We began to notice it about 18 years ago, and it began to take shape even a few years before being named America’s Favorite Vacation Island by the leading travel magazines. What we saw was that our visitors began to multiply through the weeks that lead to Thanksgiving, and all through the Thanksgiving holiday. Instead of “over the river and through the woods to Grandmother’s house we go” for a reassuring family connection, families began to dream of a warm Thanksgiving that wasn’t stuffy.

What once had been a tradition-bound occasion began to be a holiday closer to each family’s own design. Instead of enduring dreary weather and a feeling of being shut in with family members who we see only a couple of times a year, people found that the goodness of Thanksgiving could be celebrated in a place that was just more fun. Today, families find that a warm Thanksgiving can take place in a spot where something of interest for everyone is easily at hand.

Wrapped in a Resort

The wisdom of changing the setting of your family Thanksgiving to Spicebush – a neighborhood wrapped in a world-class resort – outweighs any pang of regret for tossing aside a tradition. It’s not disloyal to opt for a warm Thanksgiving and move the occasion from “back home” to a sunnier setting, and a place where more fun is nearby for all.

What began as a trickle of independent-minded families who saw beyond the setting, who resolved that snow or drizzle were not essential ingredients for a traditional Thanksgiving, who decided that a warm Thanksgiving of respite from workaday life and renewed connections with loved ones is, in fact, more closely in keeping with what our ancestors started those traditions to preserve.

Telling a New Story

It turns out that one of the most important things people share at Thanksgiving is stories. Stories strengthen people and families by rooting us in our unique heritage. “Who we are and what is expected of us” comes to us largely as the result of the stories we acquire and own through life.

This isn’t just folklore. Research confirms abundantly that families and other groups work together more effectively when they know what ties them together, the stories that they share in common. A family’s stories compose their collective identity. The reason we might not have heard about this research is that the studies and the know-how they produced have largely been isolated in the commercial and military organizations that conducted this research.

Strength and even wisdom are built on the ways we reconnect as families, and a warm Thanksgiving offers a prime example of where and how to refresh those connections and keep them alive through generations.