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A Holiday Tradition Reborn

Erik Cooper —  December 1, 2010 — 2 Comments

It’s December 1, which means one of our family’s longest held Christmas traditions is officially resurrected (Or reborn? Wrong holiday).

The Advent Calendar.

A holiday staple my parents began when I was a child, and one we’ve enjoyed passing down to our own children.

Every day in December through Christmas Eve, a special activity is planned to help bring the holiday to life. Each morning it’s etched (OK, it’s really just printed with whatever pen I can find) on a strip of paper and placed behind the little door of our calendar, waiting for the kids to scramble down the stairs revealing the daily surprise.

Sometimes they’re major, like our annual trek to the ISO’s Yuletide Celebration. 

Sometimes they’re simple, like a slumber party in mom and dad’s room with hot chocolate and a Christmas movie.

And sometimes they’re selfless, like buying or donating a toy to the Wheeler Women’s & Children’s Shelter (part of our CityCom 12 Days of Christmas I’ll write more about later).

I’m normally not a traditionalist, but there’s something about this time of year that screams for special, repetitive family landmarks. Consistent smells. Consistent sounds. Consistent activities. Intentionality that draws the family together and builds memories our kids can carry with them into their own future adventures.

That’s why I love this time of the year.

What are your holiday traditions?

Let’s face it folks, turkey just isn’t very good. Yet year after year we continue to prop up this less than stellar choice of cuisine by giving it it’s own holiday.  It’s time to expose turkey for what it is: a culinary disappointment.

Turkey is to Thanksgiving what Tom Cruise is to acting.  It’s reputation far exceeds it’s deliverables. But year after year our tables are held hostage to this dry, tasteless bird, like our TV’s to the hapless Detroit Lions.  Tradition cloaks the truth.


But not anymore.  I’m taking a stand.  I’m calling the fowl foul.

Culinary design has made great strides since the Pilgrims and Indians celebrated that first Thanksgiving. There’s even an entire network committed to creative food preparation.  We can do better!  Let’s start a movement!  Where’s Guy Fieri and that white, spikey hair?

Chicken cacciatori.  Hibachi grills.  Barbecue chicken pizza.  Give us something.

This holiday needs an upgrade.  Progress.  Let’s bring taste back to Thanksgiving (and maybe some real football teams, too?).  Who’s with me?

Happy Thanksgiving everybody.  Try and enjoy your bird (and the Lions).