Saturday, November 19, 2011

Season of Frenzy - Thanksgiving Edition

Holidays. They are SO here!

Thanksgiving is a favorite. It doesn't matter what you believe or if you have a gift budget. It's all about food, family, friends and gratitude.

This year, we're having Thanksgiving dinner with friends who kindly told me to bring nothing but the wine. Usually, this would be my day of making pumpkin trifle and stuffing. Rick would handle the turkey. I'd use the turkey dishes that were my mom's. I love it.

I am so glad I don't have to do that this year.

That said, I'm still thinking of some of my favorite holiday prep tips and I thought I'd share them with you.


Thanksgiving decorating is the easiest of all the seasons. No egg dye. No special lighting. Just look around.

Pumpkins, gourds and Indian corn are still readily available in the stores -- or perhaps in your garden.

Your environment is begging you to think creatively!

My friend Barb did a masterful tablescape last year for a seasonal gathering.

She used pumpkins, the last of her garden flowers, candles.

The oranges and purples were a perfect combination for a festive evening.

Barb also made a nice piece for her window but it would also work for a buffet -- tall grasses from the yard, plus a few gourds in a long basket.

(These look incredibly easy. It would be useful to mention that in her previous lifetime a number of years ago, she was a floral designer and is a wonderful gardener!)

My friend Judy often hosts a Thanksgiving-Eve dinner. She has such an eye for using what she has to the best effect.

A stone angel nested in moss, a pumpkin with straw -- it's simple and lovely.

The year Rick had his bike crash shortly before Thanksgiving was perhaps my most memorable. Not knowing if he'd be up to a big deal (and the boys were with their mom), I had ingredients for stuffing, veggies, a turkey breast. Things I'd already purchased.

That morning when we woke up, both of us were feeling pretty good. We decided to call two couples we knew, wonderful and supportive friends who also didn't have concrete plans for dinner. They knew what we were up against, so their expectations for my "Martha" mode were low.

I had a wonderful gourd I'd bought at a greens market the week before, some raffia, and a basket.

I tossed them together till they looked right, set the table with mom's dishes and crystal, added some votive candles, and it looked just fine! No stress.

I will never forget the love and emotion that day as we gathered at my table and gave thanks that Rick didn't suffer greater injuries in his accident. And truth be told, we all had many things that year for which to give thanks.

The point is, whether you are stacking up the squash for next week's roasting or pulling some interesting branches from the yard, or even cutting off the heads of your end-of-season seedum plant, you probably have a centerpiece without planning! If you're crafty and have feathers in your stash, a vase you can fill with nuts or some leftover sheet moss, bonus points! You're good to go!

The point isn't the decorating. It isn't even the food. It's the joy of being with family and friends. It's the giving thanks and the giving back.

Five Ways You Can Give Thanks by Giving to Others.
  • Make a donation to a food bank -- either with packaged or canned foods or a financial donations. Some states (Michigan is one) offer a tax credit for donations to food banks. (This is the last year for Michigan's credit, so there's no better time to do it if you're in this state!)
  • Invite a foreign student or someone without family or connections to join you for dinner.
  • Give the person behind you in the grocery line an extra five in your purse -- or slip it to the cashier and ask to have that go toward the next person in line.
  • Remember to give thanks to those far away -- a card or a call just to remind them you're grateful they are part of your life will really make their day.
  • If you're baking, take cookies, a pie or a loaf of bread to a neighbor who may have helped you out when you least expected it. You're already baking -- what's hard about a double batch?! Or give them some flowers or something for their table. Even grocery stores are getting nicer flowers these days! Pass a small bouquet along.
However you choose to celebrate, and with whomever you are spending time this week, I wish you Happy Thanksgiving. I know I give thanks for you each and every day of the year.


Joanne Huffman said...

Have a wonderful and low stress Thanksgiving!

Blissed-Out Grandma said...

Thanks for putting me into the mood for Thanksgiving, and for giving thanks. Have a wonderful holiday.

Jeanie said...

I will be using leaves and berries from a bush outside the front door along with a candle....small and simple.
I hope you have a wonderful, stress free Thanksgiving.

Annie said...

I always look forward to Thanksgiving. Then I exhaust myself. Much as I'd like to just eat out, I know we would all be disappointed. The last time we ate out the yams turned into candied carrots. Carrots!!??

Thursday will be at our house again. I feel like a grand dame once a year. Home is the only place to be.

Happy Thanksgiving, Jeanie.

ds said...

Happy Thanksgiving, Jeanie!

Janet said...

Just me and HB this year so it will be simple and easy. Enjoy your Thanksgiving!

Jennifer Richardson said...

such a feast for the eyes!
enjoy bringing the wine
and thank you for this magic carpet
ride through the beautiful
bounty of this season.
Purple and pumpkin...magnificent.
love and Autumn joy to you,

Barb said...

Happy Thanksgiving to you and Rick, Jeanie. We're in the city, and Bob actually rode bike yesterday (too cold today). We'll be celebrating T-giving with family - I'll take a few dishes but the big prep falls to my son and d-i-l. Love your pics - they've put me in the mood!

anno said...

The table at your house always looks so festive -- thanks for these lovely ideas! Here's to a low-stress Thanksgiving... the kind we'll all be thankful for!

Retired English Teacher said...

This was a great post. i loved your ideas. I actually cleaned house yesterday and decorated up a bit for Thanksgiving. We are going to Utah to be with my daughter Keicha and son Ryan. I dread the trip, but love the outcome.

Happy Thanksgiving.

~*~Patty S said...

Lovely thoughtful post as always dear Jeanie

We will be heading for the hills like we used to when our boys were young...staying in a little cabin on Skyline Drive VA

Wishing you and yours a very happy thanksgiving

Ruth said...

These are beautiful tips for a time with family and friends that should be about being together, not stressing over anything. For this reason we are staying put this year, just the six of us.

Happy Thanksgiving to you, and knowing you, the day will be very special, just having you and Rick there, with your kind and generous spirits.

shoreacres said...

What wonderful memories from your past Thanksgivings, and your ideas for making this one even more special and stress-free are marvelous.

Happy Thanksgiving to you! I know it will be wonderful!

Tracy said...

Oh, this is lovely, Jeanie! And I love your ideas for celebrating, decorating and giving! Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday too. Sometimes I don't always get home for this holiday, as we swap Christmas and Thanksgiving some years, as Thanksgiving is not a holiday here in Norway, of course. But I take it wherever I go. And we'll have pumpkin pie this weekend at least. ;o) Thankful to have "met" you this year, Jeanie. Wishing you & yours a very happy & blessed Thanksgiving ((HUGS))

Dr. Kathy McCoy said...

I love your suggestions for a more giving, meaningful Thanksgiving, Jeanie! And your pictures are so wonderful! I hope you have an absolutely lovely Thanksgiving!

Lisa from Lisa's Yarns said...

You have such a knack for decorating! I really don't, and I am not just being modest - it is honestly not something I am good at. People probably see my home in most seasons and think it is 'bare'. ;) Except Christmas. I do decorate for Christmas! I will be putting up my tree this weekend and can't wait to deck my new condo with Christmas decorations! A good friends sent me an Eiffel Tower tree topper!! So my mission is to start collecting Paris Christmas ornaments so that eventually I can have a Paris-themed tree!

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!! :)

Arti said...

Marvellous seasonal photos, Jeanie. And very helpful hints for how to be thankful... simply by giving. You've reminded us that It's more blessed to give than to receive. May I take the opportunity here to wish you and yours a very happy Thanksgiving and all the best in your prep. for the coming Season!

Marilyn said...

Enjoy your low key day tomorrow. I just took some small vases and added the final dahlias from the garden in some and short candles with popcorn tucked around them to hold them up. Very simple. Really don't need much on the table, as the food takes up the space. Love your tips and sometimes just a bottle of wine is enough. I am hoping someone just brings grocery store flowers. Happy Thanksgiving!

Bella Rum said...

All great suggestions.

Just stopped by to wish you a wonderful Thanksgiving. Hope it's safe and delicious. That's a good combination, right? Enjoy!

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