family fun

Family Fun: Make Your Own Traditions

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With fall fast approaching, we are about to be surrounded by colored leaves, apple picking, pumping carving, and cooler temperatures. Fall is also a reminder that the holidays are right around the corner. The holidays are a time to be with family and friends, eat, laugh, and be merry. Unfortunately, along with the holidays often comes the stress of figuring out who to celebrate the holidays with. My husband and I are originally from different states, so celebrating with both sides of our families on actual holidays is not logistically feasible.

Girls in a canoe on a lake in Fall

We started off alternating Thanksgiving and Christmas (our two big holidays) with each family. However, something was always missing. Just because a month earlier I spent Thanksgiving with my mom didn’t mean that I wanted to miss seeing her Christmas morning. My mother was also handicapped and wheelchair confined, so she couldn’t prepare holiday meals on her own. That added another element of stress (and guilt) to the mix, since if I did not prepare Thanksgiving dinner, she would virtually not be celebrating the holiday.

So I came up with the idea (well, in all honesty, I can’t remember who came up with it but I’m going to take credit for it) of Fake Thanksgiving. We began celebrating this new holiday the weekend before actual Thanksgiving. We would gather with my mother, brother, and some close family members and have a full turkey dinner complete with all the fixings. We would decorate the house with Thanksgiving decorations, we would give thanks, and we would celebrate together as a family.

Celebrating Fake Thanksgiving with my family beforehand meant that we were able to celebrate real Thanksgiving with my husband’s family. There was no guilt or hard feelings over not being able to see both families. In 2009, my mother passed away. Although she had been sick most of my life, her death came sooner than we expected. I look back now and I’m so grateful that I spent as many holidays with her as I did—whether they be “real” or “fake.” When all is said and done, Fake Thanksgiving was as real as it got for my family. I am now continuing on the tradition of Fake Thanksgiving with my children. We will adorn construction paper headdresses (my mother’s signature accessory) and talk about Fake Thanksgivings of the past.

Sometimes in the holiday season, we get so caught up that we forget that the holidays are ultimately about spending time together. A holiday isn’t necessarily a date on a calendar. The holiday police will not come and arrest you if you enjoy a helping (or two or three) of stuffing with your loved ones before Thanksgiving. Traditions don’t have to be cookie cutter. Traditions are what you make of them. So when the stress of the holidays starts to get to you, start thinking outside the box.

What new tradition could you start with your loved ones?

Diane Thies is a diaper changer, nose wiper, candy lover, wine lover, social media junkie, stay at home mom to three small children, and blogs about it all at Dollops of Diane!

Featured image courtesy of Flickr.
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Diane Thies

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