Lasagna for the holidays? Works for us
Michelle Blaylock, Mom's Corner
Well, it's the week before Thanksgiving. Yea! I love the holidays. I love the get-togethers, the food, the hustle and bustle, the decorations, just everything about the holidays.
However, as I've gotten more mature (OK, older) I've also discovered even without any of that I would love them as much. It's a time to sit back and think about the last year.
A time to remember the joys, the hurts, the triumphs, the defeats, and to thank our Heavenly Father for giving us the last year and to ask for help for the next one.
It has been a tradition in our family to say at least one thing we are thankful for before our meal. We also usually decorate the Christmas tree on Friday after Thanksgiving.
As I look over my childhood I remember the traditions that my parents created for me. One of my fondest memories as a young child is joining my mother, aunts and grandmother to make candy just a week or so before Christmas.
The thing is what's a tradition for your family may not be for another. (Hence, the problem of many newlyweds is combining both of their traditions to make their own. This is the root of many arguments those first couple of years!)
John and I soon discovered blending the two was very difficult, but after 18 years of marriage we've worked out most of the clunkers. We found that creating our own traditions was a better solution than trying to combine either of our parent's traditions. For example, when our oldest was about four years old she came into the kitchen and John and I were discussing our "Thanksgiving Day Feast." Of course, she asked what we were having and I said turkey, mashed potatoes, Swiss Veggie Medley, etc. She looks up and says, "Do we have to have the naked bird?" Well, I was three months pregnant, suffering from morning sickness and going to college full time. I wasn't thrilled with the idea of cooking "the bird" to begin with.
We asked her what she would like to have for Thanksgiving. She thought a minute and replied, "Daddy's Lasagna." I smiled at my hubby and said, "Works for me!" So for years we had lasagna for Thanksgiving. Now we do have turkey sometimes, depending on who's coming and whatever. Nevertheless, lasagna at Thanksgiving became our own little tradition that our kids will remember, hopefully fondly.
My point is to do things that your children will remember and associate with your family. It may be something silly like changing seats halfway through Thanksgiving dinner (I knew a family who did this.)
It may be something very serious such as everyone saying something they're thankful for before dinner. I knew one family who after every holiday meal the men would do the cleaning up. I really wish my family's men would consider this one!
One blended family decided they had to totally rethink their holidays because of custody rights and to keep peace in their respective families. They decided to celebrate their holidays on the weekends before the actual date.
They also worked out special ways to bond with each of their children and stepchildren.
For example, each parent took each child to purchase gifts for the other people in their families. They encouraged the children to really think about a gift.
For the younger children, the parents offered several suggestions for presents and then let the children choose what gift they wanted to purchase.
When we lived in Indiana, we had friends who had come from large families and every year one sibling would pick an ornament to make, buy all the supplies, and have all of their siblings over for a "Make an Ornament Party." They had done this since they were young and still living at home. When we knew them they had around 15 ornaments, each with a story.
If you're looking to add new traditions to your family, my suggestion is to focus on things that can be done together. Some examples are a yearly marathon Monopoly game, getting together to make ornaments, special gifts for family members, or a making Christmas goodies party.
In our family, (after we grew up and had families of our own) my siblings and I discovered that with our own kids in the mix, we really didn't have time to visit. So when we get together over any holiday, we make a point to get the kids in bed as early as possible and then we play card games.
We have a great time!
I hope you have a happy Thanksgiving. If you have a suggestion to share, please write me at: Mom's Corner; P.O. Box 1496; Hartselle, AL 35640 or e-mail me at: firstname.lastname@example.org.