“You know what you need to do this morning, right?” I asked my young daughter as we put the breakfast dishes in the dishwasher.
She nodded. “Make the place cards for lunch.”
I ruffled her hair. “It’s a tradition now, you know. And Nana loves your cards.”
“I know.” She skipped out of the room and down to the basement, where she dug through the craft supplies and pulled out white card stock, construction paper, and lots of little pieces of creative minutiae. I gathered scissors, markers, and a glue stick and met her in her room.
“Need anything else?” I asked.
“No. I’ve got it. Thanks, Mom.”
Whew. Relieved, I hurried downstairs. I had beans to make, potatoes to peel, and brownies to bake. By the time delicious aromas started filling the air, she came running into the kitchen with papers in both hands.
“Look, Mom! What do you think?” she asked, brandishing her creations.
Brightly-colored turkeys with googly-eyes made me grin. “Great job!” I said. “Nana will love them.”
Nana did love them. And because they were so labor-intensive, we decided to use them again the next year. And we’ve done so ever since.
Thanksgiving might just be my favorite holiday, and judging from Facebook and Instagram, many of you feel the same.
A few days ago, I conducted a highly unscientific, non-controlled survey on Facebook with this question, “What is your favorite Thanksgiving tradition?” Many of you responded with some great answers, mostly centering around two categories: food and family/friends.
Some people mentioned favorite foods that they serve on Thanksgiving: cinnamon rolls, sausage pinwheels, waldorf salad, a once-a-year Sarah Lee coffee cake. My friend Genny’s cousin, whose family has six kids, has a fun tradition: they make the Charlie Brown Thanksgiving meal for breakfast—buttered toast, jelly beans, pretzel sticks, and popcorn.
At our house, we have no jelly beans (as fun as that sounds) and no turkey on our table either. We are strictly ham people. But we do eat dressing and lots of it. (Who needs turkey for that?!) We also have mashed potatoes—my favorite vegetable of all time—with gravy. I also love the special baked beans and broccoli rice from my uncle’s church’s cookbook, and the sweet and sour combination of my sister’s cranberry-apple crisp. Several of us are addicted to Mom’s orange salad, also known around here as Turkish Delight (which is what the evil witch from Narnia used to ensnare people to do her bidding).
I confess I have eaten orange salad straight out of the refrigerator before.
This year we are having our family Thanksgiving lunch on Friday. We will have the old favorites, plus a new-to-me recipe: my mother-in-law’s Old-Fashioned Sugar Pie, which both my husband and his sister say is the ugliest pie you’ve ever seen but it’s so good you don’t care. I’ve had it before and they are right.
We will round out our menu with Double Delicious Cookie bars, which are topped with peanut butter and chocolate chips. Pinch me.
Some of my survey respondents love to watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade with their families. Several of them cook together, and others watch football. Barbara’s family reads a story called “On the Mayflower.” Wendy’s family plays games, and then, as soon as it gets dark, they light a bonfire and hang out around it.
As much as I love our yummy Thanksgiving food, the best part is sitting around our large rectangle dining table with family, hearing the latest news from each person, telling stories, and talking about the things we’re thankful for.
Many of you agree. Stacy said what she loves most of all is “giving thanks for all our blessings over the years.” And Karen said, “I love that it’s a time to consciously come together with those you love and acknowledge your blessings.”
Above all, I’m grateful that there’s someone to acknowledge our blessings to, someone to be grateful to. I’m thankful that a loving God exists and he gives good gifts to us, starting with his amazing grace through His Son, Jesus. One of my favorite Bible verses is this: “The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy” (Psalm 126:3).
Filled with joy, whether in good times or bad. On good days and hard days. Every day, but especially this one.
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! God bless you all.