30 Nov
Posted in: parenting
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Revamping Our Thanksgivng Traditions

LEGO turkey

I’m crying uncle and throwing in the towel. Next year my family will be revamping our Thanksgiving traditions.

Not one of us really enjoys eating turkey or stuffing for that matter. This year my 9-year-old put a seed of doubt in our Thanksgiving traditions. Days before the big day, J wanted to know if we were eating turkey.

Me: “Of course, it’s Thanksgiving.”

J: “The pilgrims didn’t just eat turkey. They had deer, fish, lobster and turkey. There might even have been wild boar, you know, pig.”

Me: (gasp) “You want us to have a deer roast or pork on Thanksgiving?”

J: “I don’t know why it has to be turkey. We don’t even like it. Why does our tradition have to be everyone else’s?”

Me: My answer was the dreaded thing I don’t want them to fall into, “Because that’s what everyone does.”

Dictionary.com defines tradition as “the handing down of statements, beliefs, legends, customs, information, etc., from generation to generation, especially by word of mouth or by practice” and “a continuing pattern of culture beliefs or practices”. I can’t shake my short conversation with my 3rd grader. Why do I force my family to eat what every other American family is eating?

  • Because that’s the way it’s always been done.
  • We’re Americans.
  • That’s just what we do on Thanksgiving.

None of those answers are good enough for me. I don’t want to be like everyone else. I harp on my children to be who God intended them to be, no matter what society tells them. Then I tell them we have to eat turkey because everyone else is. I want Thanksgiving to be dripping in grateful attitudes and blessed hearts symbolized by a feast. I don’t want Thanksgiving to be about a turkey, whether or not you enjoy the taste of it.

Most of our Thanksgivings, in the 12 years we’ve been married, have been without any extended family. We spend most of the three major holidays (Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter) with just us. I’ve been intentional about making our Christmas and Easter traditions something special for us, but Thanksgiving I’ve let be, keeping the turkey sacred. Thanksgiving 2014 will look different at out house. I’m going to have the kids plan the meal. I’m not sure what it will look like. Maybe we’ll be carving (cracking) the Thanksgiving lobster. I know it will be food picked and prepared with love. I know my kiddos will enjoy planning a meal outside of our American cultural expectations. They’ll be more grateful for a meal they actually enjoy eating and a mom who was willing to listen to their gripes and revamp our Thanksgiving traditions. Next year we can focus on how blessed we are and begin a new Thanksgiving tradition we enjoy and will pass on. Best of all, no one will ask, “Do I have to eat the turkey?”

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