Remember when you were a kid and every year on Thanksgiving you would … and on July 4th you would …
Can you fill in the blanks? I’m sure if you can’t for those holidays, there are others where you had a standing tradition. You looked forward to it, and the holiday was not complete without it. Then you went through a stage in your teens where you rolled your eyes at this tradition.
As you look back on your childhood, it’s those traditions you remember. It’s those traditions that make you smile and form the picture in your mind when the holiday comes up. It’s those traditions you talk about with anyone who will listen.
There’s no secret formula to forming those traditions – at least none I’m aware of. Sure, repetition seems like a needed ingredient. Sprinkle in some loved ones and fun. And well, I think you have a tradition.
I believe our Thanksgiving tradition will remain memorable for my children. My wife has made dinner for her family ever since her father’s last Thanksgiving, and he passed away nearly 30 years ago. It’s the one holiday that we know where we’ll be and who we will be spending it with.
The family has another Thanksgiving tradition to name the turkey. That’s right: while eating the bird, everyone is a given a slip of paper and a pen. They write a name on the paper, fold it up, and drop it into a hat (when someone has not been able to make Thanksgiving dinner, they’ve texted). The names are read aloud, and a winner is selected based on crowd reaction. Last year’s winner was Num Num, named by our great niece (those were her only words at the time).
My wife spends Thanksgiving morning cooking and watching March of the Wooden Soldiers, and the boys and I go to the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. This will be my oldest son’s seventh year of attendance and his brother’s third. We’ll point out our favorite floats, complain about the cold, and wish we were taller to get a better view.
They love being in New York City.
They love taking the bus and train.
They love the snacks.
One day, my boys will be getting ready for Thanksgiving. Maybe they’ll be getting together for the holiday, like their mom and her sister. Maybe they’ll just be calling each other sometime during the day and sharing memories of naming the turkey, or trip to New York City. Either way, I’m happy and proud that we gave them this Thanksgiving tradition.