For me, traditions and family are a very important part of the holidays, so I’ve been trying to make some of my own traditions to make up for the traditions we lost. I haven’t been able to come up with any, though I’ve tried. The first year, I boycotted. We didn’t do anything Thanksgiving-y. We did visit with some friends who have a large family event, but I was so into my boycott (and I wanted to make Ebelskivers), we decided to buy different foods from different countries and have them, instead of the usual holiday fare. The next year, I still hadn’t decided what traditions to add. I picked up a happy Thanksgiving scarecrow, which I intended to put out each year. I tried to come up with some Elf on the Shelf sort of idea with it, but the kids didn’t even seem to notice if the scarecrow on the shelf was happy with them. I guess they didn’t care if the scarecrow brought them turkey for Thanksgiving or not.
Harrumph, no new holiday tradition there.
So I bought a small, precooked turkey breast and made Mac-n-cheese for the side. The next day I was so tired, I tossed together a bunch of things from the freezer, since we didn’t have leftovers. We had spinach pie, paella, some naan, and some Asian dumplings I’d picked up from Trader Joes.
This year, I tried making my own Thanksgiving food from scratch, but that was just too exhausting to be a new tradition. We went to the holiday parade, which we’ve done for the past two years, and we were running late, so we stopped at Trader Joes again. I wanted something with chicken, my husband wanted something Indian, my daughter wanted bagels. Rather than fight about it, we got them all and went home to cook them up and head to the parade.
That was when I realized that my family has a holiday tradition, and it’s a great one. It may not have been intentionally adopted, and in fact, it snuck up on us without our even noticing, but this was our third annual international day! At the annual Christmas parade, we had Chicken Valencia, Aloo Chaat (a hot pocket, masala style), bagels with cream cheese, and Kinder Buenos for desert.
I can’t think of a better thing to do, the day after celebrating the things that make our country and our lives wonderful, than to celebrate the other countries and cultures that share our world. In fact, next year I think we’ll add some objects from one of the different countries, or perhaps learn some new fact about one of them—maybe both. That way we, as a family, can appreciate more things about those countries than their delicious dishes.
What holiday traditions do you have, and have any of them snuck up on you?
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