I've always been interested in the concept of nostalgia and the things (like places, food, holiday routines, etc) that we get nostalgic for. The term nostalgia first came into circulation by doctors in the 17th century to describe the pain that Swiss mercenaries experienced during prolonged periods away from their homeland. Nostalgia was viewed as a malady.
Today, scientists have changed their tune and see nostalgia as a good thing that may have even served evolutionary purposes. I consider myself to be a fairly nostalgic person, reflecting often on memories of place (the little park behind my childhood home; the pick-up line at my first pre-school); music (Radiohead's Reckoner); and food (the spicy green bean dish that my mom used to make).
I've long thought about nostalgia in relationship to physical places, and recently, I started thinking (and reading) about nostalgia associated with holiday routines. [Note: I got this book to augment my research effort and this one to start documenting our own traditions. End Note.] I have even gone so far as to start the outline for our own "Family Holiday and Recipe Book" and I've put it together using one of Muji's clear binders (making additions/edits especially easy).
This brings us to Thanksgiving. With the holiday upon us, I've started thinking about decorations, dishes, and place settings, as well as establishing the rituals and rhythms of the holiday season. This will include making cinnamon rolls the morning of Thanksgiving with the Macy's Day parade on the TV in the background; a family walk after the big meal; putting up our Christmas lights the day before Thanksgiving so they can be turned on right after Thanksgiving dinner; chopping down our Christmas tree the day after Thanksgiving; decorating our house for Christmas the weekend following Thanksgiving.
I'd love to hear what routines and traditions you have around Thanksgiving. Do you watch a particular movie? Wikipedia, as comprehensive as ever, has a list of movies set around Thanksgiving. And Harper's Bazaar has whittled down the list to something more manageable. What about books? Do you have particular memories associated with certain books that you used to read during childhood? I currently have this one sitting on our mantle. Do you have any particular music playing in the background on Thanksgiving Day?
We'd love to hear what you do for Thanksgiving, and how your family celebrates this holiday! If you'd like, please share in the comment section below.