What holiday traditions make your fall and winter super special or unique? I’ve heard of many different iterations: Friends’ Giving, Ugly Sweater Parties, Turkey Trots, and more. Most of us will answer the question of tradition, and it will not involve gifts, but rather an activity that somehow brings us closer to our loved ones. As I’ll be turning forty this spring, I feel I have a good feel for my favorite traditions.
Here are a few traditions that have lasted for many seasons in my family, and I hope they will remain for many more:
As dangerous as frying a turkey can be, the taste is often worth the hassle, and the preparation is such that you can include as many family and friends as you would like!
My uncle started the tradition because he wanted to use his oil as much as possible, so he would set a date before Thanksgiving and invite friends and family to bring a turkey to dunk in the ridiculously expensive peanut oil. After a few years, his technique improved so that everyone knew where to find the best flavor-infused, perfectly cooked bird in town!
My uncle learned an important lesson in his first turkey frying year: the first turkey will always be eaten, as in ravaged like a horde of locusts stopped by for a visit, so a sacrificial turkey for guests must always make the initial journey through the oil. This tradition is simple and sweet as we eat turkey, hang out, eat more turkey, smell and listen to our turkey cooking in the hot oil, and eat even more turkey and various sides. This gift of experience, oil, time, and turkey is everything I could want or need during the Thanksgiving holiday.
Before the Christmas holiday descends in all its glory, we have one tradition (outside of our church events) that shines as the best, especially for our kids. Each season, before the mania truly gets going, we set up a day and invite the kids’ friends to our house for a grand Gingerbread House Party. When I say grand, I mean more creative, messy, and likely to cause a sugar overdose to rival Halloween.
I remember doing this throughout my youth and enjoying the creativity just as much as the candy…well, almost as much. As a mom, I enjoy watching the kids get better at envisioning and creating their masterpieces. Then, we work at dismantling it piece by sweet piece throughout the countdown to Christmas morning.
I think this focus on family and time together is the best purpose I’ve found for the holiday season. I always look for new ways to draw in friends and family to strengthen our connections. I’d love to hear more ideas for new traditions from all of you, so comment below and let me know what you do with family and friends!