This is my favorite holiday. None of the stress of present-buying and all of the love of Christmas with better rules. Here are some to remember:
1) Family is number one: but more importantly, family is who you say it is. When Mitchell and I were first a couple we had several Thanksgiving celebrations where we included all the singles and folks "with no where to go" that we knew. It was great fun. A pot luck to bring everyone together and instructions to bring your favorite dish. Sometimes the menu was odd, but the family time always wonderful.
It's always great to be with one's birth family or one's family by marriage, but there are lots of other ways to slice and dice a family and the love is just as good.
2)Tradition is important: All thru college I traveled home with Elizabeth to her traditional Italian-American family. Mama Lee pulled me right into the heart of their celebration and taught me that one really must include pasta in the festivities. She knew I loved gnocchi, so she always made it by hand from potato flour for dinner on Wednesday night when we arrived, but there was always a real pasta for Thanksgiving dinner. I know that when Elizabeth and her sister and their families sit down to dinner today in Florida there will be red sauce on something, 'cause that's how we do it in our family.
3) Food is definitely important: Where would we be without green bean casserole? or sweet potatoes with marshmallows on top? But there are lots of other ways to go. During our vegetarian period, we had tofu. And, we have frequently substituted chicken, or smoked the turkey rather than baking it. Two years we had fried oysters as the main course, and tonight I'm thinking it might be prime rib. It's all about enjoying whatever is on the table.
3b) Overdoing on the cooking is not necessary: I think we all have a preconception of what should be served and tend to work ourselves to death to obtain it. I am looking forward to learning what my friend Marn has this year. She will attend a small gathering for which her granddaughter and her friend - aged 18-ish - will be the chefs. I suspect it will be great, and all the better for having been prepared by new cooks who are sprouting their wings.
4) Home is where the heart is: For many years now Mitchell and I have traveled away for Thanksgiving - just the two of us. We have dined in restaurants by ourselves, with friends, and once with a couple we met while waiting for our table. It was a lovely evening. They were about 20 years our senior and we enjoyed learning about their family and their tradition of travel - which was much like ours. As long as the two of us are together, it's home.
5) Don't worry about shopping until tomorrow!
Happy Thanksgiving! Hope you are at home with the family you love today. And thanks for being out there day after day to read the drivel on this blog. I am very thankful for you all!