As I sat, thinking about writing an article on Thanksgiving traditions, I realized how intimate our memories can be around this holiday of coming together. For some reason, Thanksgiving seems to be a much more private holiday than most.
Perhaps that’s my own interpretation, but after talking to lots of friends, they also felt the same. Over the past few years, I have subtly, without realizing, tried to fill the Thanksgiving week with more friend time ― close friends make you thankful, equally as much as family. The current phenomena of “friendsgiving” lets us all share our special family traditions and memories with a wider group of people.
There’s something to be said about family and friends coming around a large table full of food and celebrating a yearly feast and what we are all thankful for. The place settings, turkey and stuffing seem to the most prominent items on the table for most I spoke with, including myself.
That fine china that was put away most of the year appears on the table, calling you to remember years past, and all the wonderful times spent with loved ones. The stuffing made from a recipe passed down over generations; my Nana Leary always made her infamous Irish potato stuffing. And, the turkey, depending on the size of your gathering, could be huge.
The turn-of-the-century postcards featured in this article all have something to tell about days gone by and Thanksgiving ― “I suppose you ate lots of turkey on Thanksgiving,” ”Be good and don’t hurt the turkey,” “Don’t eat too much today,” “Hello dear, let me tell you not to eat too much turkey for your dinner,” “Tell aunty what you had for Thanksgiving dinner and how your grandmother enjoyed herself,” “May you have many happy returns of the day.”
And, just like that, history comes alive and sounds so much like what we talk about and experience to this day, just as it was 109 years later after these were written.
Let us all be thankful for family traditions, recipes, food on our table and good friends. And, let the debate continue about homemade cranberry sauce versus the canned jellied kind!
Kari Lindstrom owns The Melamine Cup, Mid-Century Modern & More in Jaffrey. She is a past board member of The Jaffrey Chamber of Commerce and has a background in career counseling. For more information, visit The Melamine Cup at themelaminecup.com or facebook.com/themelaminecup.