Thanksgiving Traditions

Hello, there!

I’ve got lots of things to say about my recent training at the Country Bear Jamboree and Tom Sawyer Island, as well as about my Disneyland trip!  Lots of things are going on in my life right now, some good some neutral, nothing bad!  But with Thanksgiving being next week, I wanted to post this first.

Thanksgiving has always been a strange holiday to me. It doesn’t look like the Barefoot Contessa set the table with silver serving platters with everyone dressed nicely in their holiday best. Thanksgiving dinner for my family and extended family is every day clothes, paper plates, and eating spread out over four different rooms because no dining room will fit four families. None of this is wrong or bad, it’s just not like the Hallmark Channel portrays a big holiday meal.

The one time I can remember having a traditional Thanksgiving meal, I was sick out of my mind. I can vividly remember my 6-year-old body curled up in the floor of the living room, wrapped in a blanket, watching the parade while my dad hosted Thanksgiving. We had our fancy plates and silverware and the table was perfect. And I was down for the count. Later that afternoon I passed out on the couch for several hours and woke up to my family decorating the Christmas tree without me.

Really, all holidays feel like this to me. Christmas is much the same. It doesn’t feel like the movies. And it never will, because movies aren’t real. I’ve never had a bad holiday. I’m not upset that we use paper plates because using actual dishes for 20 people isn’t economical at all. Honestly, if I had a Thanksgiving like I think I dream of, I wouldn’t recognize it. Because that’s not how my holidays are. I’m not even bitter about it.

So I want to pose a question for you, my three readers. What makes Thanksgiving Thanksgiving? I’m not talking about spending time with your family and being thankful for being together. That’s what everyone will say. Is there a dish you associate with Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner because that’s what your grandma has always made and you look forward to it every year? (If so, please share the recipe with me!) Is there a certain decoration you love putting out for the fall? What is something that makes Thanksgiving your Thanksgiving? You can put family in your answer, but I want something more unique from your answers as well.

For me, every family gathering has my Nana’s pistachio pudding. When she texts me back the recipe maybe I’ll post it. It isn’t traditional for Thanksgiving, but it’s a Jackson staple. My Munner never cooked, so for Stewart dinners, we would have pizza or sandwiches. Even that made our holidays unique to us. You don’t have to have the big turkey and place settings, it’s true. If we’d had a big cooked meal at Stuart Christmas, it would feel strange, because that’s never how we did it. And that’s okay.

Another thing I look forward to, or used to when I lived at home, was a little pumpkin tea set that always came out with the fall decorations. When I was very little, my dad and I would always have tea parties with my Beanie Babies, so I had tons of different themed tea sets. The pumpkin one was my favorite, even if it was just seasonal and out in the house.

These things are what make Thanksgiving mine. Nothing crazy, and nothing like it’s portrayed. But that’s fine. I’m an adult. This is only my second year on my own. Last Thanksgiving I worked 14 hours between two lands of Magic Kingdom. I shared a potluck with the Main Street East family, as well as in my own location at Storybook Circus. I’ll be working again this year with ol’ Br’er Rabbit. That may be my life. But I’ll start making my own traditions, finding my own ways to make the holidays belong to me. I may carry recipes from family with me, or I may find a Mom Blogger’s recipe that I take for my own. Share with me your favorite Thanksgiving recipes or stories! I’m really interested in hearing about what makes the holidays special to you.

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