I’m all for change and doing things in different ways, but I love the customs of Thanksgiving and the holiday season to come.
For more than two decades, JM and I have shared Thanksgiving with a group of Holiday Orphans. Like us, their family is far away, so we celebrate together with this extended family of dear people.
Everyone pitches in to share the load. One couple loves roasting turkey, mashing potatoes, and hosting (Am I not lucky!). JM and I bring a ton of sweet taties. Others contribute dessert, wine, salads, rolls, and more.
One year, JM and I brought different side dishes, but everybody missed the tried-and-true favorites. Isn’t it funny how these little things that we do grow into cherished traditions? The other day at my haircut appointment, I heard customers and stylists recite their Thanksgiving menus, discussing every aspect of family gatherings with the reverence of a sacred litany.
Another tradition requires a trip up to the attic. I dig out timers and extension cords to set electric candles in the windows. Their glow for the first time on Thanksgiving evening kicks off our holiday season.
Then there are gifts to buy and wrap, cards to address (yep, still do snail-mail greeting cards), decorations for inside and in the garden, donations for the food drive, something for the angel tree….the list goes on. I could easily make myself go crazy trying to get everything done.
But I don’t want to be a captive of The List. I want to savor the here and now. The traditions. The spirit of giving and gratitude of the season.
Years go by too fast. It couldn’t have been that long ago that Mama and Grandma worked their magic on our mulit-course Thanksgiving feast that started around 1:00 with antipasto, followed by pasta and a full turkey dinner before ending with demitasse and dessert after dark. Or the way Paw-paw Pete captivated us at dinner with gentle stories of life during the Depression. Now all these folk are dear memories. And the endless hours of football games that some of us loved while others scratched their heads over the chaos on the couch after a touchdown.
So before the checkout lines snake out the door, I want to enjoy this gift of time that’s before me in the here and now. And just as important, I want to take a moment to thank you for keeping company with Sweet T, Fuzzy and me. It’s been a wild ride, and we are beyond grateful.
Wishing you and yours the best of your Thanksgiving and November’s final weekend. What are your favorite ways to celebrate season of gratitude? Please share in the comment section.
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