Mixing up traditions

Turkey. Photo Credits: Courtesy of PDPhoto.org
Thanksgiving dinner is coming up soon. At our house, food is beginning to crowd shelves and counters. And I'm not done shopping!

I'm looking forward to cooking for family and friends. I love when we can get together. Those times are rare since adult children have moved to different states during the college years.

Traditions evolve
We customarily celebrate Thanksgiving at our home by serving a traditional meal of turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing and the usual fixings.  Last year we went to a friend's house and sampled foods that were amazing. Laura will serve one of her mother's recipes again this year.

I love having many cooks in the kitchen. Everyone seems to enjoy pitching in. When our four children were younger, pitching in meant stirring the mashed potatoes or dumping canned green beans into a casserole dish. As the children grew, so did their interest in more interesting ways of serving green beans, turkey and potatoes. They have surpassed my basic cooking skills. As a result, over the years our eating traditions have changed.

As the older children have married, our traditions have changed again. The married children have two sets of parents who enjoy their company during holidays, so they alternate visits between families. One year they visit our home for Thanksgiving and spend Christmas with in-laws. The next year they reverse this.  


Mixing it up
With most of our children able to come home for Thanksgiving this year, we're breaking from our usual Thanksgiving now and Christmas then schedule. We're mixing it up.

Since we don't expect to see Jeff and Allison and their two young boys in December, we're expanding our definition of thankfulness.

We're putting our Christmas tree up early this year. We'd like to celebrate Christmas with the young ones so we can watch them open and play with their presents. Everyone else will have to wait a few more weeks for their Christmas gifts.

I don't consider this blurring of holidays a cop out to commercialism in stores.  Bending and molding traditions is a practical way to deal with distance and schedules, even if traditions are mixed up this year.

Rather then missing family members at Christmas, we are planning ways to double (and triple) our reasons to be thankful this year.

I think God, the giver of all good gifts, understands.

How about you? Do you have a favorite Thanksgiving tradition? What do you do when circumstances challenge or change your traditions?

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