I am big on tradition. I love hearing traditions that other parents have adopted, and adapting them to fit into our family. I have said it before, but it’s worth repeating, that I think traditions built on love and instilling values is the glue to our family. With that said, Thanksgiving is a big one in our home. There is no mention of Pilgrims or Indians (unless you count the Indian headdress Lola made in school, and has been wearing the last week. but even that is her “Mayan Princess Hat”). What we do celebrate is a day to be thankful, a day of gratitude to come together to eat our favorite foods, and enjoy each other over a long meal. We give thanks to the farmers, and farm workers that grow our food all year, and buy as much local food as possible. Our menu does not contain turkey, as a matter of fact there is no mention of turkey at our table at all. I usually make tamales, everything else is the traditional Thanksgiving dinner, except for the addition of Yucca con Mojo.
The kids favorite part of Thanksgiving is building our “Thankful Tree”. This is so easy, and it really helps everyone to think about all we have to be thankful for. The tree trunk can be made out of a paper bag. The leaves are made by tracing our hands and cutting them out. Different color construction paper works best, but paper bags can be used as well. Each day in November, we make a new leaf and write down what we are thankful for. When Thanksgiving arrives, this is what we have.
Another tradition that I started the first year L&D were home is our tablecloth. I bought just a basic white table-cloth, and each year we add our names, handprints, drawings…whatever we want to it. We usually do this in colored pencil, then I go over it in fabric marker, that way I can throw it in the wash, but all the drawings are still there. I then try to embroidery each new signature in time for the following Thanksgiving, but since that doesn’t always happen, at least the name is saved with permanent pen. There are a few red wine stains (and I am sure a few more to come) but this just adds to the appeal.
Something new I added this year, is our Homemade Friday. It makes me sad that the commercialism and buy-buy-buy ethic surrounding the months of November and December has reached such a frenzy. Instead, the day after Thanksgiving (also known as Black Friday) has become a chill day for our family. We bake, listen to music and make Christmas crafts. I have always had the kids sit down and make Christmas gifts for friends and family each year. This offers them the benefit of knowing the joy of giving. They are always so proud of the gifts that they make. We also take them around our neighborhood and give them to our neighbors. So when so many are rushing around the stores buying up the best deals in town, I know that we are creating a lifetime of priceless memories!