For the Love of Traditions & My Non-Traditional Cranberry Sauce

I will freely admit that I absolutely adore good old long-standing traditions.  There’s nothing better for me than carrying on one of our family’s (too) many traditions.  Perhaps it’s my inner control freak exerting it’s will . . . or just the fact that I love the comfort that repetition brings, or the fact that as a kid, it seemed like we had very few family traditions (things always seemed to change from year to year) . . . it doesn’t really matter; I just love to repeat certain things over and over and over again.

Since the Husband and I host Thanksgiving every year, I can indulge freely in my love of traditions.  While little things have changed (we now have a “kids” table, and we smoke the chicken instead of roasting it, and I no longer create elaborate hand-made place cards), the menu and the cadence of the day have pretty much stayed the same over the last 10 years!

Ironically, it was my quest to make handmade place cards ten years ago that led me into a scrapbooking store that led to a whole lot of magic in my life including some pretty amazing friends.

But I digress.  After we eat our traditional meal, the kids will all change into skeleton jammies and we’ll take a picture of them all together on our living room sofa. This tradition started when I just had the Older one . . . I expanded it when I had the Little one (I LOVE when the kids wear matching jammies), and then just kept expanding it as more kids entered the family.  This year, though, I had a REALLY hard time finding skeleton jammies in a size that would fit the Older one.  A sign that he really is growing up.  And an indication to me that I’m not going to be able to keep ALL of my traditions alive as the kids get older.

Oh well, for today, anyway, I’m going to enjoy all the traditions that I can squeeze into this one too-short day.  And tomorrow, as we indulge in our annual post-thanksgiving leftover sandwiches, I can start in on organizing my Christmas season traditions (I may have already purchased the chocolate advent calendars for the kids along with a few sets of matching Christmas jammies).

Maybe after Christmas I can work on letting go of some of my crazy obsessions with traditions…

Now for the Cranberry Sauce part of this post.  The ONE item on our Thanksgiving menu that has never stayed the same from year to year is the cranberry sauce.  Some years we are able to pick the cranberries from the cottage.  And some years, we can’t.  Some years, I make a recipe that calls for a bag of cranberries to be dumped into a pot along with a jar of red currant jelly – you melt it all together until the cranberries burst and then cool it down and serve (sounds kinda gross, but it’s good and it does work).  And other years, I have tried different recipes.  Last year, and this year, I made the following recipe.  There are many versions of this floating around the internet.  Personally, I like cranberries, so I don’t like much else in the sauce, other than cranberries – i.e., i don’t add in spices, zest or anything else.  If that’s what you like, go nuts and add away!!!

Cranberry Sauce

  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


1 12oz bag of cranberries

3/4 cup orange juice

1/2 cup raw honey


  1. Dump the cranberries into a colander and pick through them; discard any little twigs or shrivelled cranberries.
  2. Place the picked-over cranberries into a small saucepan along with the orange juice and honey.
  3. Heat the mixture on medium heat for about 25minutes.  The longer you cook it, the thicker the sauce will get.  By this point, all the cranberries should have popped and the  mixture will look a nice deep “cranberry” colour.
  4. Cool, and serve.

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