Traditions are especially important to our kids. Perhaps the rootedness that comes with observing traditions compensates for missing much of American childhood traditions while our family was overseas.
Thanksgiving traditions have evolved to include a lot of things besides the Thanksgiving meal, that centerpiece of American Thanksgiving tradition. First and foremost, Thanksgiving originated from a deep gratitude to God for His gracious providence through the previous year and a bountiful harvest of good things He has granted to sustain us and for us to enjoy. Thanksgiving is a great big pause in our normal routine designed simply to thank God.
But the annual meal of bounty has become an American mainstay of the long weekend reunion gathering. For traditional reasons, the baked whole turkey is the sine qua non of Thanksgiving cuisine. The rest of the food rates a separate blog someday. The choices and presentations are a wide variety of expectations and add-ons from all the families of the clan.
Here's a list of what our clan considers part of the immutable (?) traditions of Thanksgiving weekend:
drive 600 miles to West Liberty OH,
watch lots of football and movies,
eat a huge meal with 20+ people for lunch on Thanksgiving Day,
shop on Friday and cheer for people running past the house in the Luminaria 5K Run,
wander the Christmas Open House shops in downtown West Liberty,
listen to the Grace Chapel choir and watch the West Liberty Thanksgivnig day parade,
open Christmas family gift exchange gifts,
play parlor games with the clan (e.g. Trivial Pursuit & Buzzwords),
visit the Maries Candies Christmas open house,
go to church on Sunday,
and drive back home bringing Grandma Taft with us to stay with us for a some weeks/months.
What do you do?