I have often heard my children tell their friends: "It's great! We always do this....and we always do that!" It makes my heart happy to know that all the hard work from upholding family traditions at The Duck and Cherry are worth it. To have family members tell others how excited they are about Thanksgiving, Christmas and other holidays and special occasions, is wonderful. Traditions are important. They are a combination of anticipation, hope and safety.
It's not that our traditions are overwhelmingly exciting or even record breaking in any way, but they are ours and we love them. Well, not everybody loves every detail of our celebration that much.
Here's the thing. On Thanksgiving 20-30 big and little people gather in our small kitchen/dining/living room. Extra tables are carried in, decorated with autumn colors, candles and pewter.
Thomas, our nephew cuts the turkey, (He is always first to let us know he'll be there for Thanksgiving. He affirms the appointment right after summer has let go), and a few of us get all the food stuff ready and presentable as a buffet on the long kitchen counter by the windows.
We sit down. We bless the food and our bounty and the feasting begins.
Mid-through the meal we take a few minutes to say what we are grateful for. Everyone has a go. Everyone, except my sister, who is a little shy. We gracefully skip her, knowing she has a thankful heart. But this is an important tradition. Being grateful is a recipe for happy living, and saying it out loud confirms it even more.
Then for entertainment between turkey and pie, we sing! Yes, we sing happy Christmas songs. We have made a leaflet and religiously go through the songs from A to Z.
Now, this is not a favorite with everyone. There are those who wonder why "The twelve Days of Christmas" actually has to have 12 verses - every year!
But my favorite sing-a-long memory is when our son-in-law, Robert, came to our house for the first time. It was Thanksgiving. The young man sat next to me, his girlfriend's mother. How scary isn't that? Then we started singing. The poor guy had no choice. He wanted to make a good impression on Anya (who sat across the room playing the piano) and her family, so he sang joyously, and we loved it - and him - for it!
After the last song "Over the River and Through the Woods" ends with the words "Hurrah for the Pumpkin Pie", we eat pie. Still full and content, we manage a thin slice of several of the 6 or so homemade pies.
It's just as fun every year. I agree with Tevje, from "The Fiddler on the Roof": Traditions are important!