I've been thinking a lot about holiday traditions, so it was fun to see one of the topics for this round of the Etsybloggers carnival: "What is your favorite tradition for the Thanksgiving holiday?"
Like many families, mine has always made a point of expressing our gratitude before gorging ourselves on all the delicious food. While the dishes steamed on the table and delectable aromas filled the air, we would clasp hands, say grace, and take turns saying what we were most thankful for that year. I remember being a little kid and somewhat impatient with this ritual -- there was yummy food to eat, inches away! Why not eat first and give thanks after, I wondered.
But as I've grown, I've come to like this tradition more and more, and I definitely plan to continue it in some form with my kids. (I confess that the tradition of caloric indulgence is one that I'm quite fond of as well, and of course we'll keep that one going too! Though this year, the kids might not be so into it -- I've done some trial runs with stuffing and sweet potatoes recently, and neither BB nor BJ wanted anything to do with them. So we'll see how it goes.) Recently, I've been brainstorming ways that I could make it more meaningful for the little ones, and I think I've settled on something: the Thanksgiving Bowl.
(And no, this has nothing to do with football -- gazing slack-jawed at a sporting event has very little role in the holiday traditions in this family, which is FINE by me. To each his (or her) own, but we're neither big TV watchers nor sports fans around here.)
On Thansksgiving, I plan to put a big bowl out on the table and to fill it with emblems of our gratitude. This could be a picture, an actual object, something written on paper -- anything that is somehow related to things we are thankful for. Once everbody has put something in, we'll sit down together and talk about the things in the bowl.
I think this is a concept that even little BB can understand, or start to at least. Since we'll be having dinner with S's aunt and uncle, I thought we'd fill up the bowl in the morning (or perhaps even in the days leading up to the holiday) and talk about everything before we headed over for dinner.
I'm still working through the details, so if anybody has any suggestions about how to make this work best with a 22 month old and a 3 1/2 year old, by all means let me know! And I'll be sure to let y'all know how it works out.