Flashback Friday: Thanksgiving

Mocha With Linda hosts a weekly meme called Flashback Friday. She’ll post a question every Thursday, and then Friday we can link our answers up on her site. You can visit her site for more Flashbacks.

The prompt for this week is:

What was Thanksgiving like when you were growing up? What days did you usually have off from school? Do you remember any Thanksgiving activities at school, such as a play or a meal? During the Thanksgiving weekend, did you travel to spend it with relatives or did you stay home? Or did relatives travel to you? What was your family’s day typically like? Did you watch the Macy’s Parade or something else on TV? Have you ever attended a Thanksgiving parade? Was football a big part of the day? And of course, we have to hear what your family ate! Were there any traditional foods that were part of your family’s meal? Which of your growing-up traditions do you do with your family today? And if you are married, how did it go merging your two traditions/expectations?

I think we usually had just Thursday and Friday off from school for the Thanksgiving holidays. I’m glad my kids have gotten out at noon on the Wednesday before for the last several years. I don’t remember having Thanksgiving meals at schools where parents or grandparents were invited. Not to be a killjoy, bit I really don’t like that — it seems to me to take away from the family Thanksgiving. I liked what one of my son’s teachers did one year with just a few snacks, then things like pemmican that the original pilgrims and Indians might have had.

We might have done plays or activities at school, but the only one I remember is tracing around our hands and then coloring and adding features to make it look like a turkey (thumb was the head, the other fingers were feathers.)

I don’t remember traveling or having other relatives travel in for Thanksgiving as a child. That kind of thing took place at Christmas but mostly during the summers when weather was better and people had more time off.

I think we watched parades if they happened to be on when we turned the TV on, but it wasn’t a tradition or a “must-see.” My dad was a football fan, so we probably watched whatever game was on — or maybe only if the Dallas Cowboys were playing, I don’t remember.

We ate the usual Thanksgiving fare: turkey, cornbread dressing (we used the terms “dressing” and “stuffing” interchangeably), mashed potatoes and gravy, sweet potatoes, some other vegetable side dish, pumpkin and apple pies. I don’t think we ever had cranberry sauce.

When my husband and I first got married and lived near our alma mater, we often had college friends over, and that was fun, especially since they couldn’t get home.It was nice to provide a little slice of homeyness for them. Some years Jim’s former pastor’s family came to town when he had married kids in college, and they often invited us over for Thanksgiving — that provided us with a bit of homeyness!

My family’s Thanksgiving now is much the same. The meal is pretty much the same: we often have a green bean casserole or Vegetable Medley as an additional side. No one likes sweet potatoes except Mittu and me. We might turn on the parades, we might not. We usually eat around 12 or 1, have pies later in the afternoon, then heat up leftovers or make turkey sandwiches in the evening. For years my dear husband has taken care of getting all the meat off the turkey after dinner and then cleaning the roasting pan for me — that helps a lot because I am starting to get wear by that point. I usually get a nap some time in the afternoon. None of us is into football, but we might watch a video that night (planning on Toy Story 3 this year! We’ve all seen it except Jeremy. None of us minds seeing it again, and he wants to see it with us). Sometimes we might play a game.

Sometimes we go around the table saying what we’re thankful for, sometimes not.

This year we will be especially thankful to be all together again after being separated since this summer.

I like that it is a fairly laid-back day except for the big meal. Even though we don’t have a lot of unique traditions, I love the day as a time to think intentionally about thankfulness and a time to relax with family.

In addition, one of the highlights for me of the holiday and the year is that in every church we’ve been in, there has been some kind of praise service at some point during the week. In that particular service often it takes on a retrospective look back at the year, and it a blessed time of rejoicing with those who have had special blessings or or empathizing with those who have experienced answers to prayer and God’s grace in trials. An evening of laughter and tears and reflecting on God’s blessings!

5 thoughts on “Flashback Friday: Thanksgiving

  1. I am glad you will all be together for Thanksgiving. That is something big to be thankful about.

    In the school I taught at in Vegas, the 3rd grade has the tradition of serving a traditional Thanksgiving dinner. For many of our students — most second language learners — that is the only way they would ever learn about some of those foods. Many of my students had only ever had turkey in that school lunch.

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