This year will be the second year we will spend Thanksgiving at home.
Just the 4 of us around the table.
It almost sounds un-American to have such a small gathering on a day when people’s houses are packed to the gills with family and friends, good smells and lots of noise, tons of kids running around, sneaking bits of turkey, and putting giant black olives on their fingers.
I didn’t grow up around my relatives.
Our nearest relative was a few hours away, so we spent most of the big holidays at home with just the five of us.
Somehow, it seemed so much more intimate and comforting to be surrounded by those with whom I was closest and most comfortable.
I have such fond memories of the holidays as a child, whether it was Thanksgiving, Christmas or the 4th of July…
Mom made all the favorites, and made way too much of it.
Last year my husband and I decided that we wanted to start creating our own family traditions around Thanksgiving. He’s not American, but he realizes the importance of our children learning and celebrating both of their heritages.
So I began teaching them American history, telling them over and over about how our founding fathers came over on a big boat to find freedom to serve God.
I started teaching them about thankfulness and doing turkey crafts.
This year we’ll do a Thankful Tree!
Then the big day arrived.
Rather than turkey, we eat chicken…with all the fixins and pie!
The amazing smells fill our house all day and taunt us until we can hardly stand it. 5 kernels of corn sit on our plates to remind us of that first winter when so many pilgrims lost their lives.
And we enjoy something we don’t get to do very often: eat a family meal together.
My husband works shifts.
Every week he works a different shift. Every week our schedule is turned upside down. And one of the many downsides to shift work is that a shift worker is often not hungry at usual mealtimes, but becomes ravenously hungry when no one else is interested in eating.
Not only is he not present for most meal times, but when the boys and I usually eat, he is often not hungry at all.
We do try to do as many meals together as we can, but it often doesn’t work out.
So, when he is able to be with us for the holidays, we take that precious moment of gathering around the table together and savor it.
It is one of my greatest prayers that as our children grow that we remain each others’ closest friends. That my boys enjoy a close bond and that they enjoy a close bond with my husband and me, as we enjoy a healthy, happy marriage.
And I believe that those bonds are strengthened during these times:
Mealtimes around the table
Celebrations of holidays and birthdays
There is something about the comforting fragrance of home that touches the heart in a special and deep way…
and this is why we choose to spend Thanksgiving at home.
We want to take every moment we have to deepen and strengthen that bond with our children, because you don’t get very many years with them until they are in their own homes creating their own traditions with their own families; and hopefully passing on the tradition of making their homes a haven for their loved ones!!
During the month of October, I have joined Courtney from Women Living Well and hundreds of women all over the world in making my home a haven. I am lighting my lovely Yankee Candle (a treasured gift from a friend in the States) to remind myself to pray peace over my home each and every day.
I blogged through this challenge last year, too. You can read the posts here: Making My Home a Haven 2014 Fall Challenge
If you’d like to join us, you can go here to read about this week’s challenge.