Getting Real with Shadra Bruce

If you’re a parent with young children, all of the holidays are new and exciting and wonderful because you’re seeing them through your children’s eyes. You get to build new traditions as a family and share traditions with your kids from your own childhood. It’s so much fun.

And then, the kids become teenagers, certain magical moments become less magical, and all of a sudden, holidays seem routine – almost chore-like.

That sucks.

For the last few years, Thanksgiving – a holiday that typically launches us into the holiday season and ushers in so much excitement – has been pretty blah. Oh, we have our beloved Charlie Brown Thanksgiving and Garfield Thanksgiving moments, and we love to watch Arlo Guthrie’s Alice’s Restaurant…but the day itself has become something we dread. Dave and I spend about 12 hours prepping and cooking so that we can spend 20 minutes eating and spend another 12 hours cleaning so that we can turn around and put up a Christmas tree – by which point we’re exhausted.

So this year, we decided to do it all differently. We’re breaking with tradition and it’s making a huge difference in our level of enthusiasm and our attitudes.

Instead of having the same old boring Thanksgiving day experience, we’re taking the family – Louis, Kira, and Hallie included – to Niagara Falls. We’re having “Thanksgiving” dinner at the Fallsview buffet, playing glow-in-the-dark mini golf, and drinking some “frozen concoctions to help us hang on” from the Margaritaville across the street from our hotel – a hotel we purposely chose because it was walking distance from Margaritaville (thanks, Jimmy Buffet) just in case “5’o’clock somewhere” comes a little early.

Dave is not even making pumpkin pie this year.

It’s not Thanksgiving in Canada – they celebrated their Thanksgiving in October. But Niagara Falls is having their Festival of Lights and putting on a fireworks show over the falls Friday night. And Louis (from England) has never seen the falls.

Just by deciding not to do the same old thing for the 20th time in a row made us look forward to the whole season again. I’m even looking forward to putting up the tree.

Traditions can be wonderful. But if you’re holding to a tradition out of obligation or habit, maybe it’s time to shake things up and try something new. I suspect our new Thanksgiving tradition will be to find new places to go. Next year, maybe we’ll head to Great Barrington, Massachusetts to visit the Guthrie Center.

No matter how you celebrate, we hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving!