Give Thanks. Make Memories.

This year’s Thanksgiving traditions can bring all kinds of smiles across the miles.


You CAN have a Thanksgiving with all the trimmings, regardless of where you are celebrating – and whom you are celebrating with. If your spouse is deployed, your family has made a recent permanent change of station or you have been stationed far from “home” for a while, celebrating the holiday in your own offbeat way can make for fun, fond memories that will last a lifetime.

Non-traditional traditions can bring smiles to your family no matter how many miles are between you. Starting a new tradition begins with one action. Begin by brainstorming all kinds of things you would like to do over the holiday. Nothing is off limits. NOTHING. Getting take-out? Sure. Staying in your pajamas all day? Okay. Getting dressed to the nines and then eating on paper plates? Why not? Turkey for breakfast? It can happen. You get the idea…

Blending traditions with your neighbors is another way to turn your traditional Thanksgiving upside down. Inviting another family over and sharing traditions with each other can bring you closer together. You’re from a family that always plays tiddlywinks after dinner and watches Elf in the evening to laugh off your pumpkin pie calories? They decorate a paper tablecloth with hand turkeys while the meal is being prepped and see how long they can balance a spoon on their nose while giving thanks? Take on each other’s traditions!

Face time via phone, tablet or Skype any time of day – or night – can get you close. Seeing each other’s smiling faces and sharing your day can bring your family together when you’re apart. If you can, sync up on the phone during Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and share silly opinions on the music, marching, dancing, dazzling balloons and people watching.

Remember, you are what you eat – so fix the favorite dish of a loved one who isn’t there that you can share, then share memories about your loved ones over forkfuls of their favorite foods.  Later, turn late night into a leftover party. See who can create the craziest – and most edible – turkey-ish recipe.  

And at the dinner table, give thanks for things of all shapes and sizes in your life. Provide a package of traditional ‘thank you’ notes to everyone with their dessert and take time to thank your loved ones across the states, or the globe, for anything that means something to you. For always singing you that silly song, for not insisting you be the banker when you play Monopoly, for letting you eat dessert first.

Just know that no matter what you plan to do, your newfound holiday traditions will become special to you.

Wherever you are, and whomever you are with – make it a Happy Thanksgiving.


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