Thanksgiving is one of my favorite Holidays. When Vicki and I first met, we'd have Thanksgiving at our house for friends in town who didn't have anywhere to go for Thanksgiving. At first we only had the kids every other year, and it was during their dad's primary custody period so he could pretty much make the rules any year.
However, since the kids have been grown it's been much different, and they have been over every Thanksgiving (except for Kevin when he lived in Michigan and was married to the UBfH) since. Their dad did have somewhere else to go this year, but the previous 4 or 5 years, we even had him over for dinner.
Now we don't cook full meals from scratch very often anymore. Once, maybe twice a week, and then we feed on leftovers the rest of the time. There's a lot of frozen and instant supplements as well.
However, Thanksgiving is different. It's about making everything right, and from the base ingredients. It's the day I celebrate Family, Friends, Food and the means to get it, and our ability to make it. It's almost fun -- it's an art in this day and age of pre-cooked turkey breasts and boxed stuffing, canned cranberry gel and frozen pie. I even make bread.
Now we have compromised a few things -- for instance, the pre-made-and-rolled-out Pilsbury pie crusts... but the filling is home made. Sure, you can make better pie crust, but not much better and with all of the other cooking that day, I consider it a fair compromise. And I do use the bread maker to mix and rise the dough, but then I transfer it to muffin pans or loaf pans for the final rise and baking.
I like to have acoustic background music heavily mixed to the instrumental folk side. Just loud enough so you know its there, but not loud enough to creep into conversation. Larry Pattis, Jerry Douglas, William Ackerman, Philip Aaberg, George Winston, Liz Story and the like -- hand selected stuff so that it's not comatose, but not too over-the-top lively either. I'm going for an autumnal harvest feel. Reflective. Introspective. Cozy. Then later on I try to mix in a little innocuous Christmas music that fits in with that feel
We also always hope for a cold Thanksgiving, because we like to have a fire in the fireplace. This Thanksgiving was perfect. We had a snowstorm the day before (and the leaves were still in full color on the trees in our neighborhood: http://www.missouri.edu/~leithp/fallstorm). It never got out of the 30's outside on Thanksgiving day, and we had a nice fire going all day.
It really was a great Thanksgiving. We had gone and picked Mom up from Fort Wayne the previous weekend and brought her back. Kevin and Brian were both there. Rob & Kathy and Daryl & Deb & Courtney came by for drinks, snacks, and afternoon chit-chat before they went to their Thanksgiving Dinner appointments. Sam & Connie came over for dinner.
The bad part... I was too full for the pies Vicki had made -- and I consider it a sin not to have pumpkin pie (and real whipped cream, no Cool Whip) on Thanksgiving.
So, to keep from going to Holiday Hell, I had a bite before I went to bed :-)