Traditions In Your Family and Story

Courtesy of Kaz @ Pixabay
Whether you live in the US and celebrate Thanksgiving or not, traditions are part of your life and part of the lives of characters in books. Have you created traditions in your story? Have you broken the traditions to see how your characters might react? This is a great way to keep those NaNoWriMo words flowing.


Thanksgiving abounds with traditions, each one unique to each family. Add new members, and your traditions might clash with theirs. Or maybe you've found a way to incorporate a little of both. No matter how you put it, traditions affect us in remarkable ways.

In my family, my mom's sweet potato pudding was mandatory. It wasn't Thanksgiving (or Christmas) without it. Of course, we included the turkey, stuffing, cranberries, and all of the other dishes. They are part of the tradition.

Two stories about changing traditions stick in my mind. One, my mother thankfully avoided. The other, well...

One year, my mother invited our neighbors to dinner. We loved this couple. Although childless, they made us feel special. They wanted to contribute to the meal, and after much thought, suggested sweet potato pie. Mom jumped in with another suggestion before that idea went too far. We loved mom's sweet potato pudding (yes pudding, not pie or casserole although it's close to the casserole many people have, just better). Thanks to mom's quick thinking, she avoided a revolt. Think I'm kidding? Nope. I'm afraid to say we might would have forgotten our manners if she allowed someone else to mess with that tradition.

Now for the less successful story:

When I was pregnant with my first child, I looked forward to Thanksgiving dinner at my parents' home because I missed my mom's cooking. I had eaten what my mother-in-law considered stuffing, a very dry cornbread crumbled up, and learned they didn't do sweet potatoes. Oh no!

For some reason, that year my mom tried a new stuffing recipe. When I saw it, I fought back the tears. The stuffing had things in it. Things I didn't like. Things she'd never added before. Why this year? Count it up to hormones or anticipation or whatever you like, but I ran from the table crying.

Mom never changed the stuffing recipe after that.

Traditions stick with us. We grow up and form new families and adapt our traditions to fit everyone. I'm the one who still makes mom's sweet potato pudding. I've gotten pretty good at it. I just wish I could get her stuffing recipe right. I'm close but not there.

What traditions do you look forward to? Do you have a story where someone broke the tradition? What happened?

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