S2E17: Thanksgiving Traditions
Speaker 1: Go
Angel Leon: Hello, everyone and welcome to another edition of ASCII Anything, presented by Moser Consulting. I'm your host, Angel Leon, Moser's HR Advisor. This week, we're bringing you our consultants' traditions for one of our favorite holidays, Thanksgiving. Producer Brian and I inaudible with our consultants on what their traditions are for Thanksgiving. So get ready, sit on your favorite couch, but don't fall asleep from overeating because you won't want to miss these Thanksgiving traditions that we have for you. We have Peggy, Ryan, Tia and Melinda who all shared wonderful traditions that you could adopt for your family this year. First off, we have Peggy whose Thanksgiving tradition involves building gingerbread houses. Let's have a listen.
Peggy: Since I was about eight years old, my mother started baking homemade gingerbread and turning it into gingerbread houses. It was a long process for her to do and we would make homemade gingerbread houses with me and my two older brothers. A few years after that, we carried that tradition on the extended family and our cousins all then got to do it. That's about 13 families that my mom would make these gingerbread houses for and that was a Thanksgiving Day tradition. After we eat a big meal, we would then make the houses. The only rule we had with our houses of course, was everything had to be edible. No toys could be added. Everything had to be edible. We still do that tradition today, gosh, 35 years later, maybe. My mom is still making gingerbread houses for not only me and my brother's families, but also for my cousins. Once Christmas is over, we let that gingerbread house go and sit outside and let the birds have their little feast on Christmas Day. Of course, when we were little, we would eat our houses. My mother would get so mad at us. I look back now thinking that was very disgusting, with the dust and the stale candy. And my kids, I guess, eat on the house today, the house that they build, and they eat that same candy and I remind them how disgusting that is.
Brian: Do they eat it leading up to Christmas or just a little bit at a time? Does the house slowly disappear as you get close? It's almost like an Advent calendar of gingerbread?
Peggy: Yes, exactly an Advent calendar. Exactly. Just slowly disappears. By Christmas morning, the house looks pretty pathetic. Sometimes it gets set outside early for the birds.
Angel Leon: Coming up, we have Ryan, who has a Thanksgiving tradition involving the song Alice's Restaurant with his brother and his dad that should bring a smile to your day. Here's Ryan.
Ryan: All right. Well, ever since I can remember, going back to early childhood years, something that my dad and my brother and I would always do each year was listen to a song that was played on the radio called Alice's Restaurant. The song was written back in 1967. It's incredibly long, really silly. I'd encourage everybody to listen to it at least once, because it is really kind of silly. It's about 18 minutes long, but it's played on his favorite radio station 104.7 WTUE, out of Dayton, Ohio. It was something that we started. A lot of times when we were kids, we would travel to his brother's house and the time that we'd be traveling, it was on the radio during that time, so it started that way. For probably the last 10 to 15 years, they've been hosting it at their house. We don't have that travel, but we step outside, we go out to his truck and we'll open the truck door up, start it up and we'll play the song. And we'll just kind of stand there, shooting the breeze and listening to the song for the 18- minute length of time while our turkey is cooking and just kind of reliving those childhood memories a little bit at a time with listening to that song.
Brian: Cool. All right. Thank you very much. We appreciate you sharing that with us.
Ryan: You're welcome. Absolutely. It's a very, very silly tradition, but it's fun sometimes to share those with other people.
Brian: Yeah. And now everyone enjoying this episode of ASCII Anything will, if they've heard the song, have it randomly pop up, just running through their head at some point later today. So you're welcome for that, everybody.
Brian: All right, thanks again.
Angel Leon: Next up, we have Tia who has one of the most unique traditions I think you'll hear. And you hear me laughing because this one is a doozy. They are a naps and crafts household. And if you want to know what I mean by that, let's listen to Tia tell her story.
Tia: I actually have two quick ones. The first one is post- food floor naps. The thing is, in our family, it's been a while since we've been all together, but everybody will stuff their faces and literally all fall asleep on the floor. No one goes to a spare bedroom. There's at least two rooms that all of the family spreads out in and is inhabiting during Thanksgiving and you will find people in a corner on the floor passed out and you have people just sitting on the couch, snoring. And then if you fall asleep first, everybody will take your picture. And we've been fortunate enough that people don't know how to transfer their photos on their phones, so a lot of them have been lost. I've been confirming those. And then the second one is Christmas crafting. I come from a very crafty family. My grandmother crafts all the time, sews all the time and we usually do a Christmas craft every Thanksgiving. It's either Oriental trading type things, or somebody finds something on Pinterest. So you take out the popsicles, the felt, pine cones, whatever, and you make yourself a Christmas craft. And we would make one every year. Recently, because everybody has grown up, it hasn't happened as often, but it's something that I'm probably going to start picking back up again. We have the popsicle stick sleds, there's popsicle stick snowmen. We've had a lot of reindeer. There's lot of reindeer. There's origami reindeer, felt reindeer, then some type of wooden school reindeer with Christmas bells on it. You hot glue everything. Pretty fun.
Angel Leon: And finally, we have Melinda, who is back with us, sharing her gingerbread making stories. And her tradition, while similar to Peggy's, is quite interesting and it comes with a twist in the end. Here's Melinda with her Thanksgiving tradition.
Melinda: So my family's kind of... We're a little more fun- oriented maybe than a lot of families. On Thanksgiving, after we're all done eating and all the great food and everything, some people go off and watch the game. We get all of the kids together and we go and put them all around a table and just get tons of decorations and we decorated a gingerbread house. We'll have it pre- built and all of the little kids, all the grandkids, my nieces and nephews, we just let them go wild with it. We have every type of possible candy to put on it and gum drops and little Hershey bar bricks for the roof tiles. We let them do whatever they want to do. We even have a platform that we put it on. They can decorate the yard of the gingerbread house.
Angel Leon: Oh, nice.
Melinda: Yeah, I get it just really interesting and each kid has an area they can decorate so they can make it their own. We just let them go crazy with it. But then, at the end of the night, one person becomes the guardian of the gingerbread house. Somebody from the family, either me or one of my sister- in- laws, and that person has to take it and keep it until Christmas. At Christmas, when we get back together, wherever we end up getting together at, will bring the gingerbread house back, and then we destroy it in new and creative ways over Christmas.
Angel Leon: Okay. I like where this is going.
Melinda: One year, my brothers both work in a car dealership shop as mechanics, so they took the airbag out of a wrecked car and we set it outside and put the gingerbread house on top of the airbag and blew it up so that it blew into the air with great force.
Brian: Has it landed yet?
Melinda: That was a lot of fun. You know what? Those things are more powerful than you think. It really ejected high. We were standing back, but honestly, we were not back far enough. It really ejected into the air.
Angel Leon: They are. They're very powerful. Like Brian said, has it landed yet? Because those things are-
Melinda: No. I'm pretty sure we put pieces of it into orbit. But other years, we have put it over a bonfire and lit the bonfire and watched it melt. We have put it out into a field and like shot at it or pellet guns shot at it, BB gun shot at it, just about anything you can think of we've destroyed it. And then we generally leave the little pieces of gingerbread out for the birds to come and nibble on because they're usually getting pretty hungry about that time.
Angel Leon: I want to go to the start of the story. I'm guessing this isn't a run- of- the- mill buying box set of gingerbread houses like I do, for example.
Melinda: Well, sometimes we start with that. One year, I actually made the gingerbread and cut out the sides of the house and everything. And I realized what a large amount of work that is. It's really hard to get it even and everything. So just to simplify things, we generally start with your stock gingerbread house that you just buy from any big box store. But sometimes we'll buy a couple of them and we'll kind of make it our own. But it gives you the starting pieces to kind of put it together and get them a start, but we always buy tons and tons of extra decorations and extra candy canes. Cereal, the rice Chex cereal makes great roof tiles. They look like little shingles. We experiment with different types of cereal for it. The kids look forward to it every year. They love, love building it. My sister- in- laws don't look forward to keeping it every a year. It's always a-
Angel Leon: Of course.
Melinda: ...point of contention about who has to keep this gooey, sticky, sweet gingerbread house for four weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Brian: Have any of the kids ever balked at the destruction time or has enough time passed they're over it and they're like," Yeah, whatever"?
Melinda: Maybe the first year, but after that they love it. I mean, they can't wait until... And they want to know how we're going to do it this year and what it's going to be like. If we were to explode it the same day, I think they would be upset, but knowing that it's been there for four weeks and everybody's-
Brian: It would be time to throw it out anyway.
Melinda: Yeah, it's really time for it to go.
Brian: If we're going to get rid of it, let's get rid of it with style.
Angel Leon: I have to ask a question. What are the parameters on choosing who keeps it? I'm guessing there's got to be some sort of, you lose a game, you get to keep this thing in your house.
Brian: Or if not, we just gave you a really good idea for deciding in the future.
Angel Leon: Yes.
Melinda: I think that that's a great idea because a lot of times it's just like," Hey, you haven't done it a couple years. You're going to take this one." Either that or my parents will just drop it off as somebody's house while you're at work and you'll come home and it'll be sitting on your kitchen table.
Angel Leon: Oh, there's not a better surprise than that one.
Melinda: Yeah. That's a lot of fun. But it's a lot of fun and it gives the kids two things to look forward to. They look forward to building it and then after some time, they look forward to watching it go away. It's better than just throwing it in the trash can.
Angel Leon: Yeah. It has a beginning and end. Now, going back to the formation of it, I'm sure you guys probably have made some very cool designs. Because if you're buying two or three of those boxes, you're getting two- story houses, you're getting a high- rise.
Brian: Yeah. Gingerbread condo is in my head.
Melinda: Well, a lot of the kids are still very small. A lot of my nieces and nephews and my great nieces and nephews. And we want them to participate and be an active participant, so we don't put too much engineering into it. We want them to own it, to look like they want it to look and you know kids. They want it to be fun and have so many candy sprinkles on it. So we kind of let them own it. We don't overadult it. A lot of these projects, you go to the school projects and you could see the ones that the adults totally did because they're over engineered.
Angel Leon: Oh, my gosh.
Melinda: And we totally don't do that. When it's done, you know that the kids owned this project because it's very, very special and colorful.
Brian: I'm anticipating stealing this just unashamedly because it dovetails nicely with a summertime tradition that we have with my wife's family. My in- laws, every 4th of July, everybody brings at least one, if not multiple, watermelons to the 4th of July picnic. And they live out in the middle of nowhere where there's no one to complain about the noise or the mess and we explode watermelons with giant firecrackers and other stuff like Tannerite and rifles out in the country every 4th of July. I think this constructing gingerbread houses at Thanksgiving, destroying at Christmas thing could be a nice opposite end of the year mate for that level of destruction that we generally participate in in the summer.
Angel Leon: I thought you were going to say that you were going to build it in Thanksgiving and then wait until summer to destroy it.
Melinda: You do not want to do that. The problem with it is it's so sweet that it's a good thing it doesn't happen in the summer because it'll attract ants. We don't have too much trouble because it's cold here where we're at, but yeah, you got to watch out. You got to watch that thing if you're the caretaker to make sure the ants don't create a trail to it because it is a really sweet creation.
Angel Leon: Yeah. It's one of a kind. That is actually a very neat tradition, I got to say.
Melinda: Yeah, we've been doing it for a lot of years. I can't even remember everything we've done to it. We always take a picture of the gingerbread house, but not always the aftermath of Christmas with the gingerbread house. And there's different years we haven't... We've had to wait until New Year's to do it because maybe not everybody was there at Christmas or whatever.
Brian: The weather.
Melinda: The weather or whatever, but either Christmas or New Year's, we usually get it done. And obviously last year with the pandemic, we didn't have Thanksgiving or Christmas or a number of my family who were sick. We kind of missed it and I kind of look forward to getting back with that this year because we are planning on getting together. I think my mom has some plans this year maybe to get the little, little ones, their own little gingerbread houses, like mini ones that they can kind of keep that we won't do this to in case the little, little ones in the family do get upset, in case they do about the little tradition that we have. But that's another option if anybody was willing to try this is maybe for the little, little ones, have a little tiny gingerbread house. You can just do it with graham crackers. You don't even have to buy a kit for a mini one. You can just put a couple Graham crackers together, seal it with icing and they can do their own little decorating and that one doesn't have to be necessarily a part of the other fun.
Angel Leon: Yeah. You can do a one bedroom, one bathroom kind of a thing.
Brian: An efficiency.
Angel Leon: Yeah. And on that note, thank you, Melinda for joining us today. We really appreciate it.
Melinda: All right. Thank you.
Angel Leon: Thank you for listening in to this week's edition of ASCII Anything presented by Moser Consulting. We hope you enjoyed listening in to our Thanksgiving traditions episode. Join us next week when we continue to dive deeper with our resident experts and what they're currently working on. And remember, if you have an idea or a topic you'd like us to explore, please reach out to us through our social media channels. In the meantime, please remember to give us a rating and subscribe to our feed wherever you get your podcasts. Until then, beware of turkey coma and so long everybody.
In this episode, we asked the consultants at Moser Consulting about Thanksgiving traditions that their families have and then invited a few of them to share those traditions with you.
Take a listen and maybe you'll find a new tradition to start with your family this year at Thanksgiving.