Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, but for me, it’s about more than the food. For me, Christmas sometimes has a frenzied pace with the buying and trying to visit a lot of friends and family in two days. Thanksgiving has always felt so much more laid back without any pressure, even though I always push myself to make something new and different to bring to the table. Added to the fact that the entire day is about taking time to enjoy and savor- food, family, gratitude, and hands down it becomes the best thing of the year.
The other reason I love Thanksgiving is the traditions. Something about this holiday more than others makes me feel so connected to my family and loved ones in ways that the others don’t even come close to. The making of the Portuguese stuffing is a long held day before Thanksgiving ritual which I’ve taken part in since I was in high school. Many years it has been just me grandmother and I doing it together, others my aunt from California will join us for three generations making our famous Costa recipe. This year it will be just my aunt and I making it together since my grandma has been under the weather, but the tradition still remains.
As I’ve gotten older, some traditions like going to the high school football game have been pushed aside and others have come into the fold ( my family- immediate & extended- always play some raucous games of Cranium after the dinner). When I was growing up my grandparents were in charge of the Thanksgiving feast, but many years ago, my mom took over the duties and I became her sous chef. In the years when I lived at home, we would wake up early to prep the turkey with the Macy’s Thanksgiving parade in the background. My dad would make cinnamon rolls. Even though I’ve since moved into my own house, I still go over in the morning in my pajamas to help get everything ready for the big meal. I can’t imagine not being there with them to help with all the preparations.
This year I began my own new tradition of trying to find ways to give back. A year ago my marriage had ended and I was living on my own in a house I was not sure I could afford with a meager budget. Had it not been for my amazing support network of family and friends who helped in all the ways possible, I very easily could have been a person who needed assistance from strangers. While I haven’t hit the lottery, my financial situation is much healthier this year and I am so incredibly thankful for that. It’s such a small thing to do to buy $30 more in groceries to make a Thanksgiving care package for a family so they have the kind of holiday I love and always had growing up.
Regardless of whether you have a big family shindig or something small, I wish you and yours a very Happy Thanksgiving filled with gratitude & love.