This month's Life is a Special Occasion theme, sponsored by Hallmark, is about Thanksgiving and family time. For me, growing up, family was everything -- our vacations were to see family, and every holiday was spent with family.
As far back as I can remember, Thanksgiving was always at my grandparents' house until recent years. I mostly cared about my Mommal's mashed potatoes and Brussels sprouts (which I now make.) It usually ended with everyone stuffed and lazy on the couch to watch a movie on TV and look through the sale ads for the day after shopping (we still do this, too!) The Target and Michael's ads are my fave.
After we got married, we shared Thanksgiving weekend with both of our families- usually spending the actual day with my parents and that Saturday with Jeff's parents. I always bring the same thing every time: roasted Brussels sprouts and fresh green beans with toasted almonds. Sometimes we've even celebrated with all our families (my parents, in-laws, including all the brothers and sisters-in laws and their parents!) but as the years have gone on and we've added so many extra people to our families, we've gone back to celebrating where we can fit.
Jeff has become everyone's Favorite because - no matter who's house we're at - he usually washes all the dishes while I read to the kids on the couch. He's awesome.
2003 was the first year I was to host at our house -- turkey in the oven and everything! --and Noah had his first seizure. We spent Thanksgiving in the hospital. My mom brought us a plate. I don't remember eating anything. It has taken me several years to embrace the holiday with warmth and good memories. But I can finally talk and write about it again without panicking. A very big thing to be thankful about! And PS this year we celebrate Noah being seizure-free for seven years now. SEVEN! THANKFUL!
A few years ago we started a precious tradition. As we prepared for the meal, Noah marveled at a ceramic pumpkin with a lid on the sofa table. He busied himself with cutting tiny slips of paper and announced, "hey guys, let's write down what we're thankful for and put it in the pumpkin and read them all later!"
And so we did (and still do.)
Later we read them aloud and are thankful for each other, our Thanksgiving meal, for chocolate and coffee (OF COURSE) and for our jobs and beds. We smile and we love and we thank. I can't wait to hear what everyone writes this year.
I never have the heart to empty the pumpkin so each year we add to the thankful reminders. I look forward to this very much.
Last year I gathered everyone around and read An Awesome Book of Thanks by Dallas Clayton. I plan to have the kids read it to everyone this year. I love how we've combined old traditions with new... it is a wonderful harmony.
What is Thanksgiving like for you? Do you hold on to traditions from your childhood? What new rituals have you added?
Hallmark is compensating me for participating in the Life Is A Special Occasion campaign, and they are encouraging us all to embrace new traditions- don't miss their big in-store Holiday Open House this weekend November 4-6!
Sign up for their promotional emails (you might even see me in there!) by following this link. I am partnering with Hallmark to spotlight how Life Is A Special Occasion for the rest of this year. As always, all content, memories, and opinions expressed are my own.