Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Thanksgiving: The Always Overshadowed Holiday

In recent years, Thanksgiving has become my favorite holiday. This is partly because we have started a new Thanksgiving tradition. As avid Hokie fans, during the years Virginia Tech plays University of Virginia, we stay home to host friends and family throughout the holiday weekend. On the years, VT play in C'ville, we travel to the beautiful Outer Banks for the week. Last year, we rented a wonderful home facing the sound. The sunsets were so amazing. So much so, my brother-in-law proposed to his fiance. This year the Hokies will be home in Blacksburg, so we will enjoy a traditional Thanksgiving Day dinner, the madness of black Friday shopping and the battle for the Commonwealth Cup on Saturday.

More than our new tradition, I have found that Thanksgiving is a relaxing holiday for me. There is no pressure about finding and buying the right gifts for others. The only pressure is to have a great meal and take a moment to reflect on what you are thankful for in life. In an effort to help us take that moment, I have also added a craft project for the kids and adults. This year we are turning a small terracotta pot in a turkey. Each feather must represent something we are thankful for this year. I’m not crafty, but admittedly, this is kinda fun. It seems I always have to start this craft project from scratch since the retail industry maintains only a small section of Thanksgiving related items, barely to be found between the massive Halloween and already present Christmas d├ęcor. This week, I’ve rummage around the stores trying to find anything Thanksgiving-ish to add to our table setting to no avail. If that wasn’t bad enough, the neighbors have already ripped harvest wreaths down to put up their Christmas decorations. We look like the Jehovah Witness house and it’s not even December yet! I have great memories of watching the Macy’s day parade with my grandmother anticipating the arrival of the real Santa Claus to START the holiday season. But, I kinda like the reduced societal pressure of Thanksgiving. The real showcase is the meal. As a child, I remember that in addition to Turkey, Thanksgiving dinner is the time mom served every great side dish all in one meal. And don’t get me started with the day after turkey sandwich with Duke’s mayonnaise! Its then you realize that that deli meat turkey just doesn’t cut it!

I can remember as a college student, we were always excited about the ‘turkey meal’ served in the dining hall, sure it wasn’t like home, but it was a nice warm-up event. I guess, you could say we paired ours with Natty Light. This year I am excited about serving Virginia wine with our meal. I'm sad to say we'll start with a California sparkling wine, but if I didn't already have this on hand, I would definitely serve a Virginia Sparkling Wine. For our white fans, we'll have Pollak 2009 Pinot Gris. Our red fans, King Family Vineyards Cabernet Franc 2009. I can't wait to open this one! Tonight while we cooked and prepped for tomorrow we enjoyed Willowcroft 2009 Chardonnay. Terrific. So even if the turkey flops, we'll still have great wine and maybe even a few natty lights on hand to enjoy.

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