Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. I can feel all the eye rolling going on after that last sentence but I have had a different experience than most when it comes to this holiday. So, I have included a free download link here for some Thanksgiving decorations. You can cut them out while you read about my Thanksgivings past!
My early Thanksgiving dinners did not include any creepy annoying relatives, no long drive to someone else’s house, no extended family. Therefore no in-laws, no aunts or uncles or cousins or grandparents, just my immediate family having a great dinner that we all participated in. All the drama was left for others.
As a child I was given the task of the relish tray. This consisted of black olives (you know, the salty ones from a can, I must admit I still love them but I have graduated to the Italian/French gourmet style in oil), radishes cut to look like rosettes, celery with cream cheese, carrots and scallions all arranged to look as amazing as I thought possible. I truly believed my relish tray was as important as the sweet potatoes and stuffing.
Thanksgiving through the college years and as a young adult I was on my own. As a result, some years it was a restaurant, another cooking lasagna with friends and yet another just home alone with some Oreos and wine, (yes, I survived, its just a day).
Some of my favorite Thanksgiving dinners were the few years when my kids were young, elementary school age. We would have these spectacular dinners that would start on Wednesday at our house, (the practice meal) which would include friends and neighbors. The Thanksgiving Day feast would be at our house or our European friends’ house. This dinner consisted of our two immediate families. Each family would invite single friends, neighbors, and any workers or foreign stragglers that needed to feel included. Friday was leftover day dinner, then concluded with Saturday lunch. We all looked forward to these yearly feasts. No gift-giving stress, no mandatory family obligations, just a big group of friends sharing fantastic meals, conversations, laughter and stories.
What is the supposed meaning of Thanksgiving? It’s really just being thankful for the harvest and survival, and just enjoying a great meal. I think about those dinners from years ago and I’m pretty sure we had it down!
I do still enjoy Thanksgiving. However, as the kids are older our sights are set in other lands. I suspect we will be bringing our thankful dinner idea with us to share with a new group, maybe with a French flair!