Someone needs to stick up for Thanksgiving.
In “olden” days stores broke out the Christmas stuff the SECOND that Thanksgiving was over.
Then, somewhere along the way, they changed that to Thanksgiving day. The holiday that was supposed to be sacred for spending time with your family became just another shopping day. Which meant that all of America crowded into the stores salivating for Black Friday sales just a few hours after giving thanks for what they already had. Don’t even get me started on the irony. Next, the whole month of November became fair game, and you’d see turkey decor mixed in with pops of red and green on the shelves.
And this year, I saw Christmas stuff out with the Halloween decorations.
Thanksgiving is so much more than just a “holiday.” It’s more than just a mark on the calendar where you scribble notes like “Bring Sweet Potatoes AND Green Bean Casserole for 1 PM meal.” It’s more than just a break for your kids from school, during which you wonder seriously how many times you can watch the Lego movie and maintain some level of sanity.
Thanksgiving is comfort. It’s pure, unadulterated comfort, ushered into the presence of (hopefully) comforting family members, by a dizzying array of comfort foods, nearly all of which are solid carbs, which is why everyone passes out about 10 seconds after the meal is done, snoring contentedly in front of the football game.
The Thanksgiving meal does vary a little bit from region to region. Up North you have homemade yeast rolls, while down South you might have biscuits. In Pennsylvania we had sweet potatoes with marshmallows, while down South they had brown sugar and pecans. Macaroni and Cheese, cornbread vs. bread stuffing. Turkey roasted or deep fried? The menus vary, but the comfort does not.
It’s interesting how you can tell something is comfort food, even if you’ve never tasted it before. Why is it that Grandma’s stuffing always tastes better than yours, even when you follow the recipe exactly? Why does everyone HAVE to have Aunt Betsy’s green bean casserole, or Uncle Harold’s cranberry relish, or Mom’s famous yeast rolls?
It’s because the food brings us together. It comforts us, from the first moment the aromas reach our nose as we enter the house and embrace our loved ones. It brings that solid kind of safety when our kids race excitedly into the chaos to play with cousins, neighbors, aunts, uncles, and friends. It’s not always quiet. It’s not even always pleasant (“Oh my goodness what do you mean no one remembered to grab the cranberry sauce?”). But it’s a special kind of settled comfort– the kind that reaches deep down into your bones.
Comfort knows no age– no distance. Whether your Thanksgiving meal is at Grandma’s house with all the homemade trimmings, or consists of a catered meal for 2 from Cracker Barrel, you can still sit there and savor those holiday flavors. You can still have good food, no matter what the menu is, and enjoy it with 1, or 31 people you love.
I once heard a sweet little prayer that said, “God bless the food before us, the friends beside us, and the love between us.”
Faith, friends, family. The stability of thankfulness that breeds contentment and deep-seated, joyful comfort.
That’s something to be thankful for all year round.
You did it. And I’m just so proud of you.
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