Sunday, December 1, 2013

Thanksgiving -Keepin' It Real

Our littlest child came home with a request from school last Monday- a photo of our Thanksgiving traditions.


I realized we have never taken a single photo of our Thanksgiving celebration. Ever. Not one. Because, um...our Thanksgiving is not picture pretty. There are no pretty plates (we are not washing all those plates on a holiday!), no shiny chargers, no beautiful tablecloth. We do not light candles and serve wine or even dress nice for dinner. Nope. None of that here.

Now, please understand- I'm not against any of those things. They just haven't been a part of our Thanksgiving history. This little school project really got me to thinking about what Thanksgiving means in our family and what traditions we hold near to our hearts. I decided that this year, I would document the whole thing in photos. And, because I'm the open book that I am, I am going to share the whole beautiful mess with you in blurry photos.

This is what we do on Thanksgiving:

We pull out the recipes. Many of the dishes we make every year, without fail, come from recipes that were handed down from family and friends. We pull out the recipes, read the cards, and then proceed to add and dump ingredients until the dish no longer quite resembles the original- because that is how our mothers and grandmothers did it and we learned from them.  

We all gather in the kitchen. Holidays are a time to be together. We cook together.

And we make messes together. What? There was no Miracle Whip on your floor and walls on Thanksgiving? Maybe you were doing it wrong.  

Everyone helps. (And yes, we label our Ritz crackers so the kids don't eat them before they can get crushed and sprinkled on the casserole.)

We pass on the traditions. 

We lounge. A lot. 

We tell stories- like the one about my grandma making the mashed potatoes in the Wear-Ever ricer one year (just like these girls are doing) and then storing them on the back porch (no room in the fridge). The mashed potatoes spoiled before they were put on the table and several of us had a bite before the disaster had been declared.        

We boil things over on the stove. (Some years we do much worse- someone cuts their thumb peeling potatoes and needs stitches before dinner, or steps on the hot oven rack after removing it from the oven to fit a turkey, or a boiled over pie starts a small oven fire.) What? Not at your house? You're doing it wrong.  

We teach the kids. 

We mortify our vegetarian children with the turkey carcass.  

That's what we do. We all participate. We prepare a huge feast. We say grace. We eat. We share what we are all thankful for. We lounge. Then, we spread the Black Friday ads out on the family room floor and the kids start making Christmas wish lists. We stay up late and watch Christmas movies, and then we sleep right through the Black Friday sales.

It may not be picture pretty, but I wouldn't change a minute of it. 

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