As I reflect on all the things I'm grateful for I have to say that of all holidays, Thanksgiving is by far my favorite. I love everything about it. First of all, I love gathering with friends and family that I rarely see. I also love the yummy food, the decor, the pumpkin pie, the days off. Above all, I love the gratitude and humility that comes with the holiday. Thanksgiving gives us a chance to step back and reflect on our blessings, usually realizing that we have all we need and more. This reflection opens our hearts to giving and receiving, but not in the material sense like we experience during Christmas. But Thanksgiving itself is not the family tradition I am most grateful for, it's what comes after Thanksgiving that I most enjoy and look forward to all year long.
Long before my husband and I were married, the Gonzalez family started a tradition of celebrating Thanksgiving in the mountains of North Carolina. Ever since my husband was a teenager, he and his family would pack up and spend Thanksgiving in a mountain cabin. Not only did they retreat for giving thanks and sharing a special meal, they also headed to the Christmas tree farm the next day to cut their tree and take it down to Florida fresh from the farm. Once we were married, my family and I joined in. Eventually, my husband and I made those mountains our permanent home, but the tradition of Thanksgiving in the mountains and heading to the tree farm on the next day continued. In fact, my kids have never been to a lot or home improvement store to buy their tree. A few years ago, we moved out of the mountains, but we still head up for Thanksgiving and to pick out our tree the day after. It's a tradition we treasure and we hope it will continue for generations to come.
Interestingly enough, we broke tradition this year. One of the cousins got married yesterday and the family headed south for that happy occasion so Thanksgiving will be a little different this year. The wedding was great and we are thankful to spend Turkey Day with the same folks that flock north this time of year, but I will miss heading to the farm to get our tree. Thankfully, we live pretty close to those farms and we will just cut our tree a few days later than usual.
We will have a wonderful time in Florida this year, but I am so looking forward to resuming our tradition next year, especially our post-Thanksgiving tradition of searching the farm for that perfect tree.