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Thanksgiving Holiday Traditions

What traditions speak to you during the holidays?
It’s a lovely tradition to consider – and share – what we are thankful for as we enter into this season.

Choosing just one thing to share with you today, I offer this: Memories. Thanksgiving Day is often the start of the holiday season for families, and part of the established traditions are the way we did things and how we carry them on over the decades and through the generations.

My most distinct memory of Thanksgiving is the unspoken tradition of how to make stuffing. It’s not about a written recipe or specific ingredients and measurements – in fact, my mom wouldn’t have considered herself the chef she was if she only followed a recipe. She started a week ahead of time with loaves of bread torn up and left to dry out. But on Thanksgiving morning she would get up early and chop the onions and celery and saut√© them slowly in at least a cup of butter before combining it all in a massive roasting pan. As my brother and I woke up and heard her in the kitchen (despite being able to sleep in because it was a holiday!) we knew that it was time to taste and give our opinion about the seasonings. Thinking about stuffing, I am transported by this beautiful memory back to my childhood kitchen. I see my mom creating her stuffing masterpiece, I feel the closeness with my brother as we reach around Mom’s shoulders to get our stuffing sample, I smell the wonderful aromas wafting from the oven, I hear the chatter as we each give our opinions of what additional seasonings are needed, and I can taste the deliciousness as if we are in that same kitchen, together, decades ago.

Not too many years later I left for college as a music major and music became a prominent part of my holiday memories, whether it was performing in the St. Olaf Christmas Festival or hearing Bing Crosby sing “Silver Bells.” My grandparents and great-grandparents enter my heart of memories, and now I can feel their presence, too,

I have created new traditions over the years, but these early memories inform every aspect of my family’s holiday celebrations. I am thankful for these memories and how my stories have become part of my children’s stories, as well. They’ll create their own traditions along the way, but they’ll always know how to make Mimi’s stuffing.

May you also be blessed with heartwarming memories. Thank you for being part of the Ars Nova family!

Kim Brody, Executive Director