November 15, 2012
If you watch the Tonight Show with Jay Leno, he is notorious for interviewing little kids about what the holidays mean to them. It’s always a segment I love to watch because of the variety of endearing and sometimes hilarious answers they give. So I took that thought to the streets of Kona. Ok, well not really, but I wanted to know what Turkey Day traditions were happening throughout the Kona team. So from our homes to yours…Happy Thanksgiving everyone!
My 12 year old niece has written a Thanksgiving play for her and her 7 younger cousins to put on every year since she was 7. It has definitely evolved over time from a couple of farm animals with a Pilgrim and Squanto into a full production. This year I hear it will include religious oppression under King George III in England before the Mayflower even sailed. Then the football game with my nephews break out. I predict that as the boys get older, the football game and play will merge into Native Americans versus Pilgrims and perhaps more resemble the War of 1812 than Thanksgiving. Whatever happens, I’ll keep the video rolling.
Being in a family with all boys, my turkey day has always started and ended exactly the same. Eating a big meal decked out in my pjs with my family. In the morning we watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade while eating our huge breakfast, we then rush outside for a game of touch-football. After the penalty flags are thrown for an illegal tackle, we sit down to our formal thanksgiving feast where we each say what we are thankful for. We then fight over who’s turn it is to wash and dry the massive load of dishes on the counter until we all find ourselves in the kitchen laughing and telling stories. Then we plop ourselves down in the living room, and watch the real football games while my father snores from his tryptophan trip. We finish the night watching The Christmas Story on DVD while going round 2 on the food in our stretchy pjs! To this day, this is our Thanksgiving Day!
The first year my son attended preschool he came home with a “thankful” bowl which he made and some kernals of corn. A kernal was placed on everyone’s dish on the dinner table. Each person then shared what they are thankful for and placed their kernal in the bowl. I have heard where other families write down on a piece of paper what they are thankful for and when the bowl is full, everyone takes out a piece of paper and reads the anonymous slips. As my children mature to readers, we might evolve to that version.
One year in school I was assigned the task of recording and transcribing a conversation for analysis. I thought that Thanksgiving would be the perfect occasion to work with. I put a hand-held recorder in the middle of the table and recorded the entire meal. Even with just eight of us around the table, so many different discussions were introduced. Transcribing it all was certainly a challenge. But since that year I have had family members ask where the recorder has gone; they really enjoyed being able to listen back to the event afterwards. I think I’ve discovered a new tradition!
Having such a large extended family, we enjoy traveling to either my wife’s kin in Virginia Beach or to my family where I grew up in Philadelphia. No matter where we go, the day is about family, being thankful, lots of food and spirits, and watching as certain family members carry on the yearly tradition of the turkey-induced nap. One of the things we enjoy the most about the holiday is the day after, when our family settles down with a roaring fire and spends the day decorating the house for Christmas. This is typically followed by the first of many holiday movies of the season, Polar Express!
Since we got married, we host Thanksgiving at our house. I love having all of our family together in our house. Our family and table have expanded over the years. It’s a potluck affair with everyone bringing their signature dish. Fortunately my mother-in-law makes the turkey – my brothers insisted someone other than me had to cook that if they would come over. We start off the meal going around the table saying what we’re grateful for and then dig into our traditional first course of sherbet and fruit. My daughter loves starting the meal off with “ice cream.” I enjoy decorating our house and table and I come up with a new origami napkin design each year. We’ll watch the parade with the kids in the morning and enjoy family time with everyone else for the rest of the day. This year will be my son’s first Thanksgiving. I can’t wait to show him all our traditions!
Over time, my Thanksgiving traditions have changed and evolved a bit. When I was younger, we’d wake up early for a big breakfast together and then get ready to visit relatives in Brooklyn or New Jersey. We’d listen to stories from the grown-ups, then escape to play football … and watch the day’s major football game on TV with my cousins and brothers before the big meal and our aunt’s annual recollection (with accompanied sarcastic remarks from the peanut gallery).
Today, after being married for 14 years and bringing two children of our own into the picture (shown above), we still get up early and make homemade cinnamon buns for breakfast while watching the Thanksgiving Day parade. We’re sometimes hosting and other times visiting (either a group of close friends in town or family members that live a bit further), but it always makes me thankful to think about the wonderful people in my life. It’s sometimes sad that we need to Skype with my youngest brother, sister-in-law and nephews that live across the world in Australia (as well as other family members we can’t be with), but also makes me appreciative of the innovation that has enabled us to come together when we can’t all be in one place (one of the big reasons I value Kona so much).
Okay, sentiment aside … it’s time to use Kona and get my holiday shopping underway. The conversations are growing, the tasks are mounting and the calendar is counting down. I think I need some more coffee.
From everyone at Kona, we wish you and your family a Turkey Day filled with tradition, family and full tummies!