Unique Thanksgiving Traditions

One of my favorite parts about the holiday season is sharing it with those I love most. Now that I am married and live a far distance from my family, it is a treat to go home and visit with parents, siblings, nieces and nephews. I also have incredible in-laws and enjoy sharing time with them as well.

In the Johnson family, my Mom started a special tradition to help bring the spirit of gratitude to our Thanksgiving celebration. Before we started our feast, she placed 5 popcorn kernels on top of our plates with this abbreviated story:

The Legend Of The Five Kernels

It was very cold for the Pilgrims that first winter. Food was in short supply. Some days, they had only five kernels of corn. When spring came, the Pilgrims planted the remaining corn. The sun and rain helped the seeds to grow and much food was harvested in the fall. Every Thanksgiving thereafter, the Pilgrims placed five kernels of corn beside each plate to remind them of their blessings.

The first kernel reminded them of the autumn beauty.

The second kernel reminded them of their love for each other.

The third kernel reminded them of their family's love.

The fourth kernel reminded them of their friends...especially their Indian brothers.

The fifth kernel reminded them of their freedom.

For the whole story and some printable place settings, visit: http://www.teacherweb.com/AZ/HOPEChristianAcademy/Gorla/HOPE-Thanksgiving-5-Kernels-of-Corn.doc

After sharing this story, each member of our family takes a moment to talk about what we were most grateful for that year. It's a wonderful way to reflect on all our blessings and brings us closer together as a family.

I have only shared two Thanksgivings with my in-laws, the Bird family, but the two I spent with them were fun and eventful to say the least. One of the favorite Bird Thanksgiving traditions is to have everyone share a "toast" before Thanksgiving dinner. Some toasts in the past have included thoughtful poems, song lyrics, humorous movie quotes and even toasts done in different languages or accents.

But out of all the toasts, this one is an all-time favorite in the Bird family:

"There are good ships, and there are wood ships, the ships that sail the sea. But the best ships are friendships, and may they always be."

― Edward "Ted" Kennedy

What a blessing it is to have such wonderful families. They are great examples and have brought so much joy to my life. I hope to carry on these wonderful traditions with my children someday.

What unique holiday traditions do you and your families have?

    Bethany Bird
    Monthly Newsletter Contributor since 2014

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