Monday, November 22, 2010

Counting Cranberries . . .

Family traditions are one way of knitting a family together. There is something sweet and satisfying about shared anticipation, shared experiences, shared memories. Some of those traditions are handed on to us, and we are responsible for carrying them on, or reinterpreting and updating them; sometimes we create a new holiday tradition without meaning to.
Several years ago, I was trying to think of something that would be fun for the pre-schoolers in the family to do. I filled a mason jar with cranberries, set out some cards that asked “how many cranberries?” and promised a prize for the closest guess.
That simple game was an instant hit, and a new family Thanksgiving tradition.
I was surprised that the pre-schoolers remembered the cranberry game -- and requested that we do it again. So, the next Thanksgiving we did it again, substituting candy corn for the cranberries. Some of the older kids and grown-ups in the family joined in the game, and the “big reveal” was fun for everyone.
A holiday tradition that creates anticipation, offers fun for everyone, and leaves good memories is a winner all around. Sometimes we stumble into such traditions, but other times, we can be deliberate about trying something new that we hope will continue on: a special recipe, or a unique way of decorating, or a special way of expressing our thanks to God.
What new holiday tradition could you create this year?

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