Holiday Rituals; Life Rituals


This year’s Thanksgiving pies: pecan, pumpkin, and peach-blueberry. Facebook just offered me my 2013 Thanksgiving pie photo as a memory, and it shows the same three pie flavors–in the exact same photographic arrangement. See what I mean about ritual?

Holidays bring out the ritual in me, and I don’t think I’m alone in this. Who doesn’t have some sort of ritual associated with major holidays?

For me, it starts with the food:

  • Thanksgiving = Turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, and lots of pie – always including pumpkin pie
  • Christmas = Swedish meatballs and potato sausage, baked beans, Swedish mazarin torte, and mostly the same kinds of cookies year after year after year
  • New Year’s Day = Lentil soup
  • All holidays = Sour cream macaroni & cheese for my vegetarian son

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Feeling Thankful

Fall color, Illinois

Just a couple of days before our whopping November snowstorm, this is how it looked.

It’s that time of year, of course, when we’re inundated on social media by “be thankful” memes. You know the ones: “Join me in a month of thankfulness.” I don’t begrudge my friends their participation in these observances, and I actually enjoy reading them sometimes. But I have to say they usually make me feel just a teensy bit guilty for not joining in.

So I have been thinking a bit about gratitude lately, and trying to pay attention to things for which I am grateful, even while not actually sharing them publicly. It’s not that I’m making any sort of statement by not sharing–more that I know if I promise to share daily, I will inevitably falter. So I am not setting myself up for failure or a broken promise.

That said, there are a few reasons why I truly am feeling grateful.

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