establishing new traditions

I first wrote this post a few years ago when we began to really rethink what we wanted this holiday to mean to us as a family. The traditions we embrace have of course evolved a bit since then, but for the most part… the spirit of the day has remained consistent. Thanksgiving is a quiet day spent focusing on each other.

We’ll be chomping on homemade bread and soup in our little corner with lots of board games in between. I hope you all have a lovely day enjoying whatever traditions help make the day special for your family.

 Thanksgiving 2011

We opted out of our grand plans for a bike ride and portable feast and instead went with another quiet day at home this past Thursday. The day went smoothly with the relaxed feel oozing into every bit of the day. We munched on fruit while we waited for our breakfast treats to be ready, ate leftovers for lunch and dinner felt regular until I suggested that we use real glasses instead of plastic tumblers for our waters.

That said, I think we did a standup job of making the day feel special for our daughter. Celebrating is really about having a handful of traditions in place that help make the day feel intentional and familiar, so we set forth with that in mind.

A glimpse at our day’s moments:

something sweet for breakfast
She seemed really eager to start the celebrating and I had been eyeing cinnamon roll recipes for well over a week in anticipation of “the need to make things special.” I had no interest in dealing with yeast before coffee and was relieved to have found this lovely recipe.  Cinnamon rolls with no proofing! This is a tradition that I can totally get behind. 😉

the dog show
I had forgotten that we watch this every year. The 8yo LOVES dogs and I suspect that this tradition will continue for as long as the networks indulge us with it. We were cheering on the affenpinscher in the Toy category, but the wire fox terrier (cutie!) stole the show.

soup for dinner
We attended the Empty Bowl Project this year and decided to extend the event’s sentiment into our own Thanksgiving feast. Soup and bread took center stage with roasted brussel sprouts alongside to help round out the meal. I made Sweet Potato Honey Rolls that were perfect for dipping in our Pumpkin Soup (adapted from her recipe). The meal was put together mostly from my CSA stash and pantry AND I deem the meal officially kid-friendly! She sopped up all her soup, ate her brussel sprouts, and confirmed her thumbs-up by asking for leftovers the day after.

the gratitude bowl
Taking a queue from her school’s tradition of giving accolades at birthday celebrations, we placed a “Gratitude” bowl out on the table in the morning with scraps of paper and a pencil. The idea was that we give each other small compliments and heartfelt thank yous throughout the day. We shared our notes with each other as we wrapped up dinner. We should say thank you and give accolades to each other in a much more deliberate manner on other days, so this new tradition is getting transported to a jar that lives permanently on the kitchen counter.

Thinking ahead to next year, we’ll make more of an effort to turn the TV off during the day. It seemed to be on (even if only in the background) for the greater part of the day between the parade and the dog show and then football. Would also like to make the cooking portion of the day more of a together activity. I had a great time in the kitchen with the slow and steady pace, and think that I really want her to have those associations with the food for this day in particular as she gets older.

(2015 update: I proofed our sweet potato roll dough overnight and am using half of it for cinnamon rolls this morning. Crossing fingers that it pays off. )


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