Thanksgiving reflections

simple holiday place setting, rosemary napkin, ribbon-tied napkin, holiday china, thanksgiving place setting

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Ok so I’m a little delayed on my post-turkey post. But let’s get serious, if you’re anything like me you are just now starting to feel like a normal human again after a serious bout with tryptophan. Just me? Ok, then.

I love Thanksgiving. I would tell you it’s my favorite holiday but I say that every holiday and I don’t want to have a wolf cry moment. Plus, Christmas is just around the corner and that whole birth of Christ shebang is pretty cool.

Truth is my perception of Thanksgiving has shifted over the years. There was a time when I nearly cried because our attendance dropped to 5 people after years of record celebrations. I made so much of a fuss that my dad asked everyone from out-of-town family members to the mailman to join us so we could fill the quota. I feel badly about that. College will do that to a girl.

Don’t get me wrong, I still believe in ‘the more the merrier’ concept. In fact I love nothing more than a big family gathering, but I’ve also learned to appreciate quality over quantity when it comes to most things in my life, friendships, family gatherings and food included.

A few years ago, I might have scoffed at the idea of not spending the actual holiday with my immediate family. I’ll be the first to admit that when it comes to them I’m a bit holiday selfish.

Can I use holiday as a modifier? I should know this.

What I do know is there are millions of people who never get to celebrate with their family, those who don’t get enough to eat, let alone a meal big enough to keep them full until the next Wednesday. So in the spirit of being thankful, I’ve learned to not only accept, but to enjoy that I am being welcomed into another family’s home on Thanksgiving Day.

And because my family is only a 3 hour drive away, I’m thankful to share a bonus Thanksgiving dinner with them a few days later.

I wish I could take credit for some of the spread, but my mom is a Thanksgiving ninja. One minute you’re snapping green beans and the next they are prepared and ready to be placed on the already-adorned table. And it’s not just simple things like green beans, ninja Nana stealthily roasts a turkey, whips up two kinds of dressing, alternative sides and dessert without breaking a sweat.

Speaking of breaking a sweat, I did manage to make a simple place setting on Saturday for our family dinner.

simple holiday place setting, rosemary napkin, ribbon-tied napkin, holiday china, thanksgiving place setting

I had brought home some fresh rosemary to make a batch of sweet potato rosemary drop biscuits. I know they sound delicious, don’t they? I might just have to make a batch this weekend because we had more than enough food on Saturday. So instead of using the rosemary in the biscuits, I tied a sprig up with ribbon around mom’s fancy silver and placed it on her grandmother’s china that I hope someday is my china. No rush, mom.

Here’s all you need:

  • silver or normal silverware
  • linen napkins
  • ribbon or twine
  • fresh rosemary

This is a great way to ensure that your guests have the utensils they need but don’t waste extra ones when you serve buffet-style. Simply wrap the napkin around the silver and tie a small bow around a snipped piece of rosemary. I’m a big fan of using natural elements in place settings as little to nothing is wasted as a result.

So I made a few place settings and bought a turkey cake. Probably a big letdown for those of you expecting more from me this year, but with my mom making things like rainbow pumpkin muffins, how can you compete?

turkey cake, thanksgiving, swiss mountain dog, rainbow pumpkin muffins

I’m just kidding. She made the pumpkin muffins. The rainbows were just simple light refraction. I am still waiting for them to take off on Pinterest, though.

Speaking of light, each year I ask my nephews to tell us what they are thankful for at Thanksgiving dinner. Why you might ask? Because they are boys, ages 7 and 3 and you just never know what kind of answer you are going to get. We already knew what Jake was thankful for as my sister shared it on Facebook the week prior.


Yes hyenas. His selection confirmed again at dinner when he said that he chose them because they are cute.

If you say so, kid

I expected a similar answer from the older one, or at least something referencing his iPhone, Lego droids or the XBox. I think everyone in the room let out a breath when Owen raised his hand and said,

“I’m thankful for the sun that gives us light each and every day.”

Nothing like a 7 year-old to put you at a loss for words.

And nothing like his 3 year-old brother to follow it with a rousing rendition of gangnam style.

As we continue through the holiday season, I encourage you to be thankful for what you have and not to focus on what you want. And while it took a 7 year-old to remind me, after this weekend my heart is just about as full as my belly. I hope yours is, too.

Have a great week!

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