Sunday, December 01, 2013

New traditions

Happy (belated) Thanksgiving!

Hope you had a wonderful holiday on Thursday!  Even though the photo above is a little blurry and less than ideal, I had to share a few thoughts on our Thanksgiving dinner.  I realized that John and I are working on developing new holiday traditions this year, as we just celebrated our second full year together as a couple, (although we won't celebrate our one-year wedding anniversary until February.)

Know what I've realized about holiday traditions?  It's not important that they are perfect, it's not important that anybody else understands them . . . it's important that they are ours.  (Or in your case, yours!)  Take Thanksgiving, for example -- as a vegetarian, I've enjoyed time spent on the holiday with family or friends over the years, which has been delightful but exhausting, given the numbers of people and travel time involved, and also choked down a number of Thanksgiving dinners consisting solely of green beans, plain mashed potatoes, and buttered rolls.

What is Thanksgiving without turkey?  Well, this year, we enjoyed nut loaf, steamed green beans, caramelized onion stuffing, mushroom gravy, scalloped potatoes, creamy corn pudding, spiced sweet potatoes, apple pie, and pumpkin pie.  And Thanksgiving day was low-stress for me, since I made all of the side dishes (except for the beans) AND the nut loaf in advance, and froze everything.  All I did the day of was make pies, steam the beans, whip together a gravy, and bake everything off!  I skipped the cranberry sauce this year, as we always have WAY too much leftover, and I end up throwing it away a few weeks later.  Know what?  Didn't even miss it.  (We enjoyed sparkling water with a splash of cranberry juice instead!)  I also skipped mashed potatoes this year, in favor of scalloped potatoes.  I LOVE this new twist, (both more delicious, in my opinion, and easier to make ahead,) and John still gets to drown his nut loaf and stuffing in gravy.  :)

What is Thanksgiving without a table full of crowded relatives?  As an introvert, I have a much easier time counting my blessings at a quieter gathering at my own table.  Last couple of years, it's been just John and I.  And that's ok -- the holidays are busy, and we relish that day of quiet and rest.  This year, other than my small amount of kitchen prep, we did no work, save for a few dishes at the end of our meal.  We read, we watched movies, and we went for a walk.  I love our "calm before the storm" day, kicking off the busy and intense holiday season!

So, tell me -- what are your holiday traditions?  What are the unique things your family does to celebrate the holidays that you look forward to every year?


Carrie™ said...

Wonderful! We have our Thanksgiving in October and I think it gives the illusion of not being so much pressure because Christmas is still 2 and a half months away at that point. But it still is A LOT of work. After numerous disastrous attempts at trying to get everyone together for dinner - and it's worse when others offer to help. Really it is! - I refuse to do it anymore. I much prefer, like you, a low pressure, special meal. Everything looks and sounds delicious!

Carrie™ said...

BTW, you can freeze cranberry sauce. I make a half batch and portion the extra in small plastic containers. It freezes great with no weird consistency changes. It's a nice treat on a "meatloaf" or even breaded tofu.