20 Nov 2012

Nantucket Tradition

Nantucket tradition

With Thanksgiving upon us, it’s always refreshing to be reminded of the many things we have to be thankful for. If you describe yourself as an “empty nester” I’m sure you’ll agree there are a few phone calls that leave you counting your blessings. The good grades, the job promotion and the engagement announcement to name a few. If you have married children, you know there is nothing like hearing your children proclaim “we’re pregnant!” My husband and I were lucky enough to receive that phone call a few weeks ago from our son and daughter-in-law Brian and Melissa. Immediately, we were flooded with a wide array of emotions ranging from excitement to anticipation as we envisioned how our family traditions would be transformed with the addition of a new little person to our clan.

Nantucket has been the cornerstone of many of our family memories. Thanksgiving is no exception. This week will find thousands of island residents and visitors gathering their families around the holiday table to give thanks and break bread together. For many adventurous islanders, the holiday won’t officially begin until they’ve braved the cold Nantucket harbor and joined hundreds of other equally brave (or crazy?) souls to take the annual Turkey Plunge. This has become a favorite tradition for our daughter who is the only family member to date willing to chill her skin to the bones prior to indulging in the turkey and stuffing. We’ll stuff the bird, pop him in the oven and then join the costume clad merrymakers on Children’s Beach to await the plunge countdown. Hooting and hollering will ensue and many of us on the shoreline will be giving thanks we’re warm and dry.

Later in the weekend, we’ll join island friends and neighbors for the traditional Nantucket tree lighting ceremony on Main Street. We’ll stroll up and down the quaint historic streets admiring the festive shop windows and then head home to gather our family around the fire with a cup of hot cocoa rimmed with frothy whipped cream. Time will be spent reflecting on holidays gone by, fondly remembering past Nantucket traditions and enthusiastically considering new ones as our family continues to grow.

What are your favorite holiday traditions? How have they changed as your family has grown? If you’ve never spent Thanksgiving, Christmas Stroll or the Christmas and New Year’s holidays on Nantucket, why not consider starting a new tradition for your family? Your children (and you!) can join the ranks of the exuberant turkey plungers or perhaps decorate a holiday tree with a personal collection of seashells. Design the perfect Nantucket tradition that will become part of your family photo album for generations to come.

Make memories.

Shellie Dunlap

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