Thursday, November 24, 2011

Giving Thanks

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! Thanksgiving is probably one of my favorite holidays. Rather, I think it's become one of my favorite holidays as I've grown older and began to appreciate the holidays for more than a fat man in a red suit and a big bunny who brings me presents and candy. As I've grown older, I've realized how fast time flies. (Cliché, I know,  but so true!) Every year, the crowds change a little bit around the holidays as one cousin's off in Puerto Rico studying abroad or another brings their boyfriend/girlfriend to meet the family. Everyone has their own schedule, and unfortunately, family doesn't always take priority as sports, schoolwork, and just life gets in the way. So, I've come to be thankful for the moments I do get to spend with my cousins and aunts and uncles, because before I know it, either they'll be off in college and getting married or I'll be. And that's when things get complicated.

Every year we've spent Thanksgiving with my dad's side of the family, and so even after my parents split we've continued that tradition and my brother and I have spent Thanksgiving with my dad. I love hearing about all my friends' Thanksgiving traditions, where they head off to and some of the corny things they may do. For the past five or six years (I believe this year was my sixth), my family and I have run the Thanks4Giving Turkey Trot 5K in Lowell, a charity run towards the Alternative House, an abused and homeless children's refuge. Back when my mom and I first ran it in 2005 I believe, there were only 200 or 300 runners. This year, there were over 1000 pre-registered runners/walkers, and more came after! It's always a fun time, and there's always someone who comes in some festive costume. Each runner always gets an apple pie after, too, but if that's not enough incentive, then my dad will usually take me and my brother out to Dunkin Donut's after for breakfast (this year it was more for Owen than for me).

After burning all my calories for the day so I can gain them back later with my uncle's sweet potato casserole with mini marshmallows and toasted pecans, (If you've never had it, you can't judge. Because after you've tasted it, there's no looking back. Here's an easy recipe:

we might turn on the Macy's Parade to see what celebrities are on the floats this year.

Another fun tradition we have in my family is the Thanksgiving tree. It's really simple to make, and we've been doing it for years. Just find any stick thick enough to support itself and with enough branches sticking off to hang the leaves on. Find a small pot and place the stick in it. You can help it balance either by filling the vase with rocks or, like we usually do, get a block of styrofoam and stick it in there. Once your tree is balanced, cut different shaped leaves out of orange, red, and yellow construction paper approximately life-size, and hole-punch the stems. Tie yarn (preferably brown, but any color will do) around the stem to make a loop so you can hang the leaves on the branches. Space out the leaves among the "tree" and place in the center of the table. When everyone sits down at the dinner table, ask everyone to take a leaf and write what they're thankful for. When they're done, ask them to hang their leaf back on the tree. When all the leaves are back on the tree, have everyone randomly select a leaf (preferably not their own), and go around the table reading them aloud. It's always fun to try and guess whose is whose!

(I haven't made ours yet, but I just wanted to give you a visual. Don't worry...mine never looks this pretty.)

It's a beautiful day for Thanksgiving, at least where I am. Cool but sunny...classic fall weather! There really is so much to be thankful for. I'm thankful for my friends who are always there to make me laugh, my family who supports me, and this beautiful life God has given me! Today is a great day to tell you're loved ones how much they mean to you; I hope everyone has that opportunity! Happy Thanksgiving!

Megan xo

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