ACMC Family Medicine Physician Dr. Emily Hayden on Thanksgiving Traditions

Published in Family Medicine Tag: Emily Hayden, DO  

Author: Emily Hayden, DO

Thanksgiving – a time for family and traditions. ACMC-Willmar family medicine physician Dr. Emily Hayden shares her favorite memories and family traditions as a child and new ones she and her family are making.

As long as I can remember, we have gotten together with my father’s side of the family for Thanksgiving in Le Sueur, Minn. It’s never been just the traditional Thanksgiving Day meal before making the trip back home to Benson. Every year we’d make a weekend of it, hanging with family and staying overnight at my grandparent’s farm.

When I was a child, I remember the adults gathering to play bridge—the card game—and the kids putting our imaginations to use. We’d spend long hours making straw bale forts to play in. My brother and one of my cousins even played with the pigs. It always seemed to me that the adults had so much fun playing cards, and I soon wanted to join their bridge game.

When I was eight-years-old, I got in on the bridge tradition, and I’ve been playing ever since. We’ve always been a close family so it’s strange that there doesn’t seem to be much talking until the cards hit the table. Now that we’re no longer the kids, and we grandkids have young children, I find we’re entertaining them more than spending time at the card table—though I’m proud to say that my seven-year-old seems interested in playing cards with the adults just like I did when I was about that age.

As life changes so do traditions. We no longer spend every Thanksgiving with my father’s family. We trade off holidays with my family and my husband’s, driving to Fort Madison, Iowa, every other year.

In my new family, the traditions are much different. We watch movies, play board games and, on the day after Thanksgiving, we make a butter braid pastry for breakfast and enjoy hoagie turkey sandwiches. We also celebrate Christmas and Thanksgiving at the same time as we all travel from far away for our get-together with my husband’s family.

The kids are always begging to open presents so most years we celebrate Christmas before Thanksgiving at their house. The rest of the week we usually work together on a project that benefits the family we’re staying with. You know the things that you always have the best intentions to finish, but never quite get done? Last year we put extra shelves in their kitchen cabinets and rearranged the pantry, dishes and storage!

This year we’ll be in Iowa for what my family has lovingly dubbed Chrisgiving, and in the spirit of giving, we’ll be giving our time to set up an organizing system for their closets. I think next year I want to celebrate at my house so we can organize my closets!

What are your Thanksgiving family traditions?