Saturday, November 15, 2014


My mother's favorite holiday was Thanksgiving. Every year she cooked an enormous turkey with amazing gravy, stuffing and homemade rolls. The side dishes were always the same... candied yams with marshmallows stuffed into hollowed out orange halves, parsnips with bacon, mountains of mashed potatoes and pumpkin chiffon pie. 

I didn't know for twenty years that regular pumpkin pie is dense and not very high. 

After we all left home it was almost a command performance that we gather for Thanksgiving. There was lots of traveling, lots of excitement and when the grandchildren came along Grandma had to turn her living room into an extension of the dining area.

 image from pinterest
Since our homes were far flung it was really not practical to return for Christmas so... one year, a long, long time ago, we decided to celebrate Christmas as a family the day after Thanksgiving. 

In those days no one, not even the retailers would dare to put anything Christmas on their shelves until after "turkey day" Even if they had, there was no such thing as a fake Christmas tree and it was next to impossible to find a real one. 

We finally located a tree farm that would allow us to come early. They thought we were crazy!

After the dishes were done and the mess was cleared away, we set about to decorate the tree and arrange all the gifts.  It was the strangest experience... it felt exactly like Christmas Eve.  It turned out to be so magical that we continued that tradition for about five years, celebrating together on that day and then returning to our homes for our own private family Christmases. 

Finally it all got to be too much and we had to give it up, but not before my brother coined a wonderful new term.  He called our celebration... "THANKS-MAS" and it stuck.

Christmas stockings from Pottery Barn Kids

I would never dream of skipping Thanksgiving, but for me it is inseparable from Christmas. Its just one long holiday. And when I begin to decorate even before the guest list has been finalized and the turkey purchased I know there will be comments.  Its OK, it  brings back such happy memories and I just smile and say...