Friday, November 28, 2008

An Important Holiday

Sophie, (my French translator in Paris) sent good wishes for a Happy Thanksgiving and in her note said "I understand Thanksgiving is at least as important - if not more - than Christmas in the United States."

My initial reaction was something like, Oh, heavens, no -- in the US, Christmas isn't just a day but a season that extends for some folks from the day after Thanksgiving to New Year's Day with gifts and church and Christmas carols and cards and parties and traditional events like The Nutcracker, and decorations that can range from a simple wreath on the door to decorated trees in every room and twinkling reindeer on the lawn.

Thanksgiving, on the other hand, is just one day -- lots of cooking, lots of eating -- how could it approach the importance of Christmas?

But in talking with some of the folks gathered at our house today, I came to realize that it's all the things that Thanksgiving lacks that makes it such a pure holiday and one almost immune to commercialization.

For us, it's simply a day to be thankful and to enjoy the company of family and friends -- no gifts, no cards, no pre-or post Thanksgiving parties. The stores don't play Thanksgiving Muzak at you (even if there were a canon of Turkey Day tunes, the stores are already playing Christmas ditties.)

So we shove the furniture around and rely on sawhorses and an old door to make a table big enough for all of us; we prepare and eat far too much food; drink a pleasant amount of wine; and enjoy being together for a long afternoon -- a kind of low key warm-up for the demands of the coming Christmas season.

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Pat in east TN said...

You're absolutely right Vicki ... a thankful day enjoyed with family and friends, all very low key. It's kind of like taking a big deep breath before all the 'craziness' starts. Whew!!

My Thanksgiving was spread over 2 days due to a 'shared' grandchild (it's not his year to have her on the acutal day) coming quite a distance, and another son who works ever changing shifts with possible call outs. It couldn't be worked out for all of us to be together at one time, but we made the most of it.

Carol Murdock said...

Your table looks great Vicki!
I did a 24 hour brine on my Turkey this year and it was amazing! I will never cook a Turkey without the brine again. However the hit of the day was my new Private Massage chair that came Monday.It is my early Anniversary present.
Everyone had to take a turn in it and some made"pigs" of themselves!
Pat we have a every other year situation too with grands and this was our year.

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Susan M. Bell said...

Neither one of us are very close to most of our family, so it's just the hubby and me at Thanksgiving. That's not a bad thing, though. He works for the local community college so always has the day off, and I'm working on starting my own business so currently have every day off. I cook the usual meal of turkey breast, stuffing, mac n cheese and baby lima beans and we watch movies or cartoons...and overeat of course.

I look at your photos and do sometimes get a bit envious of the large gathering of friends and family you have. But then, I look at the hubby and the cats, all lazing around after filling up on turkey, and I'm pretty thankful for what I have here. So many out there have so much less.

Tammy said...

Lovely table settings! I agree--the simpleness of Thanksgiving is what makes it special. Food and Family. ;-) It just seems like everyone is so much more relaxed on this day and lots of catching up and enjoying each other. It was especially nice this year, as we were all thankful that my Mom was still with us. I too enjoy the days of leftovers and putting together odd little meals for several days.

Vicki Lane said...

It's a beautiful celebration, even when spread over several days and states, whether a catered event for you and a crowd, a friends and family potluck, or just you and your best friend. Sounds like all of you had a good one.

I hope Sophie reads these comments for a quick look at our American Thanksgiving.

Vicki Lane said...

Hello, Susan -- I'm glad you're enjoying my ramblings. Come back soon and join in! (The comments are half the fun.)