Category Archives: Holiday Traditions

Giving Thanks


I took some time today to reflect on some of my Thanksgiving blogs from the past and found the one from 2013, the Thanksgiving after my mom and Francine died.  So much of it is still true today. The people I am most grateful for are still a huge part of my life, but I have so many others in my life that I can now include. We still have my 101 year old grandma here with us and tonight, I will share Thanksgiving dinner, one of my favorite meals of the year, with her and many of my relatives, each of us cooking at home and bringing the food to her house to make it easy on her. Tonight there will be 16 of us around the table – a rather small gathering for us – but still a fun one!

I have been texting with friends all morning letting them know how grateful I am to have them in my life. We are sharing cooking tips and our similar thoughts on politics…knowing full well they will stay OUT of our conversations at dinner where so many of our family members have opposing opinions!

I am grateful to have DJ home from college, knowing that he is thriving on his own and creating his own friendships and relationships for which I know he is grateful for. I am grateful that Drew is finding his way as a freshman in high school. Never playing a game of football in his life, he found himself on the varsity football team at 5 feet tall and 95 pounds! That story is a blog in itself…for another time!

I am most grateful for Dave this year. He has been going through his own personal struggle with depression and with some health issues, and is finally on the road to recovery. He has found a new job and is so filled with life and energy. He is happy which makes for a much happier home. I couldn’t be more grateful to all of the people who have helped him get through this difficult time. He’s like a new person and for this, I am forever thankful.

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you. Find reasons to be grateful not just today, but always.

Holiday Traditions in Kindergarten

giving rather than getting

During the month of December, I invite families to come into my classroom to teach us about their family holiday traditions.  Working at a public school means I cannot “teach” anything religious. I will do cute activities with Christmas trees, menorahs or even a Kinara if I have students who celebrate Kwanzaa but nothing that actually teaches religion.  By inviting families to school, the children are exposed to many different traditions and cultures.

Over the next few weeks, we have someone coming in to make Christmas ornaments, another making handmade holiday cards with us, one who is reading us their family’s favorite Christmas story and someone coming in to share a Filipino Christmas tradition with us.  I love these few weeks because I learn a lot too.

Today, the grandfather of one of my students came to school to teach us a little bit about Hanukkah.  He showed the class a menorah, taught them how to play dreidel and brought latkes with applesauce.  He told them all about the story of why they celebrate for eight days and compared it to the one day of gifts on Christmas.  He asked the children if they knew why they got gifts on Christmas and most of the children enthusiastically raised their hands. All of the adults in the room expected the same answer from a room filled with five and six year olds.

He chose one little girl who surprised us all when she said, “Some people believe that Christmas is all about getting, but actually, it is all about giving.”  Even the kids stopped to take that in.  Everyone agreed with her.  It was such a great teachable moment.  She made me so proud.