Thanksgiving   9 comments

Thanksgiving traditions – What are your traditions or what traditions would you like to begin. For those not in the US, how about writing about family traditions?

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Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. It’s really got to do with the colors – green and orange are my two favorite colors (followed closely by blue, but that’s another topic). It’s also an incredibly easy feast to cook. It’s my rehearsal for Christmas Eve when we have actual guests. More than anything is that I really like the moment to pause and consider gratitude as a concept.

Image result for image of a roast turkey in black enamel roasting panFirst, I begin decorating for Thanksgiving around the first of October when the trees here look pretty dead. I just begin to crave autumn colors, so we drape autumn “silk” leaf swags over the fireplace and swap out floral arrangements and blankets on the sofa. By Thanksgiving, I’ve usually gotten everything looking the way I want it.

An ongoing family tradition has been our gratitude list. I ask the family to consider what they are actually grateful for. When the kids were little, their answers were instructive to their parents. More than that, gratitude (thanksgiving) is an act of sacrifice that Christians lift to God. There have been years when we didn’t have much and we faced the prospect of the long Alaska winter with anxiety. In the act of thanksgiving, we found ourselves content with what little we had and the anxiety stepped back into the shadows. It sometimes seems paradoxical, but blessings flow from a spirit of thanksgiving rather than the other way around. If we wait for the blessings to occur before we give thanks, we often miss the blessings entirely. If we offer thanks in the midst of our need, later we look back and see what God provided after our act of worship.

But it is so hard to remember that at the time.

I keep it simple in terms of cooking. I know a lot of people don’t consider turkey to be simple, but that’s because they don’t know how to do it. If you want to know how to cook any food without a lot of fuss, ask a diner waitress. Oh, yeah … I was raised by a diner waitress.

We buy our turkeys frozen because we live a long way away from any turkey farms and turkeys really ought to be fresh. Frozen right after desanguination is a lot safer than refrigerated for a week before it gets to my grocery store, then for however long it lasts in the grocer bin and then for the day or two I have it at home. I NEVER buy a fresh turkey, though my husband’s employer gave us one once and we all agreed — the thawed frozen turkey smelled and tasted fresher than the “fresh” turkey did.

Image result for image of fall foliage indoorsI also never use a bird that is more than 16 pounds, although I prefer a 12-14 pounder. Smaller turkeys are more succulent and moist. Roast two if you’ve got a lot of people. I rinse the bird and I sprinkle kosher salt and a spice rub of paprika, curry power, cinnamon and chile powder on the skin. I put the bird on a cradle in a black enamel roasting pan and pour a cup of orange juice and water in the bottom. I put the lid on it and pop it in the oven. My cookbook (a 1950s Betty Crocker “bible”) says to roast the bird at 315 degrees for a half-hour per pound, but I’ve learned that having the lid on the roasting pan means the turkey cooks faster, so  I always take an hour off my total calculation.

I don’t lift the lid until then. This assures a moist bird. Usually, when I lift the lid, the bird is at temperature and golden breasted. And I’ve done almost nothing, which leaves me free to do other things … like, cook the sides or watch the Macey’s parade on television.

Another tradition is to put spiced cider (the non-alcoholic kind) in a big pot on the woodstove where it simmers slowly all Wednesday night through Thursday, scenting the house with a beautiful fragrance. We dip from it all Thursday. It’s a beverage and potpourrie in one.

Image result for image of an autumn garland on fireplace mantleIt’s not exactly a tradition, but it is standard operating practice around here to have our Christmas shopping down before Thanksgiving. It just makes things less stressful.

Another family tradition is watching “It’s A Wonderful Life”. Last year we didn’t and our 16 year old mentioned it at Christmas, so we had to watch it then. Yeah, we’re still on that gratitude theme.

Usually on the Friday after Thanksgiving, we decorate for Christmas rather than go combat shopping with the rest of the “Black Friday” crowds. This is made possible by the fact that I have finished my Christmas shopping already. Can you have a tradition that is an absence of an activity?

No fuss, no muss — get into the mood for Christmas.

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Posted November 21, 2016 by aurorawatcherak in Blog Hop

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9 responses to “Thanksgiving

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  1. Sounds like it would be a good idea for the UK to celebrate Thanksgiving too…

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    • There are very few countries that have an official day of thanksgiving and most Americans use ours to get fat, watch football and plan their shopping frenzy for the next day. It’s unfortunate that they don’t use the day to focus on actual gratitude. Our country would probably be much better off if they did.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I always thought it was a religious holiday, but now I see it’s for being grateful for what we have. Yes, we could definitely do with a day like that over here as well.

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      • Technically, it is a secular holiday here. It rose from a government order just like Veterans, Labor, Independence Day and Memorial Day. But unlike those others, it has become more than a day off work and that’s a good thing.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Sounds like some great traditions!

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  3. I’ve never done Black Friday, and have no desire to. But as I’ve said before, I’m not the target audience most advertisers look for, and I like it like that!

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  4. I think this sounds like tradition. You follow the same routine each year and your family misses it when you don’t, so, Tradition. I love traditions. If it weren’t for them, we would not have Thanksgiving and other holidays we enjoy. The pilgrims began celebrating their gratitude and if we had let that go and not followed it, we wouldn’t be celebrating it’s anniversary each year in remembrance or tradition or whatever you choose to call it. Your Thanksgiving sounds lovely.

    Liked by 1 person

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