Author Arlene James Shares her Thanksgiving Traditions
by Arlene James, author of “The Cowboy’s Christmas Gift” in Yuletide Cowboys
My granddaughters love to dress the table. They love knowing that they are using their great-grandmother’s china and that the table linens were handmade. They want the charger plates out and the linen napkins. They actually come over early in the week to decide which linens we will use this year. They don’t remember my mother and never knew my grandmother, but using their things give my grandchildren a sense of continuity within the family.
We print a pretty menu and put it up on the refrigerator with magnets. Everyone has a favorite on the menu, and they all get their requests in early. They either let me know what they are bringing or ask me to make something special for them.
The one tradition we will not skip is the Thankfulness List. Everyone around the table has to name at least one thing for which they are thankful. We often have guests join us, and they are occasionally taken aback by this ritual of ours. We don’t pressure them to join in, but no one has ever refused. They don’t always join us when we pray (and we always do), but they always find something about which to be thankful.
I’m honestly not sure whether my children and grandchildren most look forward to the turkey dinner or the turkey potpie made from the leftovers that is sure to follow. They frequently admonish each other to “leave enough for the potpie, or Dad will know who to blame.” Ha!
On Thanksgiving evening, we decorate the Christmas tree. We started this tradition when our oldest first went off to college and realized on Thanksgiving break that she wouldn’t be around when the tree went up that year. Now, even though our family have all left our home, the tree goes up on Thanksgiving night every year. It saves me from having to do it all myself and keeps an old tradition alive for us. The children are grown and gone, but they still take a hand in decorating the tree. I hope they always will.
What are your holiday family traditions?
About Yuletide Cowboys:
When Sarah Kendrick meets her high school sweetheart again, she’s ashamed to show Marcus Ender how far she’s fallen. But when they’re snowed in on her ranch, and he returns holiday joy to her family, Sarah could have a merry Christmas…if she’ll say yes.
The Cowboy’s Christmas Gift by Arlene James
An injury forces rodeo rider Matt Ender home to his family’s ranch—where he clashes with his grandmother’s pretty business partner.
Former cowgirl Neely Spence has no time for love. Can they open their hearts and find family this Christmas?