Monday, November 24, 2014

Trapped by Thanksgiving Traditions

  I am a firm believer in simplifying and using shameless shortcuts to take the terror out of cooking the Thanksgiving meal.  If you want to know all the ways I do this, (canned gravy?  Martha Stewart would faint into her turkey deep fryer!) check out last Thanksgiving's post:  One Grandma's Sneaky Shortcuts for Thanksgiving.

But I've noticed, since becoming a  Grandma, that any popular innovations in the Thanksgiving routine have a tendency to become suddenly a TRADITION that you're required to repeat next year and forever after.  Way back many years ago I added a Chocolate Kahlua Pie to my traditional pumpkin, apple and pecan pies. Now my family considers it as essential to Thanksgiving as the turkey. (Full disclosure--this year I've ordered the apple and the pecan pies from a new bakery that's just opened in Westborough, MA called Yummy Mummy Bakery, and her decadent pastries are unbelievably good.)

Ever since granddaughter Amalia has learned to talk, new Thanksgiving traditions have been popping up like mushrooms after a rainstorm.  Last year we made gingerbread people for her to decorate with guests Sophie and Natasha.  This year Sophie and Natasha are coming back and  I learned that at Michael's you can buy Wilton kits with already-baked gingerbread people plus all you need to decorate--including the frosting piping bag and the jelly beans.  And they're on sale!

Last year Amalia told me that she wanted to make a "pink pie" and an "orange pie", so we made a Raspberry Swirl Cheesecake Pie right off of the Keebler Ready Chocolate Crust label and a pumpkin pie from a recipe right off the can of pumpkin.  Amalia's job was to decorate the pies with leftover candy corn.  So this year, she's demanding the same pies again.  It's become a TRADITION.
The paper crowns in the holiday poppers (known in England as "Christmas Crackers") have always been a tradition, but last year someone brought in a Turkey hat, which daughter Marina wore with grace and good humor.  You can bet that turkey hat will be back

And by the end of the Thanksgiving visit last year, Amalia had discovered a brand new tradition--one that has successfully driven millions of parents to distraction as they have to think up new positions every night for the Elf on the Shelf.  Amalia immediately named her elf "David", and I have a feeling he'll be back this thanksgiving as sure as that first blizzard.  After all, David is now a TRADITION.

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