Updated: Dec 27, 2019
Thanksgiving is one of my favorite days of the year. Looking back I believe it was the simple traditions in our house that allowed our holidays to be looked back upon with wonderful memories. We were able to enjoy our family on a day full of gratitude and the rhythm was leisurely. These are the six Thanksgiving traditions I am carrying on with my own family as my three boys grow.
Up Before the Sun.
I'm not sure if it was the excitement of the day or the smells permeating from the kitchen that woke me early on Thanksgiving but I was always so excited to get the day started. I rushed down the brick hallway to the kitchen and dad is already going through his timeline for the day and getting some of the ingredients out. Starting early allowed us not the spend the day rushing around but rather enjoying the process. Waking before the sun is to this day one of my favorite things to do
Christmas music is playing throughout the house &
all of the fireplaces were lit.
November in Corrales, NM is quite chilly which is so nice because before anyone woke up dad would light the fireplaces and turn the Christmas album on. I can’t imagine preparing Thanksgiving dinner now without Christmas music on. Come to think of it I can’t imagine doing much of anything in November without Christmas music playing. Yes, I am currently listening to the trans-Siberian orchestra as I write.
When there is a lull in the cooking/prepping/baking/cleaning - take a break; sit and enjoy a cup of coffee.
About two hours in we would sit at the small table next to the kitchen and have a cup of coffee together. This might’ve been my favorite part of Thanksgiving. Taking a quiet moment to stop what we were doing and enjoy a cup of coffee coupled with the beautiful view of the Sandia mountains outside the kitchen window is time well spent.
Add some festive décor to the table and share gratitude.
My sister and I always loved setting the table and adding a few festive decorations to the center of the table. Some years, we would collect autumn leaves from the yard and inscribe names with a gold marker to leave at each person’s place-setting. After filling our plates, we would make our way around the table, allowing everyone to express gratitude. It was a wonderful way to steer the conversation and slow the meal down. It also unintentionally set the mood for the rest of the holiday break by beginning with appreciation for the abundance surrounding us all. It is no doubt that a house full of teenagers could benefit tremendously from a lesson in gratitude.
We joined hands and dad said a prayer. This was the longest blessing of the year and when we are not together on Thanksgiving, I miss the way he prays.
I cannot remember if we napped before or after the walk but one thing is for sure, there is
always a nap and there is always a long family walk down to the Rio Grande before returning home for pie.
What I have realized in writing this is that the most memorable moments are the moments
when we gave ourselves time and space to enjoy the day. The cup of coffee that we stopped to enjoy, the views of the mountains, breathing in the river.
Somehow all of the dishes arrived to the table within minutes of each other and everything was hot when it was time to eat (my dad is a master of the cooking timeline). But that is not what I remember the most. It was the feeling that was created through the traditions of playing Christmas music and lighting the fireplaces and the family walks. The space and time we gave ourselves on what could’ve been a hectic day to enjoy the time with family.