Holidays are a changin? too

?Come gather ?round people, wherever you roam and admit that the waters around you have grown…. As the present now will soon be the past…for the times they are a changin?.? ?Bob Dylan

All of us are poster children for the phrase ?the times they are a changin?.? Many years ago, in loaves and fish fashion, my parents fit 10 of us into a seven-room home. I was young and mostly unaware, but I wonder now how that logistically happened. Maybe being small Bohemian people made us easier to stack.

Some things that were not small, however, were our holiday dinners. As time went on, my seven siblings and I grew families of our own and still managed to shoehorn ourselves into that house around tables (and tables) of food.

Eventually, things began to shift, as they do, leading us to shift along with them. Families grew even more, children were had. Our dad passed away, the children grew and started having their own children.

Somewhere along the line, our mom decided to downsize and transform herself into an apartment-dwelling city gal. As moms sometimes do. In turn, holiday plans morphed as well.

This year we will continue our tradition of what will be, will be. Some will be in one place, others in another. All technical food requirements will be met?there will be turkey, potatoes and dressing at our table. There will be bread, vegetables and cranberry sauce. There will be pie. But it will be served from a restaurant buffet on warm plates, probably multiple, and we will walk out leaving the dinner dishes where they lie, along with a tip.

I am so OK with this.

In my family, traditions were once tied to a place. Maybe yours were, too. Maybe they still are. Even though the circumstances had changed, the first few years of not meeting at our childhood home felt like we were erasing the definition of what the holidays had always meant.

But the truth is, that?s not the truth. Not even close. We were just tweaking it a bit. My immediate family has grown from 10 into?well, some other bigger number. Members have come. Some have gone. Some have joined through marriage, birth, adoption, commitment and friendship.

In an obscure but relateable thought, writer Liz Gilbert said, ?The Internet is like tofu. It tastes like whatever you add to it.? She may have been talking about cyberspace and all the fun and frustration it can potentially bring, but the same idea can be applied to the holidays.

Our traditional or non-traditional take?or yours, whatever it may be?on this Thanksgiving and Christ?mas to follow, will be as sweet or salty as we make it.

I say do it your way.

Gather around Grandpa while he carves the turkey. Sit across from drunk uncle and have three helpings of mashed potatoes. Or hold hands and sing Adele between uncomfortable political conversations. Or slap some turkey on a Hawaiian role on your way out the door to join them?Black Friday? sales.

The point is to consider the good things in your life and give them the time they deserve. Give thanks for the people in your life, the ones surrounding you at your table, the ones at other tables far away, and the ones at a higher table. Give thanks for open minds. Give thanks that people can choose to spend the day as it suits them.

I will personally give thanks for restaurants who are open and serving on Thanksgiving day.

Give thanks for traditions, old and new. And give thanks for time, no matter how much it?s a changin?.

Shelley Plett is a graphic designer for the Free Press and Kansas Publishing Ventures. She can be reached at shelley@hillsborofree?

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