Wednesday, November 20, 2013
Why I Love Thanksgiving Best of All Holidays
My love for Thanksgiving began the year I got married and moved away from home. We lived at Fort Bragg, N.C. and my husband was in the military and had maneuvers that week and couldn't go more than a half hour away from the base.
I was 18 years old and away from home for my first holiday! After talking to my Mama on the phone to tell her the bad news, she discussed it with my Daddy and they brought the family the four hour drive to me for Thanksgiving... my brothers and my baby sister came along. I cooked my first turkey by myself that year... and I must say it turned out beautifully!
This began a tradition in my family. I cooked Thanksgiving dinner and Mama brought dessert... for Christmas, she cooked and I brought dessert.
I usually cook the same menu every year and it's my favorite meal to cook... turkey, sometimes ham, mashed potatoes, green beans, dressing, sweet potato casserole, rolls, gravy, cranberry sauce... Mama always made the pumpkin pies and now that she's no longer with us, my brother Kevin has taken over the task. I also always make a red velvet cake, just like Mama's, for my brother Jeff whose birthday is November 25 and generally falls on or near Thanksgiving Day.
Don't get me wrong... I love all the holidays and realize that most people love Christmas the best... but for me, Christmas has become so rushed and commercialized that it barely resembles what it is meant to represent, and has lost some of its magic for me. My children are all grown up so Santa doesn't come to my house any more.
But Thanksgiving... it's the best!
Thanksgiving, to me, is truly family time... we eat a great meal, we watch some football, we take a nap, we visit with each other without any rush to be anywhere else but together, we play board games or if the weather is nice, maybe a walk in the woods to walk off some of that big meal. We eat leftovers.
Before we have grace and eat our meal, like many other families, we go around the table and each person names the things they're thankful for. Most years we say the same things... and that means a lot to me... continuity, family, time together.
The one and only year since I was 18 that I didn't cook Thanksgiving dinner was in 2000 when my daughter Hannah danced in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City! We ate that year at my sister's in New Jersey on Wednesday before the big parade day... and the whole family drove to NYC the next morning to watch the parade... it was the coldest I remember ever being, but so much fun!
My Mama used to say Thanksgiving was her favorite holiday, and as a child I couldn't see how she could prefer it over the magic and excitement of Christmas... now I see exactly what she meant.
Thanksgiving hasn't been so commercialized... as a matter of fact, the TV commercials and stores seem to jump straight from Halloween to Christmas with barely a mention of Thanksgiving... maybe that's why I love it so much!
Once again, my family is coming to my house for Thanksgiving dinner... I will make a red velvet cake and roast a turkey. Kevin will bring pumpkin pie. My daughter Hannah and her new husband Nick will come Wednesday night so she can get up and help me cook on Thursday morning (a new tradition that was born a few years ago)... My son Caleb and his wife Kaila will miss eating with us for the first time... they are serving as missionaries in Kansas City and will be unable to make it home.
We will stuff ourselves on turkey and dressing... we'll watch football and take a nap... we'll talk and laugh and be thankful for each other and for all our blessings...
Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday!
Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!