Fall is here and Thanksgiving family traditions have been on my mind. I love fall and the cool weather that brings the changing leaves. Fall also means fun things like carving pumpkins. A fall tradition that Evan and his two cousins, Janae and Karina had a blast doing while sprawled out on our front porch, leaving behind pumpkin seeds and “guts”. This tradition still brings creativity and laughter to our home. Here is Evan’s 2020 creation.
Everyone tells you how quickly your children will grow up. When you are in the middle of changing diapers, buying backpacks, and kissing boo boos you feel like you have all the time in the world. Then… the whirlwind of growing up begins to slow and before you know it your children start to drive (terrifying), then head off to college (mind boggling), and you ask yourself where have the years gone? You find yourself huddled on the coach scrolling through old pictures with a box of tissues at your side… Not that I have ever done this 😉
While each phase of parenting comes with its set of challenges and crazy amazing fun, one thing all of my family seems to agree on, is our love of family traditions. If, by some freak of nature, I forget a particular tradition, my kids all look at me with pouty faces and ask things like, “Where are the Christmas sticky buns?” …Never happened ;)… Okay but it was only one time… and I replaced it with french toast…never again. I learned my lesson. lol
Benefits of Creating Family Traditions
“Family traditions hold a special place in our hearts. Some of our fondest childhood memories are borne out of the traditions our parents upheld, and our children’s memories are likewise being made with every book, board game, road trip, or celebration. Traditions give us a shared identity. They strengthen our bond as a family unit. They create structure, stability, a sense of familiarity and safety, all things that are important for children, particularly young children. Traditions help us to nourish one another.
There is even some suggestion that family traditions promote better emotional adjustment. Dr. Steven Wolin, a psychiatrist at the George Washington University, says, ‘If you grow up in a family with strong rituals, you’re more likely to be resilient as an adult.’ “
As we became adults my sisters and I often sat around reminiscing about fond memories centered around our family traditions. Now I see my own children on the verge of adulthood reflecting on traditions they hold dear.
As a family we are entering the phase of life where kids are heading off to college and now, more than ever, I appreciate the time I invested in carrying on long-standing family traditions and in creating new ones.
Carrying on Our Family’s Thanksgiving Tradition
Thanksgiving is around the corner and as a family we are making plans for our Thanksgiving Dinner. I have begun to think about this year’s Tradition of Thankful cards.
One of our Thanksgiving Day traditions is to place a gratitude card on each dinner plate. Before we feast, we all take time to write out at least three specific things from the year that we are thankful for.
Before we go around the table and share our newest gratitudes, we pass out the cards from past years. We all love pulling out the old cards and seeing what each of us wrote years before. Here is one of our son Alex’s gratitude cards when he was little. I love that he was grateful for Doughnuts! Who isn’t! LOL
It is amazing how the things your kids were thankful for at age ten change quite a bit by the time they are eighteen. This activity has even spilled over into our larger family Thanksgiving gathering, giving us all time to pause as a large family, go around the very full table and share our personal gratitude.
A Place to Store Your Thanksgiving Gratitude Cards
You can be so creative in selecting a box to store them in. You could use a small organizing box or basket, I even thought about finding a recipe box (that wasn’t specifically labeled for recipes on the outside) to place the cards. Over the years I came across this sweet little gratitude box at TJMaxx which now holds our Thanksgiving Cards.
Each Thanksgiving we bring out the box and add more cards to the growing stack. I can’t wait to open this box when I am 80 years old and read over a lifetime of thankfulness!
2020 has been a hard year for all of us…big sigh… but there is something powerful in learning to offer gratitude even in the hard times. I am looking forward to the day I can write, I am thankful Corona is over, on my Thanksgiving card!
Get Started With Your Own Family Thankful Cards
Want a little help starting your own Thanksgiving Cards with your family? Click HERE to get your free printable Thanksgiving gratitude cards.
( I suggest printing them on cardstock for a more durable version)
I am always looking for more ways to create family traditions, if you have some you would like to share, please, leave a comment below.
Want some more inspiration on fostering family, check out this post How My Mom Made the Ordinary Extraordinary