When I was a child, no holiday could top Christmas. While I loved stuffing and mashed potatoes, I’d happily skip over Thanksgiving to get to the present-opening holiday faster. However, nothing could make that last month before Christmas go any quicker.
Now that I’m a little bit older than eight, I find that, much as my tastebuds changed as I became an adult, so did my taste for the different holidays. I still find Christmas a beautiful holiday to celebrate, yet I would never skip Thanksgiving. In fact, I would venture to say that Thanksgiving is my new favorite.
With a few exceptions, I don’t remember the presents I opened beneath the tree, those presents that I’m sure my parents budgeted for and fought their way through crazy mobs at the mall. I don’t remember what Santa snuck down the chimney.
But I do remember family. Little stories will sneak up and pinch me when I least expect it. These memories are the presents that have far outlasted those wrapped in shiny paper and topped with big bows.
My grandmother much preferred the company of children and seemed to relate better to them than adults. That characteristic worked out well for all of her grandchildren. Every time we had a family get-together, Grandma Ann would gather the grandkids to her while the adults talked in another room. While they laughed and scraped the last bit of food off their plates, the kids worked in another room on a retelling of Cinderella. We rushed around looking for Cinderella’s broom and a costume to do the magical fairy godmother justice, and when we were ready, Grandma would silence the adults and command their attention for the show we had prepared.
The parents would roll their eyes and silently endure the production. This tradition has lived on….
For my father’s birthday, I was in a silly mood and wanted to help control the chaos of four kids five and under while we waited for my husband to get home. I gathered all the children in the playroom, and everyone was assigned a role.
Caleb, you will dance first. Max, you’re next. You will come out after Aunt Jennie introduces you.
And so began my first attempt at organizing a show with all of the grandkids. A few weekends later, the kids requested we put on another performance for Uncle Mason’s birthday, and the other day, an ordinary-non-birthday-nothing-special day, my nephew requested we put on a show.
“Well, hello, Grandma,” my mom said to me.
She was right–I had had the realization before–Grandma’s present was still going strong long after she was gone. I’m currently drafting a Christmas performance.
So I look forward to tomorrow, a day without the stress of Christmas, a day when we enjoy the delicious food with which we have been so abundantly blessed and count the numerous ways God has provided. I look forward to receiving the presents that time with family always gives, and I look forward to remembering.
I’m thankful that we each live on long after we’re gone, in the fried okra recipe that’s used every holiday or the sound of snoring from the recliner in the den or the after-dinner performance that the adults are forced to endure.
These are the presents that I will celebrate. For these, I am thankful.
Happy Thanksgiving, to you and yours. For what presents are you thankful this year?
10 thoughts on “Thanksgiving Presents”
I'm thankful that we live close enough to Matt's family to get together for Thanksgiving and see the extended family.
Once we moved to Georgia, we weren't near any of our extended family. I know my mom, especially, would agree that living close to family is a blessing.
I don't think you were accurate when you said Grandma had the mentality of an eight year old, but she sure enjoyed getting down to their level and take charge of the performance as the adultrs rolled their eyes. And now we have you in that role (although you actually performed in high shcool and college) with actuall experience. However, will the adults roll their eyes as we did when Grandma direcxted the performance or will we wait with bated breath for the show to begin? In any event we can all understand why Grandman cherished her memories and repeated them so oftern so she wouldn't ever forget them.
I'm pretty sure you guys will continue the tradition of eye-rolling.I never meant to be insulting–perhaps I picked the wrong phrase–so I'll happily reword it.
I hope it is the best Thanksgiving ever for all of you.
And I wish the same to you! 🙂
This post brings tears to my eyes. My sister and I always put on singing/dancing productions every year on the night that we helped my grandmother decorate her Christmas tree. I am thakful for memories of popping out from behind the tree for dramatic effect.
How sweet, Jennifer! You'll have to continue the tradition with your own little one. Happy Thanksgiving!
I'm with you that Thanksgiving is probably my favorite holiday. Other than tons of cooking, there is no stress of buying that perfect gift, the wrapping, decorating,etc. that somehow we can get caught up with Christmas. And, now, i look so forward to our young actors and actresses to see what they will be
performing. Thanking God for Grandma Ann who taught us so very much.
Well, we're cut from the same mold… I love fried okra! Although my Italian wife wouldn't hear of it!
I love the heart warming stories of your life. What a blessing you're passing on to your children.
Happy Thanksgiving to you and your entire family…."Grandma"!!!