Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Traditions, Turkey and Trees

I must admit that when I realized there was a recipe theme...I freaked. I am NOT a good cook at all. In fact, when I bake cookies the first thing my children do is look at the bottom to see if they're burned. Nice. So instead of giving you a food recipe, I thought I'd give you my recipe for the perfect Thanksgiving weekend.

Step 1-Traditions: For me personally, the holiday season is all about traditions. Growing up, our Thanksgivings were always warm, comfortable, family oriented and full of great food. The best thing about this holiday was that the day always started slowly. There was no rushing around trying to get to church on time like we usually did on Christmas. Nope, there was none of that stuff. We usually went to my grandmother's house but my mom was always cooking something yummy that morning to bring along. Us kids would hang around in our pj's and watch the Macy's parade on television. (Even though I've lived within 45 min. of NYC my entire life I've never actually been to the parade. *note to self*--add that to the bucket list.) Then we'd get all dressed up and head over to Mimi's house to enjoy a ridiculous amount of food, fun, music and family. I am happy to report that my children, most Thanksgivings, have participated in the same relaxing ritual.

Step 2- Turkey: I know that turkey is the usual suspect on Thanksgiving and what I always find amusing are the numerous comments about it. I swear that cooked carcass gets more compliments every year than a virgin bride on her wedding day! Can't you hear it now? It looks gorgeous! Just LOOK at that bird! Oh my goodness, that color is to die for! I won't lie. I find myself saying the same kinds of things every year because it's true. I just think it's hysterical that we all stand around fawning over it.


Step 3- Trees: I love the holiday season, specifically Christmas. The day itself is nice but I truly adore the month leading up to it. So several years ago my husband and I started getting our Christmas tree on the day after Thanksgiving. When I was a kid I remember my parents making comments about the kooks that got their trees that early. I am now one of those kooks.Each year I make my husband and four sons trek out to the tree farm to actually cut down our tree. I have very fond memories of doing this as a child, although it was usual much closer to Christmas day. It's not just tree cutting...there's a hayride, hot cocoa, a fire pit to warm your hands and lots and lots of laughs. My husband grumbles periodically, wondering why he has to pay twice as much for the damn tree and do all of the work. *sigh* Maybe... but you can't put a price on tradition. (BTW-the picture below is from last year because I forgot my camera this year.)

You see, I am hoping that my boys will carry on this tradition someday with their own families. Whether they do it the day after Thanksgiving or the day before Christmas...I just hope they do it. To me, the traditions that we hold dear are the heart and soul of the holidays. So how about you? What holiday tradition makes it special for your family?








26 comments:

  1. Sounds lovely, Sara! Since my family is all gone, it's hard looking at anything much in a traditional way. Yet, one tradtion I have no plans to discard. I decorated the tree for Christmas the day after Thanksgiving so I could enjoy it for the whole month and it's ready to go. Although after 15 years, I bought a new tree---prelighted, only 3 pieces to put together. Yes! And that's a new tradition for me--simplify!

    ReplyDelete
  2. How lovely, to carry down family traditions :) I'm a sucker for family traditions, it helps bring that spirit of the holidays forward.
    With us going back to the UK this year, I hope to share a tradition from my family with my children -- the annual pantomime. "Oh no he didn't." "Oh yes he did." etc... "He's behind you!" LOL I used to love the antics in a pantomime :) Although I'm sure I won't know anyone in it this year, as they usually use soap stars -- haven't watched British soaps for years LOL

    ReplyDelete
  3. Tradition means as much as the food, Sara, if not more. My boys are so steeped in tradition already that if Mike doesn't go out with me on Black Friday to get a Christmas tree, and we don't watch Scrooge on Thanksgiving night, the world would simply stop spinning for him. Great post!

    ReplyDelete
  4. I love the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. I've been there in person when I was very young, it's better on TV unless you're one of the VIPs who get the bleachers. My sister did that one year, she sat next to Bill Cosby--must be nice.

    We used to drive from Boise to Atlanta, ID every Thanksgiving weekend. My boss was the "Airport Manager" The airport was a mountain landing strip. We'd drive three hours following the Middle Fork of the Boise River, down logging roads and then cut down the small pines growing too close to the landing strip.

    Every year, we'd come home with a Charlie Brown tree, but it was always a beautiful drive and a wonderful day.

    ReplyDelete
  5. We're still starting traditions. My daughter is one, so she doesn't really understand Christmas yet, but I figure now is a good time to start.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I never realized how important traditions were until we strayed from our usual routine one year. My kids told me they didn't want to change anything. They looked forward to the comforting feelings of familiarity. It was nice to see how much it meant to them. Lisa Vance

    ReplyDelete
  7. Keeping traditions can be lovely, adding a deep feeling of family continuity. How wonderful that you are able to envision your traditions going into the future.

    For me, tradition went by the wayside many years ago. With so many of the people with whom I might share the tradition gone, trying to keep the old ways became, not comforting, but unbearably poignant.

    These days I find I'm happier if I allow each holiday to be as it is, and allow the past, though treasured, to remain in the past.

    ReplyDelete
  8. When our three children were little, one of their Christmas presents was a big fat coloring book and a brand new box of crayons. They must have been in about second, third and seventh grade the year I decided they'd outgrown the coloring idea and didn't buy them. So come Christmas morning, the living room looked like a bomb hit a paper factory, and they all looked up at me with these sad little bewildered eyes. No coloring books? How could it be Christmas? They always laid on the living room floor and colored together after dinner.
    From that time on until they graduated from high school they got a coloring book and a new box of crayons. Actually, it went beyond that ... my son got one in his Christmas package when he was in the Air Force.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Love the comment about turkey getting more comments than a bride - priceless!!! ;-)

    ReplyDelete
  10. Great traditions, Sara.

    I always decorate the weekend after Thanksgiving. My husband knows to get the crates down and I like to get everything up as soon as possible.

    Then I'll look through recipes and find a couple new ones to try.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Hi Terry. I love the new tradition. Believe me, after I struggled with all the damn lights I was wishing I'd bought a pre-lit one!

    ReplyDelete
  12. Jo-Anne--Pantomime? That's so cool. I had no idea that was a tradition for the Brits. How nice that you'll be home with the kids for the holidays. Have fun!

    ReplyDelete
  13. Hey Cheryl--I love Scrooged. One of my faves. :)

    ReplyDelete
  14. Hi Robin--I think the Charlie Brown trees are the best ones. THey've got character.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Hi Shana--I hope you and Baby Galen have a fun filled xmas. My bet is she'll love the paper and the boxes this year.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Hi Lisa--Thanks for stopping by. I can totally relate to how your kids feel. I think the familiarity provides a sense of security. You just know that all is right wiht the world...well at least in your own world :)

    ReplyDelete
  17. HI Mary--I hope your holiday is filled with love and laughter.xoxox

    ReplyDelete
  18. Carolyn I absolutely love that tradition! It's equally fabulous that you sent the crayons and coloring book to your grown son. Awesome!

    ReplyDelete
  19. Thanks Catharine. It makes me giggle everytime.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Hi Linda-Me too. Getting those decorations up early helps keep things stress free. Once it's up and out of the way you can sit back and enjoy it.

    ReplyDelete
  21. What a great post! And fun traditions! This year is the "start" for traditions--my boyfriend and I moved in together over the summer, so we put up decorations and all that fun stuff. I suppose a big "tradition" will be figuring out how to see both of our families on Christmas!

    ReplyDelete
  22. Hi Danielle :) Figuring out how to balance the two families is the first tradition to get settled. LOL. We alternate Thanksgiving and Christmas every year and Easter is the wild card holiday. Have fun making up new traditions. My hubby and I blended some from my family and some from his. Growing up we always had a star at the top of our xmas tree but my hubby always had an angel. As much as it pained me to do it...I caved on that one and we have an angel on our tree.

    ReplyDelete
  23. I LOVE going to the Christmas tree farm and cutting down our tree the day after Thanksgiving. Nice to know ours is not the only family who does that!

    ReplyDelete
  24. Hi Sara, I don't know how I missed commenting yesterday. Very nice photos and lovely traditions. That's something your kids, and you, will remember forever. And that turkey was beautiful :)

    ReplyDelete
  25. I love your recipe for the holidays, Sara. I'm behind on setting up my tree & decorations this year, and for me, that always gives me the spirit. So hope to do it this weekend!

    ReplyDelete
  26. Going to the tree farm to pick out a tree was something I always did with my Dad. It's one of the only things we did, just the two of us. I really miss it now that we live so far apart.

    Great post, Sara.

    ReplyDelete