Thanksgiving is almost here! As plans are being made, food is being purchased and the excitement grows I couldn’t help but think back to the years of thanksgivings I’ve celebrated. While I’ve never had any Thanksgivings like an episode of Friends with a turkey stuck on anyone’s head, I’ve had some unique ones-as I’m sure you have too! Here are my top 10 Thanksgiving memories-in no particular order:
1. Cranberry “sauce”: I have no idea who in my extended family liked or wanted the cranberry “sauce” but as a child I remember the canned cranberries-in the perfect form of the can, sitting upright in a bowl. It looked untouched with its perfectly formed rings and smooth top and it was a staple every year. I thought sauce meant liquid but these cranberries never were mashed or spread into any form. Just a can. Eeked out into a bowl.
2. Special Announcements: I don’t remember many as a child but as I reached my teens (and now as an adult) and my older cousins or siblings were going to college, getting married, or having babies these are fond memories. Before the days of Facebook announcements, families actually sat around the table and shared the joyous news from their own mouths. You never forget those moments of cheers, tears and audible words of excitement.
3. My first Thanksgiving: Our first year of marriage Josh and used up all his leave for our wedding in June so we stayed in Missouri on post by ourselves. I had never cooked a turkey in my life and excitedly made my grocery list and upon sharing my list with Josh he informed me he doesn’t eat turkey. I couldn’t have been more shocked or appalled in my life. He hates turkey?! Even though I’d been to many thanksgivings with Josh-since we were 15- I never knew he hated turkey. All was well that thanksgiving with a mini turkey and a mini ham and a lesson learned that thanksgiving is about more than a turkey.
4. Thanksgiving Food: Speaking of turkeys I have to add thanksgiving food to my list. I don’t know why its the only time of year my family ever ate an enormous turkey(or ham) but it was and many other foods make that list too. Green bean casserole, broccoli and cheese casserole, watergate salad, Grandma’s fruit salad, pumking pie and a cheese ball. OH and don’t forget the cranberry “sauce”! Does your family eat these side dishes year round? For some reason Thanksgiving and Christmas is the only time these dishes appear on our table.
5. Crafting: As kids we used to make Christmas ornaments after the big meal. My Aunts or Grandma had prepared the fabric or other materials to make the ornaments and we spent the afternoon completing our little works of art. I still have these ornaments today and they have their place on my Christmas tree ever year.
6. Turkey Trot: This is a new one for me as I never cared about running before, so a few years ago I ran my first ever Turkey Trot. It was also the first year I ever ran an entire mile without stopping. Last year I split the 5 mile race with my mom and had such a fun time. It’s a great way to start your day of eating with a morning of running-if you’ve never considered a Turkey Trot you don’t have to run, you can walk and its a great memory to make with your family!
7. Family: Thanksgiving today looks much different than it did as a child, as not all the aunts, uncles and cousins come meet at one place anymore. Our own family has grown and we just don’t all fit in one house, so we’ve narrowed it down to our siblings and their families. Now my children get to spend the day playing with their cousins and making their own memories. I do miss the giant game of spoons we used to play as a kid-so maybe I’ll have to bring that back this year.
8.Black Friday Ads: I love getting up early and getting to the grocery store to get the big fat paper stuffed with ads for Black Friday. We sit around after our big meal and talk about what my nephews and nieces want, make out lists for my children and pass them around to the family. Then we make our plan of where we’re going and what time we have to get up in the morning and if we need to pick up something at one store because so and so will be at another store.
9. Thanksgiving weekend madness: Being off of work and spending time with family is such a joy. Thanksgiving is simple(beyond food prep) and gives the opportunity to just spend time with family. Josh and my brother Justin take full advantage of this time by playing video games all night Thursday night until Josh leaves for Black Friday shopping at Menards at 4a.m. This doesn’t really include me, but its fun to see (now) two grown adults not thinking about work and having free time to just maybe act like kids again. Every year I wonder if they’ll make it all night and fall asleep but they don’t and its fun to see them having fun.
10.Grandpa’s War Stories: There isn’t a sibling or a cousin who hasn’t heard all of Grandpa’s Army stories-maybe somewhat begrudgingly on my part, not sticking around long enough as a young girl, but in later years I would ask questions and relish the time. I’m glad I did because Grandpa doesn’t tell as many stories these days and with all that we know, we can pass them along to our children on his behalf.
Thanksgiving, among other holidays, is a time for making lasting memories. Maybe they aren’t the best, maybe they are unforgettable, but they are ingrained into a part of life story. Take the time this Thanksgiving to create memories with your family and enjoy the life you’ve been given.
What are your favorite Thanksgiving memories?
What are you most looking forward to this Thanksgiving?