There is a general feeling of celebration that hits our house around the week of Halloween. After we gorge on candy and put away the costumes, we start to get excited about Thanksgiving.
I don’t know about you, but nothing quite feels like pure fall and comfort bliss to me than Thanksgiving. In our home, we center the holiday around gratitude and love, listening to crazy relatives spout off about politics, and wondering if this is the year you literally go into a turkey coma at the table. Oh, and pie. Lots of pies. Can’t forget the pie.
After the family, food, and pie, these are the other things I revel in this time of year:
1. Planning the Menu
My mouth just starts watering when I scroll through Pinterest or the glossy pages of magazines with full-page spreads of straight-up food porn. Roasted carrots with rosemary and honey, pies with leaf-shaped crusts, apple walnut sausage stuffing… Mmm-mmm! Just the planning stages of Thanksgiving make my heart sing like The Sound of Music.
2. The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade
Even as an adult, there is still something magical and exciting about watching those behemoth balloons float down the street. My kids each have a favorite character that they lose their little minds over when they spot them in the crowded street, but my heart holds out for Snoopy.
There is nothing better than lounging with the kids, while still in pajamas and stuffing our faces with breakfast pie while we wait for the marching bands and cartoon favorites to appear.
3. Day Drinking (Just Humor Me Here)
My mother did it and her mother before her. And now, I do it too. There is a lovely tradition of sipping small juice glasses of sparkling cider or wine throughout the day while humming songs and basting that bird.
4. Spending the Day Before Baking Delicious Treats
Not only is this is a time-saver, but for many, it is a tradition. Spending the day before Thanksgiving baking all the pies and breads fills the house with amazing smells and gets everyone excited about the big dinner, even if your dreaded cousins are coming over. (Day drinking also comes in handy with those appearances.)
5. The DIY Crafts With the Kids
Yes, I just said that! Sure, it’s a bit cheesy, but damned if making paper pumpkins and five-finger turkeys from a handprint don’t make your heart smile. At our house, we keep a small table in the corner of the living room where the kids can make a mess of construction paper and pipe cleaners while the grown-ups putter around the house waiting for the big meal.
6. Setting Alarm Clocks to Get the Bird Ready
Is this one just me? Getting up early, like before the sun and wild animals early, feels like a special mission: to get that bird prepped and ready to roast. Personally, I love the quiet time when I get to nurse a cup of coffee and be alone in the kitchen before the chaos of family interrupts the peace.
7. Going to the In-Laws’ for the REAL Dinner
You know what is totally crazy? At our house, we make a full spread of Thanksgiving dinner just so that we get leftovers, because we end up heading to my in-laws’ every single year. The best part? I don’t have to stress about hosting. I can sit back and play with my kids, enjoy a glass of wine, eat a million appetizers, and then plow through the biggest meal of the year. And when we get home, there are leftovers for snacking and next week’s lunches.
8. Watching My Family Plan Black Friday
For years, I did not understand how we could spend the day being grateful for stuff, and then make plans to go out into the world at midnight to fight strangers over a 45% coupon for a duvet. And yet here we are. I still don’t do Black Friday, but I have to admit, there is something entertaining and fun about listening to my family map out their paths to a dozen different stores while cutting out coupons from sales flyers. Even the teenagers get into it now. I prefer sleeping.
9. Stretchy Pants in All Forms Are Totally Okay
This is one holiday when being pregnant is not mandatory for wearing maternity pants. You do what you gotta do to make sure you’re in fighting shape to handle that plate of food, man. Fat pants, sweatpants, yoga pants, maternity pants — call them what you will, but they must stretch.
10. Feeling Just *THIS MUCH* Closer to Christmas
When that meal is finally over and everyone pitches in to help clear the plates (yes, everyone!), there is a wonderful realization that we are now just a few short weeks away from the most magical holiday of all.
Thanksgiving helps us say goodbye to fall and hello to winter holidays, and it fills our hearts with love (even for the dreaded cousins), while stretching our pants to the max.
Also, leftover pie.