learned without the pain.
For truth that comes with value, our wisdom gained.
For our soldiers and families that serve.
For it is them our freedom was earned.
For friendships sustained through thick and thin.
For your blessing until we gather again.
Jacqueline: Holidays in our house are always a hectic battle. Having a large family is not always the best thing on the holiday. but I wouldn’t have it any other way. Our holidays start with planning a few weeks in advance, deciding who will host Thanksgiving dinner. I find this the most important tradition to me. I honestly couldn’t care less on where the dinner is or what food is served, just as long as we are all together. From the time I was little, I knew where I would be on each holiday and who was going to be there. I came from a large family – both my parents were one of seven. Every Sunday we would be at my grandmother’s for a large family dinner. As a kid, sitting at your grandmother’s house was not always the place you wanted to be. However, as I got older, I started to value this tradition.
My grandmother passed away a few years ago and this tradition of weekly family dinners has sense stopped. I miss getting together with the family, sitting and talking. I miss that close-knit feeling that we knew we would always be there. Over the years my family has slowly been getting smaller. We welcome new cousins, nieces, and nephews into our family. Yet at the same time, we are saying goodbye to other family members.
As I get older, and now that I have my own family, I have come to realize that our traditions are not always the same each year. My husband is not always with us to celebrate the actual meal. My kids are sometimes upset about this, although they understand that he has a very important job as a firefighter. This coming Thanksgiving, my husband will be at work while my children and I will start our day with breakfast and a parade followed by cooking at my in-laws. My brother-in-law and I will be cooking for everyone. Our family will celebrate my youngest daughter, Rebecca, who will turn three on Thanksgiving Day. On our way home from my in-laws’ house, we will make a stop to see my husband at the firehouse to bring him some dinner and dessert. Then, we’ll go for another round of dessert with my family. We have no rhyme or reason to where we are, but we know exactly who we will see. As long as we see our family, we are happy.