I really have been thinking on this topic. Been trying to figure out how/what/when to incorporate traditions that don't feel false or contrived. I was reading a bit in The Heart of a Family a few minutes ago, and the author told of one lady who as a teen always fasted onThanksgiving because she was horrified at the exploitation of the Native Americans in this country. Hmmm. And I also read that turkeys came about post War World II via the poultry companies. Hmmm again.
I like Thanksgiving. I like the temptation of picking at the pecan pie (even though my mother always burns it), anticipating the perfectly beautiful golden of the turkey, and even making sure there will be soft butter for the rolls. I like the colors, I like the warmth of the house from cooking all day, I like the noises; and I like the thickness of the air from steam, different aromas, a full oven, and family chatter.
But other than those things, they are never the same, as we alternate between families every year. I would like to incorporate traditions for MY family, ones that we can celebrate regardless of what or where we will be celebrating later that day.
I think I'm going to paint on butcher paper a large tree, cut it out, and tape it in my hallway. I'll enlist Trevelyn and Eric in tracing their hands to make leaves, and through out the week preceding Thanksgiving, we'll write on one of our own leaves something that we are grateful for, then place it somewhere on the tree.
I think Thursday morning we'll have an intimate, large breakfast, full of seasonal fruits, maybe some pastries, maybe even some ham or sausage if it suits us - to celebrate bounty, and the abundance in our lives.
We'll visit our tree as a family, and marvel at its beauty and fullness, hopefully. Maybe next year I'll even save a branch of a tree, (or even this year if I can find a branch that begs to be trimmed) and use a real branch, instead.
This appeals to me greatly, I like the idea of having something tangible to see (and show my children) of all of our many blessings and a record of (our noticing) the bounty in our lives. Maybe we'll fill up the cornucopia and put it in a place of honor. Maybe I'll incorporate some of the tapered candles with the beautiful fall colors that I made last year. Maybe we'll light them all over our house in hopes of being mindful all year that we are blessed and hope to always be living in gratitude. Maybe it will be ceremonial. Maybe not.
But this is something we can do, a way for us to connect, an affirmation that we are something special, people bonded together inspirit and hearts, with love and thankfulness.
(first published on HTL on 11/11/2006)