Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Thanksgiving Traditions

Traditions are a very important ingredient in making close knit families. They not only provide beautiful memories, but stability for a child. In this quickly changing world, knowing that some things don't change- that every year, on a particular day, 'such and such' will happen helps a child feel secure and happy.

It's not only important to have traditions, but to choose our traditions wisely. Just because it is done every year does not mean it is good for the child. I think a wise mamma, while her children are still young, will be careful to plan traditions that provide deep, important, and often, spiritual meanings behind them.

In doing so, we need to be careful that we do not make it too 'religious.' Religion is NOT the same as spirituality and, I'm afraid, is often a means of making otherwise happy events, quite dull. This is not the fault of the Divine, but the shortcoming of people. I can not give a formula for balance in this area, but only say that wisdom and discretion are necessary and can only be had by asking from the Giver, who has promised to give it liberally to all who seek it earnestly. It is my daily plea.

I will share some of our Thanksgiving traditions which may inspire a reader or two to adopt a few of them. I would like you to also share some of your Thanksgiving traditions in the comment section so that others may benefit from your ideas and successes. Let's keep it confined to just this particular holiday this time. Along with my faithful commenters, I hope that some who have never commented before will introduce themselves and offer their wisdom and experience as well.

Here's a few traditions we observe on THANKSGIVING DAY:

-Everyone wears nice outfits. No jeans and t-shirts are allowed because we feel dressing up aides in showing the importance of this day.

-The house is decorated with a harvest theme. Usually the children gather autumn leaves, holly and dry stalks of grass and bushes from outside along with pumpkins and gourds we have grown or bought. This year we are doing this.

-Since our families are far away, just our close friends come over with their brood and almost immediately we put in a video of THE SOUND OF MUSIC. Most of the children watch it while the adults finish the cooking and chat. This movie is only allowed to be watched on Thanksgiving and is one of the day's highlights. The children love it and look forward to it all year. We've kept this tradition since they were tiny tots.

-When the children were younger, we made Thanksgiving placemats every year by writing down and/or illustrating on construction paper the things and people we were thankful for. We decorated these with colored markers and stickers, then laminated them with contact paper.

-We also read the First Thanksgiving Story to the little ones and usually act it out. One year we made a teepee with poles and sheets, Bead necklaces and feathered headbands. Some children made Pilgrim hats and the Mayflower boat out of cardboard. We will never forget those happy memories and inevitably, someone brings it up every Thanksgiving.

-After prayers of Thanksgiving are offered to our Provider, we share a traditional Turkey meal with our family's special dressing/stuffing that is ONLY eaten on this day of the year and other traditional family recipes.

-After clean up, the children give a recital for the adults. Handmade programs are passed out as nervous, excited children line up to bless their audience. Each child recites from memory poetry and scripture passages and psalms of praise and thanksgiving. Then they each play a musical selection with the instrument they are learning. Usually, the youngest play the recorder and the older children play the piano. But this year, we have those who are also interested in the guitar, mandolin, harmonica and mountain ocarina. So it should be most entertaining. No one is a child prodigy, and frankly, we don't care about such things. We just enjoy the time together. Family made music and singing is becoming a lost home art. We aim to preserve it.

Now it's your turn. Comments are open...


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