Thanksgiving traditions are like the greatest stories ever told; they enoble ordinary life by giving significance to simple activies. Eating to survive becomes a family feast; house cleaning becomes a decorative festival in honor of the things we are thankful for in our lives. And, more so than any other holiday, it is Thanksgiving traditions that are precious to each of us personaly. For only once a year do we take the time to pause from our pursuit of happiness, to be thankful for being happy. Through Thanksgiving traditions that create a recognized, repeated pattern of celebration, we are given the chance to say “I love you”, to laugh together, banter and joke, and do the things that friends and family do when life tastes sweet.
Thanksgiving traditions grant us an escape from the tragedy of looking back on our lives one day with regret for the absence of special moments. Indeed, traditions that pass through generations lend our short time on earth the weight of past lives and future lives together. We share in the joys that used to be, while kindling future joys by teaching the young generation the Thanksgiving traditions of today. For a nobler heritage than family photos, here is a selection of the best Thanksgiving traditions to make your holiday a memorable one.
Thanksgiving Table Setting
The feast which lies at the heart of this holiday has Thanksgiving traditions all its own. Invest in a special holiday set of dishes, silverware, serving dishes and trays. Choose festive hues and oversized dishes to inspire a feeling of plenty and beauty. Use these special dishes only twice a year, once on Thanksgiving and once on Christmas. Memories of firelight and laughter, good food and time off from work will all become associated with the sight of these beautiful dishes. By creating a Thanksgiving tradition that unveils the feast-ware for special moments only, you will invoke a feeling of celebration in your home just by opening those special cupboard doors. Best of all, this Thanksgiving tradition gives Thanksgiving precedence over Christmas and so sets it as the best holiday of all. Thanksgiving comes first, it is the beginning of the holiday season. Your Thanksgiving dishes will embody all the joys of the winter holidays purely through the tradition of reserving them from use in everyday meals.
The fare we eat at the feast has Thanksgiving traditions that go back to the first Thanksgiving. We select foods that have been eaten for generations. Apples, which were eaten by the pilgrims. Turkey, which was reserved for family feasts and so was suggested as the National Bird by Benjamin Franklin, to serve as a simbol of plenty. We eat pumpkins, corn and cranberries, all prodcuts of the eart harvetested in the fall. Such Thanksgiving traditions are meant to add significance to the usual fare served at your home. Past generations have eaten the very same food that you eat on Thanksgiving. A link is created with the past and the happiness that Americans came to enjoy through freedom. Embrace these Thanksgiving traditions then add your favorite recipes to them, dishes that you only cook for this special, Thanksgiving meal.
Music more than visual arts will trasport our soul into a sense of festive happiness. Create your own Thanksgiving traditions by selecting music that will become an emblem of Thanksgiving. Perhaps you want to start playing Christmas music for the first time that year, symbolizing the beginning of the holiday season. You can select organ music that invokes the image of great cathederals and the celebration of momentous events in our lives. Vespers are especially beautiful and ideal as background music for your Thanksgiving feast, as is classical music composed by Bach or Motzart. You can even give this Thanksgiving tradition a modern twist by selecting the music of your favorite new age music like Enya, or operetta singers like Sarah Brightman.
Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade
The most modern of the Thanksgiving traditions, the parade that passess through the streets of manhattan has been a favotire with children since its inception in 1927. Early in the morning, children may cuddle by the television and watch the parade with its fantastic floats, funny characters, festive music and colorful costumes and decorations. It’s a bright and happy way to start Thanksgiving.
Draw Names for Christmas Gifts
When families are large or the budget is tight, everyone can benefit from the Thanksgiving tradition of drawing names for Christmas gifts. In this way, one person is charged with buying one gift. Everyone receives a single, wonderful gift in the end. Just write everyone’s name on a piece of paper and put it in a hat. Each person will then draw a name and only return it if it happens to be his own. Of all Thanksgiving traditions, the one of drawing names for gift-giving is the most enchanting. Suddenly there is something exciting to talk about. Each person can share his hopes for a Christmas gift. With the biggest sales taking place the next day, the idea of buying gifts is oh so tempting! Set a price cap on gifts to create a sense of fairness and reduce the pressure associated with buying Christmas gifts. And keep the names of gift-givers secret. This added vail of secrecy turns this Thanksgiving tradition into an exciting guessing game.
The Scent of Thanksgiving
This Thanksgiving tradition seems to come without effort, simply as a result of the feast you are baking and cooking. But other scents can become part of your holiday ambiance. Place a bowl of apple cinnamon portpouri by your front door to greet all your guests with a scent that they will come to associated with the Thanksgiving feast. Keep a scented candle burning in the bathroom to sustain the feeling of festivity no matter where people are. It is said that our sense of smell is the most powerful in invoking memories. By creating Thanksgiving traditions that awaken our sense of smell you will engender happy, holiday memories years from now when those recognized scents pass near you.
The last but not least in this list of Thanksgiving traditions involves the beauty of decorating for the holiday. For the first time this year, as the trees lose their leaves and the earth turns white with snow, suddenly your home takes bloom like a garden in spring. Turn your decorations into a Thanksgiving tradition by repeating them each year. With time the decorations themselves will become significant and symbolic of your past celebrations. Here are Thanksgiving-craft ideas for a shimmering Thanksgiving-table-setting. Be sure to date your crafts and bring them out each year. Turkey-palm-print-crafts are especially fun for children whose hands keep growing each year. In addition, try these 10 dazzling Thanksgiving-dinner-table-setting ideas. And have yourself a joyful Thanksgiving!
And to make the holiday special for children, here are 10 stunning Thanksgiving-crafts-for-kids of all ages.
Note: Some of the ideas in this article where inspired by The Thanksgiving Web.