Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Ladies and Gentlemen, start your engines!

In my family, Thanksgiving hasn't been a one day holiday in more years than anyone can remember. Over the past decade or so, our holiday has transformed into a 4 or 5 day marathon event! My parents are on their way even now to pick up my grandmother from Austin. My sister is taking off work early tomorrow to partake in the festivities. We're leaving at the crack of dawn to head to Waco so we don't miss a second. Oh Thanksgiving, how I've missed thee!

Wednesday is filled with pre-baking. Cornbread for the stuffing. Pies for the dessert. Boiled eggs for various snacking and recipe needs. Mashed potatoes for bread and potato pancakes. You know the drill...

Thursday is, of course, the big sha-bang. Dad puts the turkey in the oven around 3am while he's on his way to bed. (What a trooper dad is!) The rest of the day is filled with smells and sounds that make the heart soar with joy and happiness. We set up two tables in the living room and dining room, spread all of our tablecloths and finest china across them, and sit down to a bountiful harvest! While we sit, groaning, with our pants unbuttoned someone always pulls out a game. With the tryptophan flowing through our blood, we get goofy fast. It's such a delight. Somewhere in the madness we spread out the sales ads. They cover every flat surface we can find as we sort and plan and plot.

Friday is our newest tradition. We shop. We save. We seek out deals that make the head spin. We're not the freaks in the stores at 3am but we do shop nice and early to get the early bird deals. We started it the year my grandmother died and mom was at a loss about what to do. In her grief, she allowed me to call a few shots. (Don't ever let an 17 year old make decisions. It could change your family forever!) We were at Target at 6am that year. Then we saw the line that wound around the building, across the parking lot, and all the way to the highway. We've never done that again but we still shop each year and love the time together as we elbow our way through crowds. (Last year, Michael's opened on Thanksgiving at 9. We went for the Cricut fonts. At one point I was literally crawling on the floor, laying between some poor woman's ankles, and I grabbed the fonts that fell on my head. Yes, we're crazy. And I can't wait to do it again!)

Saturday we put up the tree. And the Santas. And the reindeer. And the Nativity scenes. Oh, how we decorate. We sing Christmas carols and laugh and giggle and remember Christmas' past. We eat Thanksgiving left overs and re-live the merriment of it all.

By Sunday, we're exhausted and ready for a vacation to recover from the events of the Thanksgiving break. It's wonderful! We love it! It is, by far, our favorite holiday.

So today I am going to clean. And pack. And gather all the dishes we need for the feast and carefully wrap them in newspaper. I need a nap, but I'm way too excited about what's to come.
Ladies and gentlemen - start your engines! And let the merriment begin! Turkey anyone?

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