Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Thanksgiving: The Understated Holiday

Too cute! Rubber duckies for Thanksgiving!
If it wasn't for the food, Thanksgiving would kind of be a sad holiday. Surrounded on both sides by the more glitzy Halloween and Christmas, it stands alone as a sort of quiet day to get together with family and friends and basically eat.

When we were little, the Macy's parade on TV was the highlight of Thanksgiving Day. To get a preview of the Radio City Rockettes and Santa before we actually saw them in person was thrilling for me and my siblings. Miracle on 34th Street was always on on Thanksgiving and of course the football games. My mother in the kitchen basting the turkey, lots of mashed potatoes and gravy, pies and maybe a 'Shirley Temple' made by my father if he wasn't working that day are all childhood memories. We were always 'dressed' for the holiday even if we were just having my grandmother over. Christmas decorations didn't dare appear until the turkey was being served as leftovers.  That was then.

Let me describe more recent Thanksgivings. My children were never into the Macy'sparade. If they were even awake, I'd stand by the TV in anticipation of Santa, trying to gin up some feverish excitement and usually I'd just get the 'look.' They liked Miracle on 34th Street but once it came out on DVD watching it on Thanksgiving became less of a tradition. Football? Ugh!! 

Wilton cookie cutters for fall. 
Truthfully, I've made very few Thanksgiving dinners in my married life, My husband's parents had a beautiful home in the Poconos and more often than not we went there for the weekend. With their passing, my sister-in-law in Delaware has inherited the holiday and my married children spend it with their in-laws.

One year we had a major crisis that involved my youngest daughter. She and her friends are totally into the 'Black Friday' thing. Getting up at 3 am to stand outside Target had become her tradition and reason not to accompany us to Delaware for the day. This particular year, we accidentally let our subscription to our local paper expire. We received a frantic phone call (damn the cell phone!) during dinner: there were no circulars, no coupons, no information about early bird specials! Emergency phone calls were made and we found a friend who hadn't thrown out the paper with the giblets and was willing to part with the circulars. The times, they were a changin'.

Now with grandchildren, I was trying to find something symbolic of Thanksgiving appropriate for their age. I located Wilton cookie cutters in the shapes of leaves and an acorn and I made a couple of dozen cut-out cookies decorated with royal frosting. Who doesn't love a cookie? On a recent trip out to Greenport, Long Island, I discovered tiny rubber duckies in Thanksgiving dress. A perfect gift for new grandchildren of some friends. A few neighbors actually put out those inflatable turkeys. But really, Thanksgiving is quiet and dull and maybe it should be. After all, the Christmas music is already playing, the stores have been decorated for weeks and a new batch of shopping circulars are being stuffed into newspapers as we speak. 

Enjoy the holiday, eat, take a walk and revel in the quietness. It won't last long. 

1 comment:

  1. Mom, you're holiday traditions had more effect than you think! I spent this past thanksgiving morning watching the Macy day parade with Patrick and James, psyching them up for their favorite characters (Mickey and buzz!) and waiting for the arrival of Santa at the end of the parade where, of course I got all choked up watching their excitement - they loved it and made us rewind their favorite characters over and over again! Your tradition lives on! (probably until the teenage years hit!) love you!