​Thanksgiving Traditions Jordan and I Love

Author: Jessica Dautruche

Turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, cranberry sauce, collard greens, corn bread, ham, haitian mac and cheese, Griyo (fried pork), Pikliz (spicy vegetables) Diri Djon Djon (black rice) and to end the evening, a taste of Cremas (creamed coconut drink). It was the perfect combination of flavors - a mix of the Haitian-American culture that I knew and loved growing up. My mother spent days preparing for the meal and you could taste the time, energy, and skill that went into every dish.

Thanksgiving was always a special time to celebrate and appreciate friends and family over a delicious meal. Most of my fondest memories are sitting around the table enjoying food and the smiles of the people I love. Now that I’m older and have my own little one, I want to continue our tradition of food and family, add other memorable activities, and decide what makes sense for us.

Here is list of ideas for fun traditions to start this holiday season:

  1. Watch old family videos or create a show of pictures to view. Scrapbooking with pictures from the year can also be fun.
  2. Have the kids work on a centerpiece for the dinner table or decorate placemats for each person.
  3. Volunteer to serve food at homeless shelters or participate in canned food drives.
  4. Play a family game after dinner: Football, cards, or family feud.
  5. Create a new dish every year.
  6. Invite someone over who can't make it to see their family.
  7. Trade leftovers with other friends and family.

As you plan for the upcoming holiday season, you may also want to think about how you will talk your kids about the history of Thanksgiving.

When I was little and in elementary school, we made pilgrim top hats and feathered headbands out of paper. We listened to a story involving Plymouth Rock, a cold winter, a Native American who helped the settlers learn to plant, a harvest, and a friendly dinner. I never talked to my parents about the story, until I heard another version that included massacres and blankets of smallpox. I don’t remember the exact response but it was something like - “that’s not what our Thanksgiving is about” and I was redirected to continue peeling garlic or washing dishes. I don’t think my parents were ready for the conversation but I know I want to be ready and proactive in the conversation with my son. My goal is to raise a socially conscious and action oriented individual. He knows people can love whoever they want and that sometimes people are treated differently because of the color of their skin but I know we still have a long way to go.

I’m not sure what other parents are doing and thinking but I’d love to hear different ideas about how to approach Thanksgiving. ~Jazz

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