My dear, real-life friend, Anita, (Busy Hands, Busy Minds) recently shared her family holiday traditions on her blog. I enjoyed reading them so much, that I decided to share some of our family holiday traditions too.
We decorate the house for fall in early September. I read Pilgrim, Indian, and Thanksgiving themed stories and books to the children throughout late October and November. Some years we do a unit study on the first Thanksgiving. I did not do that this year, but I do plan to do that next year when Leah and Sam are 4.5 and 6.5. I think they will really enjoy it. Leah did some fall crafts this year, but Sam really wasn't interested.
Each year on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving, Kelly, a friend of Jimmy's and mine from college, comes over to help me decorate the house for Christmas. Actually he does 90% of the decorating!! He is very talented! While he is hanging the garlands, the children and I set out the Santas, small Christmas trees, nutcrackers, and various other Christmas decorations. I pack up most of our normal "decorations" to make room for the Christmasy things. I have Christmas hand towels that I put in each of the bathrooms, and I change the scent in my Wallflowers (scented plug-ins from Bath and Body Works) from pumpkin spice to Aspen pine or cinnamon stick. Normally we don't put up our tree until the weekend after Thanksgiving, but this year we did put it up last weekend (see previous post!).
We spend Thanksgiving Day at my parents' house along with my two brothers and their families and both of my grandmothers. My mother prepares a traditional Thanksgiving meal complete with turkey, ham, cornbread dressing and gravy, green bean casserole, yellow rice and corn casserole, sweet potato casserole, cranberry salad, and an orange congealed salad. One of my grandmothers makes homemade rolls and delicious desserts. This year she brought caramel cake. I usually contribute to the meal by bringing a dessert (pumpkin crisp this year) and an appetizer. We spend the day visiting with one another and the children play all over the house and in the backyard. Usually by late afternoon, my brothers and their families leave for their in-law's houses, and my grandmothers go home. My family stays another night. We eat leftovers, watch movies, and play games--usually pictionary or various card games. My girls spend their time sewing on my mother's sewing machine and typing on their old-fashioned typewriter. Periodically Jimmy has to work on or around Thanksgiving Day and is unable to visit my family with me. This is one of those years. One of my brothers was on call this year too. We missed both of them!
We celebrate Thanksgiving with Jimmy's family on the Friday or Saturday (depending on the State game) after Thanksgiving. Jimmy's sister, my sister-in-law Megan, and I all help Granmomma prepare the meal, which is not a typical Thanksgiving meal. This year we are having BBQ! We will eat an early supper and the children will run and play while the adults visit and take pictures! Both Russ and Jimmy are avid photographers, so Megan and I will have an abundance of blog material!
Friday or Saturday of Thanksgiving weekend is the day of the annual Egg Bowl! (The Mississippi State/Ole Miss football game). Some years we have tickets, but most years we just watch it on TV. This year we plan on watching it at Kelly and Lynn's house. Normally this is the day we put up our tree, but I am so glad that this year it is already up and ready to be enjoyed!
Don't forget to begin wrapping those presents!