Diane Sasser | 11/13/2007 8:15:25 PM
What are your fondest memories of Thanksgiving? What do you want your children and grandchildren to remember – Traditions? Giving? Togetherness?
LSU AgCenter family life professor Dr. Diane D. Sasser says traditions are a vital part of family life. After the hurricanes of two years ago, for example, Louisiana families often fell back on their family traditions for comfort and security.
“If your family doesn’t have any traditions, it is never too late to start them,” Sasser says, adding, “But they should include the whole family, if possible.” The shared experiences strengthen relationships. Those experiences also can be opportunities for learning more about each other and yourself.
Thanksgiving Day doesn’t have to be all about the food – unless you want the preparation to be a shared family experience. Sasser offers other ideas on how to spend Thanksgiving Day:
– Children can learn a great deal about measurements, organization and nutrition during food preparation. They can even be part of the planning and the shopping. The meal does not have to be extravagant, particularly with Christmas holidays coming up when many people choose to purchase and exchange gifts.
– Consider preparing a Thanksgiving meal for a needy family. Your family can make the meal together and deliver it. Talk to your family about helping to serve Thanksgiving meals in a homeless shelter. Learning to give to others is an important example you can set for your children.
– Be sure to include grandparents in the Thanksgiving celebration. They can be wonderful sources of information on how previous generations celebrated Thanksgiving. Ask them to bring along old family photos to share and to tell stories about. Have the children record their grandparents’ stories to preserve for future generations. Before the visit, have the children prepare questions they would like to ask their grandparents. This can help them to connect even more with extended family and appreciate the older adults and their heritage.
– Have each family member write something they are thankful for about each family member at the table. Place the notes at each individual’s place setting before the meal. Watch the smiles (and perhaps tears) spread as each person reads what another family member has written about them.
– Invite a family or individual who has no other family members living nearby and who might otherwise be spending Thanksgiving Day alone.
“Make Thanksgiving Day about time together as family and friends building new memories,” Sasser says.
For related Thanksgiving Day topics, click on News>Holidays at the LSU AgCenter Web site, www.lsuagcenter.com. For local information and educational programs, contact an extension agent in your parish LSU AgCenter office.