As Anton Ego put it in the movie Ratatouille, "... you know what I'm craving? A little perspective. That's it. I'd like some fresh, clear, well seasoned perspective. Can you suggest a good wine to go with that?"
Throughout the years I
have come to have a deep respect for the role family rituals and
traditions have on the healthy state of our family.
For many years I worked as
a Family Consultant with Once Upon A Family and picked up a few ideas.
Although traditions in our home have had seasons of success and seasons
of rest or have had to be modified and/or changed to fit our family's
needs, they still exist!
Each issue of 4 Traditions features ideas I have gathered and/or created that you can use or modify to fit your family's needs.
The Thankful Tree...
This is a great way to put your Thanksgiving guests in a thankful mood.
Make or purchase paper leaves in autumn-colors as you have guests.
Make or purchase a table-top Thanksgiving Tree, or have a basket or bowl
handy. Ask each person to write down what they are thankful for on a
leaf. Tie little ribbons through a hole in the top of each leaf, so
they can be hung on your "Thankful Tree." If you have one of those
little wrought iron trees that you can set on your Thanksgiving table,
this will make a beautiful centerpiece. If you do not have a tree the
leaves can be placed in a basket or bowl on the dinner table. Take turns
reading them as you enjoy dessert, then save them to add to the
collection from years past. You can preserve this history by adding
them to a Thanksgiving album as an after dinner activity. Everyone,
especially children, will enjoy looking back over the years and reading
what they were thankful for.
This tradition requires a
little advance preparation, but the results make the effort more than
worthwhile. A few weeks before Turkey Day, prepare and email a
questionnaire to everyone invited. Plan your questions so that the
answers will reveal funny tidbits of your family history that not
everyone has heard before. Whoever knew that grandpa was a tightrope
walker in the Canadian Circus, or that mom went bungee jumping on spring
break while she was in college? Ask all of your guests to bring these
answered questions and play a fun game of Family Trivia after dinner.
you are not hosting the big dinner, then here's your chance to
contribute to the holiday. Make a yearly gazette! It can be done the
old fashion way with paper and markers, done using an online template or
it can be a video gazette. This tradition involves turning your family
into a news crew, and is especially fun with a big crowd. Assign
everyone in the family a task to be responsible for throughout the day.
The older children can act as reporters and photographers, while the
adults can be the interviewees. Every year choose one of the eldest
family members and make their life history the headline news. The
younger children can even help, by contributing to the "art" section of
the gazette. Don't forget inside family jokes, and a quote for the
day. Finish it up by the end of the day, print and pass out a copy to
everyone. Don't spent too much time making it perfect, it's the
imperfections that can become the best touches. Be sure to send extra
copies to family members who couldn't attend your Thanksgiving Dinner.
Thanksgiving is a
wonderful time to express appreciation to someone that has done
something special for you, or touched you in some way. At each person's
place setting leave a blank card and pen, and let them know that before
dessert is served a letter of thanks must be written. It is a nice
time to look back and reflect on the year and those important people in
our lives. Young children can dictate their thank-you letter to mom or
dad, and even include some "art from the heart." Once the letters have
been written, provide each person with a stamped envelope, so it is easy
to finish this touching task.