Reader Poll Readers share their Thanksgiving traditions
• Each year on the first day of November we draw the outline of a turkey body on a large piece of paper and put it on the front of the refrigerator. We label it across the top: “I am thankful for . . . “ Then we cut out feathers from construction paper and each day we have each family member name one thing they are thankful for and paste it onto the naked turkey. By the end of the month our turkey’s plumage is full of thankfulness. Sara of Crystal Lake, mom of Rance, 12, Anthony, 10, Haden, 8, and Cole, 4.
• We spend the early morning of Thanksgiving preparing the meal. That way, at around 1 p.m., we are able to pack a large dinner for my husband, an emergency medicine physician, to take to the hospital. At dinner, we make sure to give thanks for those who cannot be with their own families because they are making people well or protecting us. This goes for our physicians, nurses, police, firefighters and, of course, our brave military. Laurie of Hinsdale, mom of Justin, 7, Jake, 6, Andrew, 4, and Luke, 3
• We have our family over for the traditional meal. The centerpieces are made by my two sons at school. They thoroughly enjoy seeing their work in such a place of honor. After dinner, while my husband and I clean up the kitchen, my sons are in charge of games for the family. The game that everyone enjoys-especially for the aunts and uncles who are in their 90s-is Tape the Hat on the Turkey. It is great to see all the adults playing games with my sons, and laughing and having a great time picking out prizes. Kim of Woodridge, mom of Alex, 7, and Greg, 4.
• Pictures play an extremely important role in our family. Before dinner, we take a photo of the set table along with portraits of everyone. We watch home movies or slides, a tradition I came to enjoy early on. Now the younger ones love to watch, sharing much laughter and memories of their parents as children and younger versions of their relatives. Lorinda, mother of Page 9 ½, Warrenville
• Our extended family-more than 18 people some years-gathers for dinner. When we get home that night, I start preparing for our second Thanksgiving, the one our nuclear family holds on Friday. We think it is important for our kids to spend time with grandparents, uncles and aunts, but we also hold dear our own more private traditions. Jody of Elgin, mom of Joe and John, both 11, Jean, 9, and Jackie, 7
• We give each person in our family a piece of paper shaped like a treasure box with the person’s name on the front. The paper is passed around the table and each of us write the “gift” or “personality trait” that we are thankful for in that person. When they are completed, we read each one out loud. As I tuck in the children that night, I tell each child what I absolutely love about them and that I am thankful they are unique in wonderful ways. My children remember these traditions and remind us about them long before Thanksgiving is upon us. Mary of Midlothian, mom of Anthony 12, Nicholas 10, Benjamin 8, and Leah, 5
• After collecting leaves one day, our children traced the leaves on construction paper. They wrote on the leaves what they were thankful for. My husband and I did this, too. A couple of weeks before Thanksgiving we hung up the leaves in our kitchen. It was, and still is, a reminder to all of us how much we have to be thankful for. We started this when our oldest child was 5. She is 15 now, and we still enjoy it every year. Pat of Chicago Heights, mom of Kate, 15, Matthew, 13, and Andrew, 11
Next month In December, we’d like to know how you get your kids to say thank you. Do your kids write thank you notes? Do they make phone calls? Does it take a battle to get them to cooperate? Deadline: Nov. 3. In January, we’re thinking about gangs. Do your kids use gang symbols, sing rap songs, wear their pants too low? Do you think it’s a problem? How are you handling it? Deadline: Dec. 1. If we run your response, we’ll send you a $10 gift certificate. We’ll print your first name, the town in which you live and the names and ages of your kids; please provide us with your full address and phone number for verification purposes only. Send all submissions to: Sandi Pedersen, Chicago Parent, 141 S. Oak Park Ave., Oak Park, IL 60302. E-mail: email@example.com; fax: (708) 524-8360.