Thanksgiving is among my favorite holiday long weekends. It’s one of three public holidays in Canada, along with Christmas and Easter that call for a family dinner tradition. I love family dinners!
You’d think that by virtue of its name, Ontario’s “Family Day” would also inspire a similar tradition but the third Monday of February is nothing more than a McGuinty fabricated holiday designed to get votes. It is not appropriate to attach the term “tradition” to a 5 year old politically motivated paid day off. But, I digress. That’s a topic better suited to my other blog. Back to Thanksgiving family traditions….
Old and New Traditions Combine
Everything about Thanksgiving oozes with tradition. This year, 19 of our family members gathered around an extended table that took hours to set and decorate. An autumn coloured table cloth completed the background as candles burned, wine flowed, and huge platters of the feast were passed from hand to hand. Servings covered everything from turkey and ham to vegan soup and vegetable platters.
Pumpkin pie and eatable chocolate cup Bailey’s shooters were served for dessert with my niece’s beautifully decorated homemade cookies. Pot-luck contributors all paid homage to the vegan dietary requirements of our health conscious 20 somethings. That falls into the category of new Thanksgiving family traditions.
The Importance of Family
As usual, we also celebrated Papa’s birthday. The loudest singers of the birthday song are always the aunts who can’t hit a note. We rejoice in their pathetic harmony. The old guy has become quite the patriarchal spiritual motivator and inspirational leader of family values. His touching pre-dinner blessing hit the right theme as he acknowledged the presence of nieces and nephews who had traveled from Atlantic and Pacific coasts to reconnect with family.
The Tradition of Giving
Following our dinner, I thought about a few of our clients, friends and associates at Qualicare who missed out on their Thanksgiving family traditions. One relocated on Friday from hospital to a palliative care facility. Another was discharged from hospital on Saturday without much notice or opportunity to prepare for a return home.
Others, unable to transport, were visited by family and friends offering heartfelt alternatives to old familiar traditions. I also thought of the nurses, personal support workers and family caregivers who gave up their own traditions to support others in greater need. Giving to others on Thanksgiving is a tradition in itself.
Regardless of what your traditions are, they are the treasures of your family. We hope you and yours had a fantastic weekend filled with memorable traditions worthy of making you feel thankful.
Wishing you a happy Thanksgiving!