by Delia

Thanksgiving is one of the days of the year when family, in the extended sense, gathers. Children, parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, in-laws and friends, all gather to share a meal and thanks. This is one of the holidays that doesn't center around gifts or candy, and lest we lose it entirely to football on television, take this Thanksgiving to begin a new tradition within your family: Sharing a story.

During dinner, or even after the huge rush of post-meal cleaning, set a theme for the stories, maybe "Thanksgiving Memory" would be appropriate, and have every person tell some short memory of a Thanksgiving past. For me, it might be the happy memories of coming home for the holiday when I was in college, or the first time I made a turkey (who knew one had to remove those bags of stuff inside the bird?), or my picky-eater five-year old's plate (one olive, one Mandarin orange, one green bean, a teaspoon of dressing, two square inches of turkey and a roll (to be followed by a huge piece of pumpkin pie). Others' memories might include the memory of a newly returned soldier, the last holiday of a beloved grandparent, or a newly-married into the family perspective. Everyone should be given a chance to share, even a child whose memory might be the meal she just ate. Share the memories, listen and interact so that the younger members at the feast will begin to understand the importance of oral history within a family.

Begin, or continue, to make your family's Thanksgiving a time for passing along the family memories.