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Thanksgiving: A Time For New Traditions

Thanksgiving is upon us. With Thanksgiving occurring at the very end of November apparently that shortened us to only three weeks
( as opposed to usually four weeks) until Christmas. Of course, if you are celebrating Chanukah, the holiday actually starts the night BEFORE Thanksgiving, so hurry up shoppers.

So what does this calendar update have to do with family law, you might be asking. For some, this might be the first time you won’t be gathering around the holiday table with your children. It may be the first time celebrating a holiday at a new location. You might even actually miss your former mother-in-law’s cranberry compote (well, maybe not). Yes, a recent separation or divorce will inevitably bring changes. However, if you look at these changes with a positive perspective it can make all the difference between a sad holiday and a holiday to share new experiences.

Think back to before your marriage and before you had children. Your holidays were different back then as well. When you married and had children the holidays changed, and new traditions were established.

So now things have changed again, and it is time to create new customs and traditions. If you won’t have your children on Thanksgiving day, who says you can’t invite your extended family to have a traditional dinner that weekend or, if the children are gone, the following weekend. Turkey and pumpkin pie can be eaten on other days and taste just as good. If you will be with your children for the holiday, make sure they call the other parent. Have them bring the other parent a “goodie” basket, maybe some cookies or another treat the children helped make. It never hurts to be nice, and it usually makes us feel better.

These are just a few suggestions to get you started, but I am sure if you give it a little thought you can come up with many more new traditions that will be special and meaningful to your family. Remember, even if it has been a rough year for your family, you still have so many things to be thankful for. (Hey, without that other person, you wouldn’t even have these great kids!) Here’s another idea, have your children come up with a list of all those things they are thankful for. I bet some of the things they list will surprise you.

Thanksgiving has evolved in my home over the years as well. This is the first year I have to wait for both of my children to come home for the holiday. But keeping some traditions are nice as well. So yes, the Publix pilgrim salt and pepper shakers are out…two sets…one for each of my children, just in case we miss a Thanksgiving together in the future, we can keep a little of the past alive.

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