I love Thanksgiving.
I love the season it's in. (Fall is my favorite.)
I love the homey nature of it.
I love that commercialism has never managed to take it over.
I love that it focuses on food and gratitude.
For the record, I'm not opposed to football. I'm a lifelong Mitten State girl. I think we have some football team that plays every year on Thanksgiving Day. If other people in my house want to make the game part of the festivities, that's fine with me. I'll be in the kitchen with the pies.
I mentioned in my last post that when I was growing up, my mom had specific expectations about what constituted a "proper" Sunday dinner.
For me, these five traditions are what make a "proper" Thanksgiving...no pigskin required.
1. Thanksgiving: A Time to Remember, by Barbara Rainey. This is our family's go-to Thanksgiving book, and we read it every year over the course of the season. Filled with rich details about the voyage to the new world (condensed version: this was no Carnival cruise), life for the Pilgrims (condensed version: this was no "woo hoo, we got away from jolly old England" vacation), and the history of Thanksgiving as a national holiday (condensed version: Sarah Josepha Hale was one determined woman), this instant heirloom also offers President Lincoln's entire 1863 Thanksgiving Proclamation and journal pages for recording your family's personal thanksgivings.
2. George Winston's "Thanksgiving" from December. Always the musical backdrop for our Thanksgiving dinner. Winston's Autumn album is a nice long-play option, too. Soothing, somehow autumnal music, and no lyrics to compete with conversation.
3."Turkey Terrific" sandwiches. I love Thanksgiving dinner, and I love Thanksgiving dinner leftovers. And the best delivery system I know of for those leftovers is a sandwich that puts them all together. Food Network featured the "Turkey Terrific" sandwich from Provisions restaurant in Nantucket one year on "The Best Thing I Ever Ate: That I'm Thankful For," and the 3/4 of my family that will have anything to do with turkey got hooked immediately. (My younger daughter would be a vegetarian except that she's not all that crazy about vegetables.)
Just pile leftover turkey and dressing in between a couple slices of sturdy bread you've spread with cranberry sauce (or, as I do, with cranberry "butter" I make by cooking cranberries and a little sugar together and then putting the whole mixture through the food mill). Yes, I know it sounds weird. But so do lots of things before you find out how wonderful they are.
4. A Charlie Brown Thankgsgiving and The Mayflower Voyagers. Leave it to the Peanuts gang to tell the Thanksgiving story in their own fun-but-factual inimitable fashion. Even my teenagers love to watch this double feature. For one thing, it makes them thankful they weren't Pilgrims.
5. Talk around the table. It's hard to beat the classic "go around and tell something you're thankful for" standby. I love to hear what people come up with on the spur-of-the-moment (unless they anticipate the exercise and prepare their remarks ahead of time). But last year, I changed things up and incorporated Thanksgiving Scriptures with our table name cards. Each card had (appropriately enough) the guest's name on it, along with a Bible verse that related to the day. Each verse contained a word that started with one letter of the word "thanks." It helped that we had six guests to go with the six letters; I'm not creative enough to know what I would have done if we'd had more or fewer than six. Anyway. We started with whoever had "T" and ended with whoever had "S," and it was all very pleasant, if possibly a little Martha Stewart-meets-Sunday School teacher-ish. One of my new year's goals as a blogger is to figure out how to make those free printables every other blogger in the world offers, but in the meantime, here's a glimpse of the Scriptures I used...
Got a non-negotiable Thanksgiving tradition of your own to share? I'd love to hear about it in a comment or on Facebook...or, better yet, over on Syncopated Mama, at my friend Lisa's 5 After 5 party that's all about Thanksgiving traditions.
Have a blessed Thanksgiving!
(And if football is part of it for you, here's hoping your team wins.)
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