Thursday, November 13, 2014

The Forgotten Holiday...

I am not that old.

Although my kids may disagree...

Even I can remember when Thanksgiving was a big deal. Anticipated by every child and grown-up. 

Thanksgiving Day was the first official day of the holiday season. Stores were closed. Businesses closed for family to be together. No one went anywhere other than their dinner destination. 

Now it seems to be the forgotten holiday.

 I remember looking forward to the assortment of friends and family  arriving. Pies, cranberry orange relish( a family recipe) and the GINORMOUS turkey laid out on our pool table turned buffet. It was a special all day event.

Thanksgiving 1976

We woke early to watch the Macy's Thanksgiving day parade. Eagerly seeking the arrival of Santa and his sleigh bringing the parade to a close.

via: Maceys,com


Dinner was the main event followed by games of tag and hide and go seek for we cousins and friends. The grown ups would stay inside and visit. Sometimes Grammie and the Aunts would play a game or two of canasta. Stories of ancestors and thoughts of gratitude were shared. It was a time for family. A time for togetherness, patriotism and reminiscing.

Later in the day, the BIG  newspaper would arrive filled with ads and toy catalogs from what seemed to be every store. My sister, brother and I would sprawl out on the floor, pen in hand, to circle all the amazing offerings we wanted Santa to bring a month later.

Once our minds had been filled with gratitude, anticipation and sweet dreams, our bodies would succumb to the turkey,  trimmings, and our second helping of pie. We would head off to bed looking forward to the second day of the magical holiday season.

The day after Thanksgiving was much anticipated too. We knew mom would take us shopping with her into downtown Sacramento. Somehow all the stores, lampposts and mall centers had been magically transformed with holiday décor and lights.

A visit to Santa was the order of the day for us children. Often we would carry with us those treasured Thanksgiving day ads to share with the jolly elf exactly what we were dreaming of.

Christmas 1970
When our long day of trudging through stores had come to an end; When we had conquered the line to speak with Santa, we returned home.

One of the very best parts of our Thanksgiving holiday actually happened the day after. Mom would make turkey soup with the leftover turkey, veggies and stuffing. She added savory rice to thicken the mix. Upon our arrival home  from our foray into the land of holiday and lights, a delicious bowl of turkey soup awaited.

The last and possibly most exciting day of our Thanksgiving weekend brought the transformation of our own home. Dad would pull out the boxes of decorations from the attic. Then mom and us three kids would set about transforming the house. Holly garlands as tie backs for all the curtains. Peek a boo Santa adorned the toilet seat. Our elves and sleighs rested on the ledge near the kitchen.

The piece de resistance... we brought home a living Christmas tree to fill the house with the fresh scent of Christmas. Treasured ornaments from years past were carefully hung on the limbs. There was no fancy tree skirt. Mom would pull a freshly washed white sheet from the linen closet and my sister and I would lay bellies down under the tree to spread our new fallen "snow".

Thanksgiving weekend was a time of love and magic. A time to be grateful for all the blessings we had received during the previous year. Thanksgiving weekend was a time to share with family and friends. Precious memories were made.

There was no rushing off to a sale or standing in line all night. Thanksgiving was OUR day.

Thanksgiving at Grandma's house

Thanksgiving 1999

My husband and I have tried to hold on to Thanksgiving. Our children look forward to many of the same magical traditions of gratitude and family.

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