Traditions in Transition

It’s the Monday before Thanksgiving and I am not making cranberry sauce or in the middle of five deep cleaning projects as the smell of Murphy’s Oil Soap wafts through the air.

Those were the days of the BIG Thanksgivings when our home would be full of old friends and four or five “strays” as my Mom referred to those who did not go home for Thanksgiving.

We all loved the cooking and cleaning momentum leading up to Turkey Hour, passed around the cream in the jar to shake until it became butter, laughed at the funny media anecdotes hidden under the plates for after dinner reading, bundled up for the mandatory walk before dessert and finished the night raucously over a showdown of Spoons.

Then the “strays” found homes of their own, families of old friends moved back to the area, our own kids married and split holidays with in-laws, worked in hospitals that required holiday attendance or moved to other continents.

The time came to re-design this cherished holiday. As always, the question is “What to hang on to, what to let go of?”

We chose to let go of the large gathering and join in with our own in-laws in the Western Suburbs.  A whole different flavor to the day but a very delicious one.

We chose to hang on to our beloved Thanksgiving Breakfast where we eat once-a-year-specialties and recount what we are all thankful for, write it all down and reminisce over 30 plus years of memories in our Thanksgiving Journal.

We chose to let go of cooking the whole meal but I have a fresh turkey in the fridge to make tomorrow for a little Thanksgiving preview and more importantly, the leftovers!

We chose to hang on to getting our local family together but do that instead on Friday where we gather in Spring Grove, IL to spend a fun afternoon cutting our Christmas trees down together.

Riding the tractor to chop the trees

Hang On, Let Go…tasks we will always be doing as we move through the Seasons of Life.  I hope to flow with grace through the transitions and wish the same for you.

Happy Thanksgiving wherever you celebrate this year!

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16 Responses to “Traditions in Transition”


  1. 1 Adey Wassink November 19, 2012 at 6:50 PM

    lovely and helpful, tish!!!!

  2. 3 Debra Davis November 19, 2012 at 7:14 PM

    Very insightful and timely comments on adjusting with the changing of the family seasons. Not only has our family dynamic changed with four of the six kids too far away to join us, but my late in life career change means spending the week before the holiday in a high school classroom instead of in the kitchen. No longer do we line the dessert table with one of everyone’s favorite pie! One pumpkin will do! but the essential element– being grateful– is the same. Thank you, Tish. And happy Thanksgiving!

  3. 5 cathyvincent November 19, 2012 at 7:55 PM

    I loved your blog as usual. Some great ideas and good wise counsel as usual. I am getting ready to push “publish” on a blog on simplifying (as soon as my hubby checks it over for me.)
    Our holiday changes include a daughter and family moving to Texas, the first time we haven’t all been in Illinois. This year we’ve also lost two father in laws for two of the other kids so holidays are looking different for sure.
    Time goes on, change comes, and we learn to embrace the different seasons as God gives us special things in each one. He is good and I look forward to some THANKSGIVING. Happy Thanksgiving Tish.

  4. 7 Jess November 19, 2012 at 8:57 PM

    Loved this post, Tish. As a cool contrast, we’re creating our first ever Thanksgiving traditions this year. We’ll do the bigger family celebration on Thanksgiving but Friday is reserved just for the 3 of us at home. Tim’s doing the turkey, I’m making Aussie sides and we aren’t leaving the house or answering the phone all day! I’m excited that we’re blazing our own trail for our little family!

  5. 9 patty milazzo November 19, 2012 at 9:04 PM

    Our changes have evolved so much since we moved to ARizona. In Illinois, we were the strays. Here in Arizona we are now in throes of 4 generations, most the generation #3 have in-laws, two-three sets of grandparents, and boyfriend/girlfriend families. This year we will have almost 20 adults and an equal amount of children and teens-at our house! American traditionals with a Mexican twist!!1

  6. 11 Diane November 19, 2012 at 10:06 PM

    Ah…a sweetness to your blog, Tish. This year I’m making a Thanksgiving dinner to take to the nursing home. Sigh. On the other hand, my husband is back doing turkey duty after last year’s sabbatical (heart bypass). Thankful.

  7. 13 Mary Armstrong- reiner November 19, 2012 at 10:28 PM

    Still have wonderful memories of being a stray at your table for Thanksgiving a no. Of years ago. It’s our year to be at home. Cooking for family, and friends who are family. Making homemade rolls for the 31st year. I can’t believe it has been that long. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving wherever you are.

  8. 15 Michael L. De Voe November 20, 2012 at 9:37 PM

    Thank you for bringing me back to such wonderful memories. My times as a stray are some of the warmest and life-giving. I can still see the crock pot with hot apple cider in the living room. I remember learning and playing spoons around the table after dessert. In fact, I remember Jesh and Tom wrestling for one of the spoons. Jesh won. And lots of people laughed. No one left without having been blessed. Thank you so much.


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