In my family, Thanksgiving has never been about the presentation as much as it is about the food and being together and more food.
I’ve always had visions in my mind of the perfect Thanksgiving like you see in the movies.
The table has a beautiful fall centerpiece. Each place is set with chargers and plates and place cards and fancy cloth napkins. Or, like this picture, miniature pumpkins hollowed out and filled with baby mums. That’s a reasonable thing to expect, isn’t it?
The sound of the Macy’s day parade fills the background as Martha (in my vision, Martha Stewart has created this amazing environment because normal people can’t really pull all that off) is preparing the turkey to go in the oven for hours, or days, or…I really don’t know how long a turkey cooks. My mom saves oven space, and likely her sanity, by cooking the turkey the day before. She pre-slices it and then just reheats and serves for the big meal. But in my vision, we all sit down to the table where a giant, whole turkey, beautiful and golden brown, sits waiting for the carving knife.
A quick check of Martha’s website tells me that even she can’t pull it off. The Thanksgiving section was seriously lacking in decor/table setting suggestions. She does have the perfectly roasted turkey thing down though. I will send her a message and suggest that she look into decorating for this upcoming holiday. Maybe she hasn’t thought of that yet.
Back to my day – everybody takes their turn to voice the thing they are most thankful for, and then dad stands up and carves the turkey in perfect slices as the plates are passed from hand to hand down the line.
What a beautiful day that would be.
This is how Thanksgiving really happens. We all filter in throughout the morning and immediately try to take possession of the remote. We get a little passive aggressive about what we watch. I put it on the parade, and as soon as I leave the room it gets switched to football or cartoons or anything else because my family is of the bah humbug variety.
While we are starting world war remote in the living room, mom is in the kitchen putting the final touches on the food. We do the big meal as lunch and it’s buffet style on the counter. If my brother goes through the line early, he is done with his first plate before I can ask him to pass the salt and pepper. We’ll all have a few bites down before somebody asks if we should maybe stop for a minute to pray.
Oh, yes, we all sheepishly agree as we take one more quick bite of mashed potatoes then put our forks down . Our Thanksgiving prayer is simple and succinct – Bless us, oh Lord, and these thy gifts, which we are about to receive, from thy bounty, through Christ, our Lord, Amen.
I could recite this prayer as soon as I could talk. To an outsider it might look like a game to see just how fast you can say it. I’ve never clocked it, but I’m guessing 5-10 seconds, tops. Approximately the same amount of time it takes my brother to eat an entire turkey.
We end the meal by serving the five, yes five, desserts prepared by my mom. The afternoon is spent watching football, napping, and eating more food. I would imagine this is a pretty standard lineup for most Americans.
In all honesty, I wouldn’t change a thing about it – it’s our tradition, and that’s what makes the holidays so special.
What are your family Thanksgiving traditions?
P.S. My fantasy Thanksgiving meal is by invitation only.
These beautiful invitations can be found as evites or real life pieces of paper with envelopes that require postage.