Like most families, we have traditions. We always go out to eat on birthdays, and the birthday person gets to pick the restaurant. Every New Year’s Eve, we make predictions for the coming year. We read aloud the previous years’ predictions, which are usually comically wrong (the predicted price of gas and possible actions/inactions of politicians are especially ridiculous). We open one gift each on Christmas Eve and save the rest for Christmas Day.
When kid #1 was born (in mid-December almost 20 years ago), we made it a tradition to wait to put up the Christmas tree until after his birthday. We thought this would make his birthday more special. But when he was in kindergarten, he begged us to put the tree up before his birthday. It didn’t make his birthday less special to him to have the tree up at his birthday party. In fact, he liked it better.
So, while I like tradition, I’m willing to change things up. And some traditions I have no use for at all. I’m not a fan of Thanksgiving. I find it an incredibly depressing holiday. Partly because I’ve struggled with weight and body image issues for most of my life and the entire holiday revolves around food. My mental calorie calculator blows out around mid-day. And let’s face it, there’s a huge checkered flag over the fourth Thursday in November signaling the start of our national Consumerist Daytona. My bank account starts whimpering and doesn’t quiet down until Valentine’s Day.
I let my kids have a huge say in the menu and activities for Thanksgiving. A few years ago, when kids #1 and #2 were studying the Middle Ages, we had a Renaissance Thanksgiving. We used bread bowls as trenchers, ate Cornish game hens, stewed fruit, tarts, and didn’t use utensils. We even dressed up in Renaissance-ish costumes (from Halloween). It was a blast and the kids still talk about it.
This year, none of my kids wanted turkey. No, they wanted beef. I limit our red meat consumption to once a month or less and they object. I gave in to their request and we had a tenderloin roast. Turned out to be a great move since our local grocery store ran out of turkeys four days before the big day. People were beside themselves and spitting mad. It was as if Thanksgiving had to be cancelled. I kept my mouth shut as the woman in front of me at the checkout had a turkey-induced psychotic break and happily paid for my (very expensive) beef roast.
We spent the weekend putting up holiday decorations and decorating the tree, while eating pizza. The Thanksgiving leftovers were all gone before Black Friday dawned.