Walking toward a new family Thanksgiving tradition

Following a family tradition is common during the holiday season and Thanksgiving is no exception.  From who carves the bird to which wine is served, these traditions are often carried on for generations.

Annual family customs have a tendency to create lasting memories and bring families closer together.  Family traditions give us a feeling of security along with reminding us of the love we have for each other.  I’m sure many will agree that when we take time to recall Thanksgivings of our past, the memories contain the individuals who were there to enjoy the day with us and not the food itself.

Because of those memories, I realized that changing some of our family’s Thanksgiving traditions might be a good idea.   The time spent with my family and friends are the most important, so why not find a way to increase that amount of time just a little bit?

In the past during our traditional Thanksgiving feast, it was customary to sit on the couch for hours and complain about how full our bellies were, while at the same time wishing that we had some room left for dessert.  We would all lay back and relax while staring at the television which was accompanied by an occasional “groan and moan” due to the stomach being stretched to full capacity.

Before long, the word would come that the pumpkin pies – along with several other desserts – were cut and ready to be served, and the mad dash to the dining room began all over again.  Soon after, the complaining and groaning started all over again.  I’m assuming your family shares this tradition as well.

After years of this, I realized that this annual tradition wasn’t enjoyable for anyone.  That’s when the new family tradition began, taking a walk after dinner.

This annual walk allows for more family time and it’s enjoyable for all of our family members, both young and not-so-young.  We do not speed walk, but just simply take a stroll together talking about all sorts of things except food.  The kids enjoy taking a ride in the wagon or their stroller, giving all of us some fresh autumn air.  When we return, the dessert is waiting for us.  Not only do we have more room to consume it, but for some crazy reason the dessert tastes better than it used to during the previous tradition.

Not only does this new tradition allow us to increase quality time with family members now, but it also increases the likelihood of spending more time with those we love in the future because we’re taking that extra step towards a healthier lifestyle.  That’s the most important to me and a tradition that I hope each of us can incorporate within our families.

So as you make every effort to ensure this upcoming Thanksgiving Day is memorable and fun, maybe consider adding a new family tradition.  Simply ask your guests to toss a pair of walking shoes in their car or you can take along your walking shoes when traveling to your dinner destination.   Take the first traditional after-dinner-walk this Thanksgiving and make sure to give thanks for the ability to do so.

Photo credit: Mason Long

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