Monday, November 30, 2009

Start Family Traditions When Your Children are Young

Family traditions are the glue that unites a family, and these special moments help mold and shape your children. Among the many traditions our family enjoys, our favorite by far takes place on Thanksgiving. Now that my children are young adults, I can witness the effect this tradition has on them.

Each Thanksgiving morning, another family joins us at a house at the beach, to assemble 40 Thanksgiving meals. Each meal includes turkey with gravy, stuffing, mashed potatoes, mixed vegetables, and cranberry sauce, filled into a carry-out container. We then add a roll, cookie, plastic silverware and a juice box, to make the meals complete.

Each person oversees a segment of the meal, whether it’s cooking, scooping, or assembling. I cook the turkeys the day before, so the whole process takes just a couple of hours. We then load the meals into boxes, get in the car, and drive to the Atlantic City boardwalk. It doesn’t take long to find people in need of food, more this year than ever before.

Practically every person we offer a meal to is incredibly appreciative. There is no greater feeling than feeding someone who is hungry, and the smiles on my children’s faces offer proof of that all day. As we seek out the people who would benefit from our meals, our family bonds. We tell jokes, actually referring to the day as “Bad Joke Holiday.” We enjoy the ocean breeze and brisk wind that often accompanies the November day and reflect on how thankful we are to be able to share with others.

This year we gave our meals out in record time. Sadly, there are too many hungry people. Yet, being able to help just a few is very meaningful to us all. It doesn’t matter what your traditions are, but repeating them year after year for your children is priceless.

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