Each 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.
Technorati tags: parenting, motherhood, holidays, Thanksgiving, Pilgrims