The holiday season is around the corner and just like you, we are trying to figure out where the year went. The world has been a lot of bad news, and even the most optimistic of people have had a few bad days contemplating the state of affairs.
When we look back on the year, the brightest moments that bring us back to hope and gratitude is the news that we found within our homes.
The world is bleak sometimes, but the light we use to make it better is the light we find within our homes – with our friends and family. It’s in the known traditions that we can count on year after year, that we share with our children, that brings back loving memories of our grandparents. It’s that light that brings us back to hope.
We asked our team members what traditions bring them happiness during the holiday season. They did not disappoint in what brought them light.
I look forward to the Thanksgiving holiday as it is a time for my family to gather at my grandma's house. Sometimes it's up to 30 people! We spend the day eating, laughing, talking, and playing games. My favorite part of Thanksgiving is when the female relatives sit around one large table, and we pull out the newspaper flyers to plan our shopping for the day after Thanksgiving. Lots of anticipation and excitement and "Oh! Did you see such-and-such is on sale?!"
We start each Thanksgiving morning by writing a “gratitude list.” As a family, we write down all the things we are grateful for, and every year we are reminded just how blessed we all are. We then spend the morning together and when it’s time, we curl up together on the couch with the kids and watch the Macy’s parade. My husband and I watch as our children’s faces light up at the floats, just like ours did when we were kids.
Our traditions are centered around being together. Growing up we always saw my mother’s side of the family and then my father’s side for dessert and leftover turkey sandwiches. My Granny would laugh as my brother and I snuck potato chips on the sandwich to make it “extra crunchy.”
As time moves on, some things have changed. Now we spend the day at my father’s side with my aunts and uncles and cousins. We tell stories of Granny and Papa and watch the next generation of littles run around together. We laugh until we’re crying most years, and some years we cry because we miss our people who are no longer with us. Our tradition is just being together.
If you are looking for a new side to try this year, may we recommend a Midwestern classic. This family recipe from Stacy is sure to have people coming back for seconds and add to the comfort of being around family.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, combine hash brown potatoes, 6 tablespoons butter, soups, cheese, salt, and sour cream. Pour into a greased 9x13-inch baking dish or glass pan. In a separate bowl, combine cornflake crumbs and 6 tablespoons butter and evenly sprinkle over top of the hash brown mixture in the baking dish or glass pan. Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes.