Thursday, November 16, 2006

A Thanksgiving Tradition

In our family, we are all about traditions during the holiday season. We have a number of different Christmas traditions (as I'm sure you'll all learn about right here), and we have one special Thanksgiving tradition in particular. And we started it last night . . . so let me tell you a little bit about it.

A week before Thanksgiving, I set out a basket, strips of paper, and a pen on the dining room table. When the kids see this they always squeal and ask, "Is it our thankful basket?" then hurry to be the first one to write down their thing they're thankful for on a strip of paper. All this week, we'll each write various things on the paper strips and then put them into the basket. On Thanksgiving morning--before we rush off to our first meal with extended family--we sit down and unfold each strip of paper, read the "thankfulness" item, and try and guess who wrote it. (This is usually pretty easy to do, but it's still fun and we get a good laugh out of it. After all, it's not hard to guess that "I'm thankful for softball" came from Delaney, "I'm thankful for Whoppers malted milk balls" came from Gary, "I'm thankful for long baths" came from me, and "I'm thankful for boys" came from McKenna.)

After the holiday is over, I'll collect the paper strips and do something with them--either collect them in a box that we can refer to throughout the year, or put them on a page in my scrapbook. This year, I had the idea of creating a little altered journal for us all to record our thankful items in, but when I mentioned that to Delaney she said, "You can't do that! We have to have our basket!" So, of course I had to nix that idea and go back to the "traditional" way of doing it. To believe that I even entertained the idea of changing something so special to us all!

Last night, each of the girls sat down to write a few of their first things. Delaney decided to tell Sydney how to do it, and sat her down with her at the table and asked her what she was thankful for. Sydney looked a little confused, so Delaney explained instead that she could tell her what she really "liked" or "loved." She leaned in close to Delaney, whispered in her ear, and I pretended to be interested in the chili I was cooking in the kitchen. I didn't tell Delaney that I heard Sydney say, "I like God" and "I like flowers."

I share this with you because this is a really easy tradition to implement. And it can definitely put Thanksgiving in its proper perspective--as a holiday that focuses on the simple things that make life meaningful, as an opportunity to remember how blessed we really are, and as a time to reconnect with your family. Maybe you'll want to try it yourself!

Now, since today marks the One Week Countdown to Thanksgiving, I thought I'd start today to list the things I'm thankful for. Each day, I will put on my blog the same items that I write down on my strips of paper. In a way, you will be experiencing our tradition in a "virtual" way.

The first three things I wrote down were:

1. I'm thankful for a 14-year-old who makes me proud, a 10-year-old who makes me feel loved, and a 2-year-old who keeps me young.

2. I'm thankful for football, even when we don't have the best of seasons.

3. I'm thankful for Gan Gan's dressing and gravy.

To be added to as the week goes by . . .

24 comments:

Jane said...

What a great tradition Cheryl. Thanksgiving sounds like a great holiday and celebration! A day to focus on Thanksgiving!!! I know we should be thankful every day but it is still beautiful to have a holiday completely centered around that theme....and food too of course!

Regina said...

Since we are the only American family for a distance, lots of Swedish people want to know about Thanksgiving and some of the traditions. This gives me something to talk about besides food. Great Idea!

NMOTB said...

That is an awesome tradition and since we don't celebrate it over here, I will just celebrate with you guy's online!

Gareth said...

I don't celebrate Thanksgiving either but at least I have blogging buddies to tell me about it and that's what I'm thankful for :)

Going For Greatness said...

What an awesome tradition! And one that a scrapbooker can really take off with and go wild! I LOVE this!
How SWEET of Delaney to take Sydney under her wing and get her started on this lovely tradition! That, in itself, will be a moment you'll cherish forever!!
So often the hype and commercialization of holidays get in the way of the true meaning of things. More people need to take the time to enjoy the holiday for it's TRUE meaning.
XO
~Gabi

Kelly said...

Hey Cheryl,

I'm thankful for finding out "whatever happened to Cheryl Sloan?"

I may not read your blog everyday, but when I do it's for certain I will get my little dose of sunshine for the day!

Happy Thanksgiving Week!

Cheryl Wray said...

Hey Everyone!! I think it is SO cool that I have so many friends from around the globe. I forget that sometimes when I'm posting about purely American holidays like Thanksgiving! It's a wonderful holiday, though, and one that you all can celebrate!
But honestly a lot of it IS about food! (Regina!)
Yep, just celebrate online with me!
Gabi--That is so funny that you still show your Alabama colors. I love it! (BTW--I've been rooting for Rutgers this season!)
Hey Kelly!!!! I had a Kelly Flashback last night when "Charlie's Angels" (the original tv show) was on!

kelly said...

what a hoot!

Amanda said...

This is a FABULOUS FABULOUS idea. This was a total blessing to read this today because I've been thinking of ways to implement traditions into our young family because neither my husband nor I have really great memories of holiday traditions, so we are trying hard to start them. Never too late....this is so awesome Cheryl. Thank you!

toya said...

awwwww, great tradition I enjoyed reading your post

maria said...

What a fabulous idea! I usually make everyone write at least one thing they are grateful for each Thaksgiving for the purpose of scrapbooking it of course. But your idea is even better! I'll have to give it a try this year. Who knows, we might just have a new tradition! Thanks for sharing!

Memphis Steve said...

You visited me but deleted your comment. I was all confused so I followed you home. I promise I won't delete my comment, though.

Happy pre-Thanksgiving! For you, I mean. For me, my mother-in-law is coming to visit so I'm not so happy. :(

Ryan said...

I'm thankful for the holiday off to spend with my wonderful family. I'm also thankful I get to work the following day at 2 and 1/2 times my usual pay. $$$$$$$$$$$$. This is a great tradition. I may have to steal it or make my own spin on it. See ya!!

Ms.L said...

Ohh I love this!
Thank you so much for sharing this with all of us.
When our Thanksgiving rolls around again I'm going to introduce the same thing:)

beadinggalinMS said...

That is a great tradition!
Our tradition is a lil messier. After dinner we have a cool whip fight. We have done this since the kiddos was very lil. :)

Lynilu said...

I love that idea. How about putting the strips in a journal, and after the holidays, tuck it away until next year. Start out reading *last year's* thanks over again, then read this year's to see the changes?

Since my kids are grown and scattered, I won't try to start this as a tradition at my house . . . although it would be good for me to make my own list . . . but I'm going to pass it along to see if the kids might like your idea. I think it is super!

Cinderella said...

Cheryl~ That was a sweet tradition to share with us in bloggerland. I really adore that idea!

Your family is so adorable, and it's because of you and Gary. You have a lot to be thankful for and I can't wait to hear more.

julee said...

I thought I would return the favor...I have been immersed in your blog (and your husband's) every since I read your comment on mine. And that's been a while ago!! Your words have inspired and motivated me to keep the traditions going even though the nest is empty. Since some of my kids can't be home for T-giving I'm going to start this tradition through e-mails. Love the nerd posts & comments and the reminder of what a great movie Akeelah And The Bee was! Thank you!

Miss 1999 said...

How wonderful! So many people don't take the time to think about the things they are really thankful for. I'm so glad you've started such a wonderful tradition with your family! :0)

melanie said...

yea those kids make you feel young don't they?

its a great tradition. we normally do that at christmastime though.

Andy said...

i really like that tradition. it's great. we may have to start something like that.

Carrie said...

I LOVE Thanksgiving! I love everything about it! I think its so meaningful and there are no pressures of gift giving and all that, its just about love and Thanks. :) p.s. I wanna see your snowmen :) I love them 2.

Mr Shife said...

This is a great tradition. We do something sort of similar with our friends at Christmas. We write down what we hope to accomplish in the coming year and then read them the next year at the party.

Jenn said...

What a beautiful thing to do with the kids!! It gets so busy that we forget to remember the "reason for the season". Not just Christmas but Thanksgiving and what all we have to be thankful for. How sweet!!