Last week we had Thanksgiving here in the U.S. While I admit that I’m not always one for the more commercial holidays, I really do love traditions. I am especially fond of family holiday traditions. If you read our “Who we are” information, you might have noted that I have an BA in Folklore Studies (A Research Studies subset). I spent well over a year at University studying familial traditions from all over the world, and in studying traditions of other cultures, I found myself drawn even more to those of my own.
Family is everything where I grew up in the Southern U. S. state of Georgia. I remember traveling up to Tennessee with my parents at a very young age to the farm my mom grew up on when I was little. I think to this day it might have been one of the largest Thanksgiving dinners I have every been to that was just family. I remember how the house smelled, the laughter trickling in from different rooms, and the big farm table that we all sat at. It was covered with the prep for the massive meal my Grams created when we arrived. Every year, I think of the Thanksgivings we had at that farm, and of the many more that followed, even those floating from house to house after my Grandfather passed away and my Grams lived with each of her kids for a few months at a time during the year. As the only child, she was often with us around the holidays.
That bright memory was the first time that I spent in the kitchen with my Gram, my Mom, my Aunts and cousins (all adult by then, as I was the youngest by 9 years.) There was a unique dynamic of the practice of working together many times over the years, and camaraderie that it took me well into adult to understand was part of the Thanksgiving tradition. I learned to cook in that kitchen, and that a meal cooked with such love and togetherness will always taste better than anything else in the world. Those moments, and the traditions, and foods we always had then at the table, set my own Thanksgiving Day preferences.
Other things that we do, I picked up over the years… playing games after the meal, watching a certain horrible movie that I refuse to name on the television, going around the table and each person mentioning something that they are thankful for (my 5 year old is very thankful for Dinosaurs this year.) This, however, is probably my favorite little part, because it forces all of us to stop for a minute, and think about the good things in our lives- to take a breath, breath in and out, and embrace what we treasure most.
And while my parents are still in Georgia, I have a family up there whom I have spend over a decade and half of holidays with and we have our own traditions that have blended.
This year, I hosted my very first Thanksgiving dinner at my house, and it was lovely. The day was filled with warmth, friendship, love and traditions.
I hope you all, not just those who have a Thanksgiving Holiday, have those moments of tradition that bring you and your family and friends together to spend quality time with good people and spread a little love and joy to each other.
Myself, I am thankful every year for the memories that our traditions invoke and for the wonderful and happy memories that they help me create.
The Researcher’s Gateway.