Thanksgiving: The Start to the Most Wonderful Season

Last Sunday, I wrote what I felt was my best blog about one of my favorite holidays. Then, WHAM! After adding all the photos I went to upload it and suddenly, it was just a blank page. So, here we go again… and it’s a day late from its subject. However, because to me it is only the start of the season, still entirely appropriate.

Hard to believe it is Thanksgiving. The time we are to stop and celebrate and enjoy our blessings, showing gratitude for all we have. It’s also what I consider as Andy Williams sings, “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year.” What the holiday season means for me is so much more than just days off work or the traditional reasons for the days. It’s a time when loved ones gather near, despite all odds, in peace and in harmony.

Thanksgiving kicks off the season of celebration and love if you ask me. It’s almost a calm down and prep time just like the start of the cold weather and winter’s arrival. We join together with family and friends, our chosen family, and feast while recalling what we are blessed with. There is no war, no tension, no anger. Maybe we have some dysfunctional family moments ala “The Family Stone” (a favorite of mine for the season). Yet, in spite of it all, we come together and share fond memories with one another. We seek being close to each other.

Photo courtesy of Brent Touchstone, http://www.touchstonepixels.smugmug.com

In a time when our country and sometimes the world feels so divided, we put everything aside to still celebrate with our loved ones. As we traveled north on our weekend grocery run I marveled at hearing the stories of an older man at the register behind me, discussing he was from another state and excited to visit his son in his new college bound apartment for the son hosting the holiday. Car after car was on the highway, loaded down with luggage. I almost choke up, thinking how our entire nation feasts together. We set aside our differences, our political views, our differing lives and still come together in peace with goodwill in mind.

The natural story we usually hear and associate with Thanksgiving is how our pilgrims entered our lands and nearly starved to death that winter. Yet, the local Native American tribe assisted them and a feast was held. Even then, before we maybe later turned on one another, it was a time of peaceful celebration despite everything, to be thankful for the blessings present. Unfortunately, that truce may not have held, but it was a sign, a beacon of hope. In 1863, Abraham Lincoln looked upon our country’s wounds as we were embroiled in a bitter civil war. Family members torn apart by differing political views and sides. Things looked very grave for the nation. And, in the very middle of it, Lincoln declared Thanksgiving a national holiday. It would be a day for the cessation of fighting and battles, and a day that loved ones could peacefully join together once more to recall our blessings and our hopes. What a beautiful sentiment, very relevant to today.

Photo courtesy of Brent Touchstone, http://www.touchstonepixels.smugmug.com

For our Thanksgiving, Brent and I hosted our local loved ones and phoned our distant ones. I grew up in a house where the holidays were highly important. My grandfather would mash potatoes every year on the day of. It was so heartwarming seeing the man I love so much, my husband who never met my beloved grandfather, making mashed potatoes, so proud of the tradition of the day he also possessed in his home. In a way, holidays are so univeral! Despite how different and unique we each are, we still share the same beliefs and traditions. It’s amazing! I also tried out a couple of new recipes for stuffing and also a sweet potato butter to use as a garnish on the turkey or rolls or just on its own. Luckily, they appeared quite the success. My husband smoked two turkey breasts he seasoned with one in the cajun style and one in a traditional rosemary style. He also made mashed potatoes and green bean casserole (all staying mindful of my new dietary needs), and my mother made a pumpkin cheesecake pie. We went out and shot my bow and arrow together with a dear family friend and my aunt also joining us. It was a blast and such a reminder of how truly grateful I am in my life.

Which brings me to another point, Thanksgiving is the perfect way to put us into that great frame of mind. When we know what we hold dear and are eternally thankful for, it makes us appreciate the next few weeks before Christimas more. It puts us in the giving mood, wanting to show our love and appreciation for those we care for. We once more gather close to our loved ones. This year we’ll be celebrating with the in-laws and I’m very much looking forward to it. We’ll still celebrate with my family as well. I just love the warmth, the excitement, the love so present at the holidays. Christmas is indeed my favorite of days, but Thanksgiving follows closely behind it. For me, preparing a meal and feasting with our loved ones is sometimes giving from the heart so much. 
I usually put up my Christmas decor the very next day, recalling the loved ones we’ve lost before with each ornament and carol I hear in the process. To me, it just extends the recollection of the blessings we have. I can get a bit emotional during this time of year, but it’s with such warm and fuzzies, so touched at how everyone peacefully forfiets their differences and makes peace.

Also, I want to say I’m thankful for you: my readers and followers. Whatever your situation and whatever your beliefs, please know I wish you the warmest, safest, and happiest of the season. And for your day after the great gobble gobble as you may be browsing Black Friday or Cyber Monday deals, please remember that. Thank you and 

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