Thanksgiving Traditions Live On

US Wealth Napolitano |

By: Tom Fletcher, CFP®

Trying our collective patience. I think that would be a generous understatement for what many of us have experienced in this historic year of 2020. It seems that most everything we’ve been accustomed to got tipped on its head... and then some. In terms of retaining my own sanity, some of the best advice has been to follow the pundits’ guidance about controlling what we can and avoid focusing on what we can’t. Obviously that’s easier said than done, but it’s probably a pretty good aspirational benchmark. That’s why I think, especially this time of year, that sticking with those tried and true holiday traditions, even if altered, is a good course of action to momentarily distract us from all of the zaniness swirling the globe.

Like many families, historically Thanksgiving week for the Fletchers contains some special traditions that create meaningful memories. This year we kept up the same

traditions as in the past, but have made some necessary modifications. On Thanksgiving we watched the Macy’s Day Parade. While it may have not been the same without spectators, we still got to see a few marching bands, some floats and as usual, some pretty awful lip synching. The National Dog Show that followed featured far fewer entrants than usual and again no spectators, but Claire the beautiful Scottish Deerhound saved the day. And for Thanksgiving dinner we decided to pardon a turkey and went for a roasted chicken that was prepared by a local restaurant for take-out instead. We stationed a laptop at our dining room table to include other family members. This was new, unusual, and really great! Then Thanksgiving evening we had an extended Zoom call for the first time ever with family members spread throughout the country. Hey, in a weird way Thanksgiving may have been more fun and special than others in recent memory.

The day after Thanksgiving usually involves me doing my best Paul Bunyan imitation, without the axe. We usually head north to a tree farm in Beverly and saw down an often misshapen Christmas tree. Unfortunately, the farm was closed this year due to Covid. So we went to our local garden center instead, where for a small fortune they sell perfectly shaped trees that are fresh, vibrated to remove loose needles, wrapped, recut, and joined to our household Christmas tree stand, right on the premises. Brilliant! Don’t tell my family but next year I’m shaving, not eating pancakes and planning on losing that lumberjack shirt!

Finally, every Saturday after Thanksgiving we construct gingerbread houses at a local Beacon Hill restaurant. Once again things got changed up a bit. In lieu of indoor dining, the restaurant offered takeout including brunch, gingerbread houses, and candy and icing for decorating. While the candy selection the restaurant provided probably wasn’t as robust as in past years, the final product would have made the ‘This Old House’ crew proud! 

We want to wish everyone a safe and healthy holiday season. And may your traditions continue, even if in a modified format!