Mom Squad members share their Holiday Traditions!

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My favorite thanksgiving tradition is having TWO thanksgivings. We will go to my Mom & Dad (Aka Nana & Pappys) house first thing in the AM to watch the parade and have a big breakfast. I try to force everyone to watch the Westminster Dog Show and sometimes I win. We eat turkey at around 12 and then digest till about 2 when we head out to Dorian's Mom & Dad (Papa & Gramma Pumpkins) house for even more food and an evening hanging out with that side of the family.
Its nothing fancy, but lots of togetherness, hanging out, and random naps.

Our traditions have changed drastically the past couple of years because I got divorced and now I'm getting remarried.
I've never been one to be a stickler for the "day".  When your kids are grown and away from the house they may have to attend dinners at inlaws etc., and so I'm the "easy" going mom.  Whatever works for them.  If we can do it on Thursday great, if not then we'll plan for dinner on a weekend.  We're an extremely blended family.
Another reason the traditions have changed is the food itself.  My daughter was diagnosed with celiac disease two years ago so everything has to be gluten free for her.  A product called Cup 4 Cup has saved us as it is a gluten free flour that can be used just like wheat flour.  We use it in gravies, pies, everything.   We usually spend the morning having bacon and eggs and then we don't eat again until the Thanksgiving meal itself.
We ALWAYS go around the table and each person says what they are thankful for this year.  We also usually go for a walk afterwards to make room for dessert!

I know this is the teacher in me coming through......We do a "gratitude tree" and it is a visual representation to my kids of many of their blessings. I affix a paper tree trunk to the wall and then either but pre cut leaves or make them with construction paper. After dinner one night during November, each of us has 5 blank leaves to use, and more are in a bowl in the middle of the table for anybody who would like to write down more things they are grateful for. We tape them all over the tree and then on Thanksgiving, do something similar. This year, like many before, we are hosting Thanksgiving at our house. Each guest will find their place at the table with a blank leaf and the option for more in a bowl on the table. All leaves are taped up onto the tree and it's a special reminder of the many blessings we have. I will attach a picture.

During dinner, there is always a toast initiated celebrating our family and friends, those who are with us, those who are not and those who have already passed. During dinner we always go around the table and everyone shares something that they are grateful for since this time last year. In our child centered society, it's important for the kids to be a part of the experience and hearing gratitude multigenerationally.

One of the traditions that my Mom started with us is watching the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, while getting the turkey ready for the oven. It's what makes Thanksgiving Day feel official to me and I look forward to it annually. My favorite thing to eat on Thanksgiving is without a doubt, my Mom's apple pie.

A newer tradition that my sister and I started came from the discussion about how to keep Thanksgiving upbeat, happy and different from other family get togethers- So we decided to commemorate the day with it's history and made Pilgrim and Native American hats out of construction paper. The guys were pilgrims and the girls were squaws. It was fun and made for some great pictures. We are doing it again this year, at lease for the family pic:).

Laura's Blessing Bags

Start with a large zip top plastic bag and add items assembly line style.

You will need 20 each of:

20 large zip top bags
lip balm
mini deodorant
travel size toothbrush and toothpaste
travel size bar of soap
travel size sunblock
travel size hand lotion
travel size facial tissues
protein bar
dried fruit
beef jerky
trail mix
gift card to inexpensive food chain
bottle of water
wet wipes

Keep "blessing bags" in your car to hand out through the window to those in need.