We don't have family nearby, so we always host Thanksgiving for friends in the same boat. We've had as few as 5 at the table, as many as 12. This year, we anticipate 8-11. I love Thanksgiving--to me it's a day that transcends religion and politics--it is what it is, a day to formally stop and acknowledge the good things in life. Yes, we should do so everyday, but I do like that there's a formal 'stop, breathe, think' day for it.
I'll make the cranberry sauce the day before, and I often make gravy the day before and then we just reheat it. Tif and her sweety are bringing the pies, though I'll buy a gluten free one for me, and Brad and his partner are bringing a fruit tray. Jenn and her fiance will be bearing the gluten free bread, and anybody else that shows up can bring beverages and chocolate/nuts. We always provide the turkey, gravy, cranberry sauce and potatoes.
Like Anya, I get up and turn on the parade. But since we eat around 3:00, I get started on the turkey by 10 AM and try to have it into the oven by 10:30. This year, I'm working on a gluten free stuffing and it's going pretty good. Going to make one last batch this weekend with some tweaks, but so far, what I'm making tastes pretty damned good. I'll put the recipe on my personal Gluten Free blog when I am happy with it.
Anyway, since I don't stuff my turkeys, the dressing will go into the upper oven--I'll make this the day before and it can be ready to go in the oven.
This year, we have a small upper oven, and a bigger lower oven, thanks to being in our new home. And a kitchen that I can put a LOT more people to work in. With our house the past eleven years that we rented, it was hard to have one other person in there working. Now I can have plenty of minions.
We'll sit around, talk, watch the parades, munch, and then sit down to a lovely formal dinner at the table. We always have the tradition of holding hands before dinner and going around, talking about what we're grateful for.
And after dinner, after people have digested, our friends help us put up the Yule tree--we don't decorate Thanksgiving night, but we get the tree up and ready. (Two trees this year, the large on in the living room, a smaller one for the family room). And sometime on Thanksgiving, I watch the Winona Ryder version of Little Women, which for me is just the perfect Thanksgiving movie.
And this year, Samwise and I have much to be grateful for. Our kitties are healthy and happy. We have a new home. Samwise just got a new contract. My books are selling well. We're together--and still madly in love. Life, while never perfect, is good.
So what are your thanksgiving traditions? What do you do that's special for your family? For us, it's bringing together our family of choice. It's spending a day with people we love and choose to have in our lives, and re-affirming that friends are family too.