Tom The Turkey And Thanksgiving Traditions

turkey tom 1

Tom Turkey From the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. I may have already mentioned it, but it bears repeating, LOL.

Among other favorite things about the day is the annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. And my favorite parade “float” is Tom the Turkey.

There is just something about him – the colors, the old-fashioned feel of the float, or maybe even because he debuted for the first time in 1971, when I was first old enough to watch and remember what I saw – but he makes me happy.

In my family growing up, my parents (who were big on little traditions or rituals, if you haven’t been here long enough to have read some of those posts) had some for Thanksgivibg as well.  One ritual we observed faithfully each Thanksgiving morning, was the watching of the Macy’s Day Parade while eating bowls of grapes.

Yes, I know that sounds a little strange, but here’s the thing: in the 1970’s when I was a kid, we had a big family, plenty of food and clothing (almost all of it homemade) and books, but not much extra for more expensive “treats”. Apples and bananas were reasonably-priced back then, but not so much grapes. So that was what we looked forward to while we watched the parade. Oh, and tangerines, because they were also “in season” and more reasonably-priced.

Some of my favorite memories of Thanksgiving revolve around this tradition. My mother would have gotten up very early, around 4:00am, to saute the onions and celery in butter, that were to go in the sage dressing with which she’d stuff and sew up the neck and big cavity of the turkey (it was usually a 20-pounder at least, and she used a big darning needle and cotton thread….a process I still use myself when preparing turkey). The result was that the house smelled delicious by the time the parade began at 9:00 or so.

I can remember sitting on the old sofa with several of the younger of my sisters around the living room, and Pa in his chair, while Ma and my older sisters came in and out as they worked on other tasks to get ready for the big meal. The picture window would have steam from all the cooking, and the lovely scent of sautéed onion and celery, sage and turkey, simply filled the air. We all ate our grapes and tangerines and enjoyed the show. The Rockettes were another favorite, as well. But we always turned off the parade BEFORE Santa Claus came in…because we also had the tradition of no Christmas music, decorations, or discussion until December 1 at earliest! In hindsight, I think it was a great idea. Time and the seasons get rushed far too often as it is. But as a child, it took some fortitude to follow the “rules”. 🙂

My own kids still follow the same traditions, and they enjoy them almost as much as I did (though they get to have grapes a lot more frequently in this modern age!)

So, those are a few of my traditions. Anyone have any of their own to share?

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