Thursday, November 12, 2009
Creating New Traditions
A few years ago I did a series of interviews on television and radio on this topic. I was surprised how many men were interested in the topic, too. First, all of you have your own ideas based on your families. It's the kind of creativity that may need just a small candle light to ignite it. If you've been thinking of something and haven't gotten around to do it, maybe the time is now.
I have always regretted not keeping a holiday log. How simple it would have been to jot down the menu, a recipe or two, and most importantly, who were the guests that year. We spend time these days trying to recreate moments that would have taken just a few to record. One of my favorite gifts for new homeowners in such a log. It doesn't have to be an expensive one. There are such things, but one can make it as simple as a notebook. However, the leather bounds do have a way of not getting lost or misplaced. If you go overboard, the project is likely to be too demanding to keep going year after year. You can find some great journals at sites such as Etsy, Jenni Bick Bookbinding, or Rustico.
I was interested in the comment about having Thanksgiving in one's own home for the first time, rather than bundling up little ones and heading to grandmother's house. Both are marvelous experiences. But if this year, the torch is being passed to your table, it's a great time to start a new tradition and keep some of the beloved ones, too. We Americans move around a lot--and it means that many of us are putting down new roots every few years. How comforting to have a cutting from a previous root to plant in a new community.
One recent year, I was separated from my family on Thanksgiving Day. My dear friend Ann invited me to her apartment. I met old friends and made a few new ones. Ann and her family have spent holidays with us over the years. It wasn't at all like being "alone." My dad always used to say it wasn't Thanksgiving unless we had at least two new people at the table. He did his best to keep that faith, I must say. Dear Kim has spent a few holidays with us recently because she had to put her wings down as a result of a horse riding accident. The moral of this story is that the holidays are for good cheer with those we love and those who love to spend time with us.
When creating new traditions, it would be a nice idea to get input from the whole family. Tom, at Ann's, creates the place cards. It was his idea as a little guy and has continued for this college student. And dad can do more than carve the turkey or the roast. As I suggested, men I've talked to want their own part of the festivities. And how many men do we have in the kitchen these days? Well, there's one in my house.
Would love to have you share your new traditions, as well as the ways you keep the holidays in your family. And best of all, how a new tradition blends beautifully with the time-honored ways we celebrate. My friend Suzy, who now lives in Mexico, recalls every Thanksgiving of seeing the parade in our New York offices of Victoria. We watch it on television now, wherever we are, and remember what it was like being eyeball-to-eyeball with those balloons. Suzy writes an email from Mexico--and it's like having her with us--an old tradition blends with a new one. And while I wouldn't have missed the parade for anything when we opened our offices to dozens of people and their kids, I enjoy not getting up at five in the morning to do it.
Happy to have so many good comments; you are all sharing such heartfelt thoughts and ideas. It is exactly what should be happening--Bravo.