As someone who will make any excuse to celebrate - well, anything - it's no surprise that I love the holiday season. I'm a traditionalist by nature, and I love the repetition of celebrating each year in a similar fashion.
As a child, I loved Thanksgiving as it meant the Macy's Thanksgiving day parade in the morning, and a great big formal meal with our extended family in the afternoon. I continue to love Christmas as with it comes a Christmas Eve mass, followed by a delicious meal at my uncle's, a lengthy Christmas morning of opening presents at my parents' house, and brunch that always involves mimosas and my mom's egg nog french toast. Year after year, these things never get old to me.
The other day, my friend Sarah posted an entry on her blog entitled Traditions. In it, she discussed how as wonderful as traditions are, it's important that we learn to not get too caught up in the the act of maintaining tradition, just for the sake of it. We need to learn to embrace new ways of doing things, which can often lead to more fulfilling experiences. (I am totally botching her blog entry at this point - please click on the link above to read her much more eloquently written thoughts.)
For the past few years, we've spent Thanksgiving with James' family in New Jersey. Due to our proximity to my family, we see them much more than we get to see James' family, so this arrangement has always made sense. And honestly, I love his family to death, and am incredibly lucky to have such a great set of in-laws. But spending one of my favorite holidays of the year apart from my own family just never seems to get easier.
Needless to say, Sarah's blog post really hit home with me, especially during this particular week. I know that Thanksgiving is more than a beautifully set table (something my family specializes in, if I do say so myself), or being able to go on my annual rant about how my mom's stuffing is too dry (yet another tradition I embrace). It's about being surrounded by those you love, and taking an extra few opportunities to give thanks to everything we've been so lucky to be graced with this past year. (Cue the sappy music.)
And on this Thanksgiving Eve, I couldn't be more grateful.