This I Believe

Karen - Baltimore, Maryland
Entered on February 3, 2007
Age Group: 50 - 65
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This I Believe

I believe in going all out for Thanksgiving. I believe that Thanksgiving is the best American holiday and celebration. A lot of people think Christmas is the greatest holiday. Not me. Thanksgiving is unencumbered by the high expectations, expense and inevitable dissappointment of gift giving. Thanksgiving is simple — comfort food, family, maybe friends, the background sound of a football game on television, steamed up windows and a welcoming table.

The table and seating are very important. I start thinking about it in October. It has to be special and comfortable for everyone. I don’t believe in a “kids’ table.” We usually need more than one table, but the second or third table must be just as special and comfortable as the “big” table.

You don’t have to have a lot of money or room to make Thanksgiving memorable. You just need to believe that it is important enough to spend some time thinking about in advance. Some of my prettiest dishes and best table linens came from thrift stores purchased over the years.

We never limit the number of guests. Family members know that they can invite anyone who may want (or need) to share Thanksgiving dinner with us. We have an open invitation and are always grateful for new family members and friends.

I don’t wait for guests to ask what they can bring. I send out a list in advance assigning various dishes to each person according to their special talents and interests. And in recent years, the men are assigned to do the dishes. I provide the aprons (more thrift store items). One of the best ideas of all!

Just before dinner, we gather around the table holding hands. Each person, in turn, offers a message of thanks. Individual messages range from the predictable to the silly to the heartfelt and tearful. Not everyone is particularly thrilled or comfortable with this part of the Thanksgiving celebration. But, I believe in it. So we do it and everyone participates.

I think they participate out of appreciation for the effort that I put into setting the table.

I believe in putting a little bit of the Thanksgiving effort into every special occasion including Sunday dinner. The good food, the special table, the welcoming spirit, the grateful heart are what it is all about. It doesn’t get any better than this.