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Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Carra Copelin's Family Traditions

We all have family traditions. Some we develop with new families, some are carried down through generations. In November 1621, after the Pilgrims’ first corn harvest proved successful, Governor William Bradford organized a celebratory feast and invited a group of the fledgling colony’s Native American allies, including the Wampanoag chief Massasoit. Such was the first Thanksgiving, although it's doubtful they called it that.

This week we began planning our own Thanksgiving dinner. We lean toward a more Southern menu, I think. Starting with the oven roasted turkey, we add mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, kernel corn, green beans, cranberry sauce, giblet gravy and dressing -- not stuffing -- cornbread dressing. Dessert includes pumpkin and pecan pies. In the last few years, my daughter has been making cheesecakes that would give any one's efforts a run for their money.

 All of our immediate family will be coming to our house, including our daughter and her husband, our son and his wife and our three grandchildren. Each family will contribute to the meal. The atmosphere will be chaotic and tremendous fun. Family.

Usually on the day after, when everyone has gone home and my husband has left for the deer lease, I begin decorating for Christmas. Putting up the tree and all the decorations usually takes about a week. It seems I'm always finding additional trinkets to put out. Thankfully last year we bought a pre-lit tree. Best decision we've made in a long time.

I'm fairly certain that our family traditions, including the decorated tree, started, at least, as far back as the late 1700's to early 1800's. The trees through the years have come in all shapes and sizes. Growing up we had short ones, tall ones, fir, white plastic and a cedar that my dad cut for us late one night. It was such an adventure having daddy cut down our own tree, that is, until we saw the sign saying we were on land belonging to a state park!

My husband and I started our family's tree tradition with a Lionel train set, and a town consisting of a farm, train station and Santa with reindeer. While the placement and additions have changed throughout the last 40 years, it's content remains circa 1955. The following shots are from our tree last year.

This year the Hubs and I are starting what we hope will be a new family tradition. Our seven year old grandson will be with us on Friday after Thanksgiving and we will put the tree and decorations up with him. He loves to run the trains and I think he'll really enjoy placing the buildings and accessories where he wants them to be.

I'd like to share with you, now, my short story on Amazon called, A SANTA FOR CHRISTMAS. It takes place in San Antonio, Texas in and around the River Walk.

Merry Hernandez has lost both her father and her brother in the last year to unfortunate circumstances, and, due to a bad economy, stands to lose her business, Very Merry Events, as well. No one is spending unnecessarily for parties they can plan themselves. While that is bad, she regrets most not participating in the  Riverwalk Christmas Pageant in San Antonio, Texas, where her father always played Santa and handed out toys to the children. Will the handsome stranger and his father be able to help her fulfill her dreams?

Sam Claus has journeyed to Texas with his father to help him make a young woman's Christmas wish come true. Due to the older man's illness, Sam doesn't see a way to help Merry Hernandez. Throughout their evening together on Christmas Eve, too many circumstances occur that he can't explain. Will Sam be able to turn the tide of events in her favor?

Will Sam and Merry realize their special connection and reach their Happy Ever After?

A SANTA FOR CHRISTMAS is available on Amazon,

Thanks for visiting with me today. I wish the happiest of Thanksgiving traditions to you all!



  1. We are starting the tradition of having everyone come to our house for Thanksgiving. I enjoy doing the cooking and being surrounded by family. It's especially nice seeing Becca surrounded by family she doesn't get to see all the time. Hope everyones Thanksgiving is filled with great memories and awesome food.

  2. I love your train and town! I have a train and buildings. We had track and a large sheet of plywood painted like snow and a mountain our of paper maché, but we got rid of it when we moved. It was large, bulky, and heavy. I still have the village and train, though. Somewhere. We may have to wait until next year to set that up at our current home.

  3. Karla you will love having everyone close to share godd times and great food and build memories. Have a wonderful time!

  4. The trick to putting up the train board year after year, Caroline? Hubs keeps cutting it down every other year. We used to have three trains and many more buildings with accessories. He and I can't handle it by ourselves anymore. Maybe as the grandson gets bigger so will the board! Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family!

  5. Carra, what a lovely tradition! Since I am limited on space, we don't have a train or a village. But I did start a tradition of buying each grandchild an ornament every year and let them put it on the tree until they reached the age of 18 or were on their own and then they got to keep their ornaments! That was fun!

    1. Karren, I love the ornament idea. My mom bought Hallmark ornaments for each of her 3 grandchildren. Good for you getting them started on their own traditions! Great to hear from you and have a Happy Thanksgiving.


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