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Thursday, November 25, 2010

Traditional Thanks

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An optimist is a person who starts a new diet on Thanksgiving Day. ~Irv Kupcinet

I think traditions are great.

I think they are great and immeasurably important because they connect the generations and help develop a sense of family history a feelings of roots and stability. There's no limit to what a tradition can be. Even everyday family routines, such as who sits where at the dinner table, or reading a bedtime story every night can become a tradition. But, let’s face it most traditions revolve around holidays. Holiday traditions are usually something that is a little more special - something that's anticipated and that you're greatly disappointed if it doesn't happen.

And that, right there is why traditions can also be tricky

Much as we might want to we can’t always hold on to our traditions. Kids grow up and families change and as much as stability and roots might be what you hoped and worked for, tradition can sometimes be a transitory thing. This has certainly been my reality – especially over the last few years. Holidays are just hard for me. Every discernable holiday tradition that evolved while my boys were young has pretty much evaporated. Now don’t get me wrong, I have some great times with my boys and we still have our traditions – it’s just that holidays are tricky for us. One of the things that I feel strongly about when it comes to my boys and the holidays is to not make it a stressor for them. I had to make the decision a few years back to give up the sentimentality of holiday celebrations because I don’t want the boys to feel torn. But those darn holidays come around every year and I’ve found that it sure takes a whole lot of energy to not feel stressed out.

I’ve been thinking lately though, as with so many other things at this time in my life, I have to find a new holiday tradition reality – and maybe that is to not have any. I don’t mean not celebrating the holiday, but maybe my new tradition will be to never make a holiday plan…and just see what happens. I pretty much did that this year and everything has pretty much worked out. Even though I had no guests coming over to my home, I still got to bake 11 Thanksgiving pies and watch 25 teenage boys devour them with gusto. Even though I wasn’t planning buying the traditional Thanksgiving bird I still put a turkey in the oven on Thanksgiving morning, got to smell the great turkey roasting smell and I and know that people enjoyed eating it.

My Thanksgiving 2010 was traditionally non-traditional and wouldn’t make a very good spread in a Martha Stewart magazine – but it was good and I am thankful. I am Thankful for unknown blessings that I’m sure are already on their way.


Teachinfourth said...

Maybe this simply means that new traditions are in order...

Anaise said...

I'm so glad to not be alone in my desire to be less-traditional in my traditions! I still do it all, but I'm trying to be brave enough to make a change.

I may print this post and hang it on a kitchen cupboard--that way I can be re-inspired and re-encouraged until I just do it!

Lori said...

I'm with you, Mel! After feeling let down many times when my attempt at creating a tradition bombed, I gave up some time ago and now just do things as they occur to me. It's so nice to be loosey goosey during this crazy involved season and participate in/organize different things when I'm inspired to...not when tradition dictates I should.

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