Monday, November 19, 2007

Thanksgiving Thespians

Lillian in Pilgrim DressEach year at Northern Lights school they have a holiday feast where everyone pre-orders hot lunch and gets a traditional turkey meal the day before Thanksgiving. Then they do a full-on parade to celebrate, asking children to dress up as "early American historical figures" and prepare a speech about their character.

I know, I know, sounds like something out of the 1950s (or maybe The Crucible), but it's really kind of sweet and I love how it emphasizes history, patriotism, creativity, public speaking, all those good things. Only problem is: the costume. Because the first thing I want to do right after Halloween is worry about Thanksgiving costumes, right?

Well the boys are easy. Everyone wants to be Squanto. EVERYONE. I think it's the naked savage appeal or something but every year half the boys show up dressed as the world's most famous Indian (next to Tanto of course--"Happy Thanksgiving Kemosabe") and it's hard to argue when all you need is some Clinique war paint.

They make the kids get approval for their Historical Figure first, mostly because everyone from Harry Houdini to Bono to Little Debbie have been used as inspiration. My rebellious nature has secretly dreamed of dressing Grace up as Hester Prynne complete with a red letter "A+" emblazoned on her chest or maybe one of the boys as John Wilkes Boothe just to see what happens. Apparently they have rules to protect children from people like me.

At any rate, back when I had MUCH more time on my hands I made Grace a pilgrim costume which lasted her several years which is now doing double time for Lillian who gets her first turn as The World's Cutest Puritan.

The thing that makes this pilgrim dress perfect is that it works with a terrific plot line with a surprise ending. Mary Chilton was a child on the Mayflower voyage who--legend has it--vowed to be the first person to set foot in the New World so when the ship got close to land she jumped overboard and waded ashore. She survived to a ripe old age with a plethora of offspring and is buried in downtown Boston. I question the ability of a non-swimming Puritan girl wearing 25 yards of sodden homespun to survive a dip in frigid New England autumn waters but who's going to argue with sacred family history?

But regardless, when the girls dress up as Mary Chilton and tell the story, ending with the punch line that she's their 14th great-grandmother they win Best Supporting Actress in a Historical Drama every time. Even Hester Prynne couldn't top that.

***

Think you're a Turkey Trivia Buff? Test your poultry prowess here and let me know how you did. Don't worry, you probably beat me--by a lot.

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33 comments:

Mrs. G. said...

A pilgrim's work knows no bounds...did they have brooms back then? Nice smile.

Cecily R said...

I think that is a great way to celebrate! What a fabulous idea!

Love the costume. Glad that something that so obviously took a lot of time is being used more than once.

Poppy Fields said...

I got ten right...my girls would have a blast at your kids' school!

Shalee said...

She's adorable! I'd totally want to eat a school lunch to hang out with that pilgrim, even if you did sew the scarlet letter to her chest.

I got 11 out of 20 correct. Does it count if I was guessing at most of them?

Adventures In Babywearing said...

That is one awesome pilgrim costume! And I'm embarrassed to say I got only 8 right on the quiz! Who knew turkeys could fly??

Steph

Mary Alice said...

I think that is wonderful that they do that at your school. Your children will always remember it fondly. Also she is TOO cute!

dcrmom said...

What a precious picture!!

Amy said...

I just found you...I really like your blog and the pilgrim costume is so cute! Take Care!

S said...

I think its great that the schools actually celebrate Thanksgiving! In our area it's all becoming quite "politically correct" and rather dull.

Thanks for checking out my blog, too. I look forward to looking through yours, too! :-)

Tuesday said...

Hello Scribbit,
That's a fab way to celebrate Thanksgiving and the costume is really lovely.
Made me a bit homesick now.
Tuesday

Diane said...

So CUTE! I love the costume, and the Hester Prynne idea, but I suppose you're right - might get you in a wee bit of trouble. And what a great ancestral story you have there! I'm a Mayflower decendant myself, but I don't have anything that great to tell.

Be Inspired Always said...

What a wonderful idea.


I'm new to your blog, please feel welcomed to come visit mine.



Jillian

J at www.jellyjules.com said...

I got 7 right...but I don't think you COULD celebrate an "American" thanksgiving before 1777, seeing as we were still a colony back then. Nitpicking, I know.

Love the costume, very cute.

I don't have any Mayflower folks, but maybe 2nd or 3rd boat people, as my Grandmother's side of the family has been here since the 1600s as well. Pretty interesting to read about. Have you ever been to Boston to check it all out? I've not gone yet, nor to Salem, but I think it would be an interesting vacation someday.

Tammy said...

Cute outfit! My mom made me a Pilgrim outfit when I was about 4 or 5 years old. =)

I got 11 out of 20 questions right on that quiz. How in the world was I supposed to know that a turkey could fly 55 mph??? LOL

Ashley said...

My turkey knowledge...not so great. I think it is wonderful that your children's school celebrates in such a fun way. Sounds like things that we used to do when we were little. I think they have taken most of the fun out school now days. Thanks for visiting my blog. I am gonna have to revisit yours. No one can have too many recipes.

Coach J said...

Love the costume, but love the story even more! So, how many Oscars are being used as bookends around your house??!! :)

Cocoa said...

Yes, she definitely wins The World's Cutest Puritan! Great ancestral story too.

p.s. my word verification is too funny not to share especially if you read it just right... isypood! Haha.

ames said...

We did something similar at my school when I was in 6th grade though we didn't have the costume pre-approval process - I *love* your subversive costume ideas! They make me snicker.

She is definitely the most adorable pilgrim ever to sweep a floor, I hope she has fun.

Laura said...

I'm "turkey-rific" because I got nine questions right! Problem is, I guessed on, um pretty much all of them.

Marie N. said...

Simply walking around in 25 yards of mildly damp homespun sounds like a chore. Swimming would be really something.

That is tremendous family history and a great costume. I prefer the costumes that can go through several years or several children too.

Marie N. said...

I scored 11 on the quiz. Apparently I know a bit about birds but not much about turkey farming or presidential acts.

Katherine said...

I love costumes that can get multiple uses. While Harry Potter isn't a historical figure, our costume has done double duty for Halloween and book character parades at school - dress like a book character and carry the book.

I got 14 questions correct (with a fair amount of guessing).

Megan (FriedOkra) said...

I won't be reciting anything but I do have that exact same pilgrim dress in blue. I mean exactly. Except of course in my size. Well, theoretically. It was made before Bean was born, so we'll see. But I wear it yearly - it's tradition - my Mom and I both wore pilgrim dresses on Thanksgiving while I was growing up. I have not let on to my T'giving guests this year that I'll be wearing it. I can't wait to see their reactions. Now I must hie me hither and make some cranberry onion sauce!

Magpie said...

Your rebellious nature sounds like fun.

Goslyn said...

I got 17 out of 20 correct; apparently I'm a turkey expert. Who knew?

Love the costume. We used to do the same type of thing at my elementary school, but my costume didn't rock as much as Grace's.

childlife said...

I love the costume - you're right she's right up there near the top of the list for adorable pilgrims!

SabineM said...

wow what a gorgeous costume!

Babystepper said...

Great costume and great story.

No one's going to question the veracity of a pilgrim as cute as that one. She could say her ancestor was Hester and they'd just smile and nod.

WorksForMom said...

I am still giggling that EVERYONE wants to be Squanto! She is SO ADORABLE!

Lara said...

Beautiful costume, and great story to tell. Although, I'd be inclined to go for Hester Prynne as well. :)

And...I'm turkeyrific...got 9 questions right. Which means I got more wrong, so I'm not sure what's so turkeyrific about that.

cheeky said...

You are twisted, and I mean that in the nicest of ways. A+ LOL
I think the whole program the school puts on is wonderful. What a lovely example for the children.
How cool is it that MC is a relative.
I love the photo of your daughter. Too cute.

The Lazy Organizer said...

That is adorable! I bet she keeps the house that tidy all the time.

Amy said...

How fun! I love your other costume ideas too. Too bad the schools are so darn strict!

Hope they enjoy that turkey dinner!