Saturday, November 28, 2015

Five Favorites: Thanksgiving Traditions

I feel like we really got to soak up the Thanksgiving season this year, which is funny because we weren't even in the United States.  Since we celebrated Thanksgiving so early, we really got two weeks of Thanksgiving.  We had our big feast on Saturday, ate leftovers for a full week following and then we entered the week of actual Thanksgiving where all of our conversations and online postings from our friends were all about Turkey day.  It was good.  I loved it.  I loved hearing what people are thankful for, I loved FaceTiming with my family and with Karen as they prepped and ate Thanksgiving.  I really felt like we celebrated.

I always feel kind of bad for Thanksgiving because I feel like it is sometimes seen as the lesser of the two big holidays.  Christmas always seems to overshadow Thanksgiving, with people starting their Christmas decorating earlier and earlier each year.  Black Friday has turned into Black Thursday night and Christmas carols come on the radio starting November 1st.  What happened to Thanksgiving??? 

I'm linking up with The Big White Farmhouse today and, in order to prolong the Thanksgiving celebration for one day longer before Advent begins (TOMORROW!!), here are five Thanksgiving memories I have.   They're not all favorites of mine, but they're traditions nonetheless!

1. We used to go to the Outer Banks every year for Thanksgiving since my grandparents had a house there.  The rest of my family would drive down the night before, but my immediate family would always go down Thursday morning.  I loved going to the beach this time of year because it was such a different feeling.  There weren't many people there and it was always so cozy and removed from every day life.  Just like Thanksgiving should be. 

2.  After my grandparents sold their beach house, we somehow ended up doing Thanksgiving at my family's house.  I don't usually do well with change in tradition, but I've grown to love this, too.  My mom has this whole holiday down to a science, with a schedule and a routine to make sure everything is done on time.  I love having it at my house because we can feel the craziness of the day long prep.  From the minute we wake up until guests arrive, it seems like there is something being prepared in the oven.  It feels like Thanksgiving. 

3.  Somewhere along the lines, it became a tradition for the kids to rake leaves on Thanksgiving.  I'm all about traditions, but this is one I still don't like. Ha! I would much rather be in the kitchen helping prepare the meal, but somehow it became a tradition for Andrew, Ben and I to rake leaves.  Not a tradition I'll be continuing with my kids (they'll rake leaves another day!), but one that will be forever in my memory.

4. I've already mentioned this tradition, but it's my favorite, so I'll mention it again.  We always go around the table and say what we're thankful for.  It's not unique to our family and I know so many other people who do this, but it's so perfect on Thanksgiving and really helps remind me of everything, big and small, I have to be grateful for.  In my family, you can't repeat what someone else has said, so you have to be creative.  I remember the year my family met Mike, my dad said "I'm thankful for my new friend Mike," which made me smile.  The year my mom was able to start horseback riding again, she said she was thankful for horses and being able to ride, which was so cool to see my mom have a hobby of her own after years of driving her kids around town to their different hobbies.  The year I began City Year, my eyes were opened to how lucky  I was to have grown up with quality public education and I remember almost crying that year expressing how grateful I was for that. It's a tradition that I hope to continue in years to come. 

5.  The Macy's Day Parade! I love the parade! We were always cooking or raking (boo!), so we never sat down as a family to watch the parade (does anyone actually have time for this?), but it was always playing in the background.  My college's marching band (go Marching Royal Dukes!! MRDs!) got to march in the parade twice, once while my cousin was in the band, so we were definitely tuned in for that, as well as countless other performances throughout the year. It's such a unique and kind of strange thing when you think about it.  I mean, people walk down the street carrying massive cartoon shaped balloons...what? weird.  I love it though.  This year, we were able to watch the parade since it came on around 4:00 here.  I had to go to work about halfway through, but I got my fix. 

What are some of your favorite Thanksgiving Day traditions?