Thanksgiving leftovers

blogIMG_2157I know, I know.  Thanksgiving is over.  If you gauged it by Christmas decorations already jazzing up the scene everywhere you looked shortly after Halloween and stores accelerating the push into Christmas shopping, you would have thought we never celebrated a Thanksgiving holiday.

No, I’m not going to rant about the over commercialization of Christmas or the neglect and relegation of Thanksgiving into a blip in the road to Christmas craziness.  Instead, I’m hanging on to Thanksgiving for just a little longer.

A few years ago our home really became an empty nest as youngest son graduated from college, secured a job, and moved to the state next door.  Since then, I’ve found myself not wanting to let go of Thanksgiving. 

As soon as the turkey and fixings become refrigerator leftovers and the door closes after the last to leave the family gathering, I tend to wax a little melancholy.  Or as my friend described it so well, I might suffer from a little ‘post-party-um depression.’

And that’s odd.  Because we are a family of traditions.  And the tradition at our house is as soon as Thanksgiving is ushered out, we begin decorating for Christmas. 

When the kids were growing up and even into their college years, our family tradition was to launch out to a tree farm in search of the perfect for us evergreen tree, chop it down ourselves, and drag it home to decorate.  Son and Papa would climb up into the attic and hand down box after box of decorations and we gleefully adorned every nook and cranny of the house with Christmas glitter and glitz.

Yes, the weekend after Thanksgiving is time to haul out the holly at our house!  It’s when Christmas songs fill the air as Papa blasts them from the stereo.  It’s when red and white lights string their way merrily across the house, garage, and shrubbery.  It’s when garlands festoon the front porch, fireplace mantle, and staircase.   

It’s when wreaths appear on the windows and doors and candles illuminate the front windows.  It’s when the evergreen tree captures it glittery spot in the living room with multi-colored lights and ornaments treasured over the years for the memories they evoke.  It’s when the Christmas village nestles under the tree with its lighted houses and tiny yesteryear people.  It’s when the appetizing aroma of fresh baked cookies tickles your nose as you step into our home.

It’s tradition, I tell ya!  And yet, somehow as each year goes by, I break tradition.  First to go was the real honest-to-goodness pine needle shedding tree.  An artificial one usurped that freshly cut tradition.  Next the Christmas village didn’t find its way out of its storage box.  Cookie baking became minimal.  And decorating became a chore instead of a joy.

So I sit here amidst a myriad of boxes with a partially decorated home (Papa did his part by putting up the exterior lights and décor and assembled the fake tree) and I wonder why.   Every day since Thanksgiving, I crank up holiday songs on my computer and attempt to finish decorating.   I chastise myself when it doesn’t get accomplished because I think by now – December 5 – my house should be properly bedecked and adorned with Christmas finery and some cookie baking should be on the agenda.

And it’s not.  I could blame the empty nest.  I could claim it’s because all of the chicks are married and out of the nest.  But that’s not it.  We will all be together in our home for a Christmas celebration for a couple of days so you would think that alone would give me motivation to kick some Christmas spirit into gear.

So what is the cause of this malaise?  I’m not ready!  I truly think we don’t celebrate Thanksgiving long enough or well enough or…something.  As the dynamics of our household have changed and Papa and I have…shall we say, matured, I want to spend more time thanking God for His provision.   I want to exhibit gratitude for oh so many aspects of my life.  Yes, I’ll say it – I want to spend more time counting my blessings.

I don’t want to rush into the mayhem of Christmas craziness that the holiday has become.  I want to take my time.  I want to slow down and savor the opportunity to give thanks and do so for more than just one day filled with cooking a feast. 

This Thanksgiving, we gathered together at our house.  Not all of our adult children were able to be here but oldest daughter and son-in-law journeyed home, and my nearby sister and brother-in-law and family consisting of my nephew, his wife, and two little ones all joined us for the bounty at our table.  We feasted, we played games, and we all took turns holding my two month old great niece.  I want to hang onto that feeling of family and friendship and fondness just a little longer.

And just as if I needed a reminder, I want to share with you what I found on the day after Thanksgiving -that day when, by tradition, we would rush right into the Christmas season by decking the halls.   That day after celebrating the one day we set aside to give thanks, we still had snow on the ground.  It covered our yard.  It covered our deck.  In an effort to keep beverages cold all day for our celebration, my nephew set the bottles of soda, sparkling cider, and sparking raspberry limeade out into the snow on our deck.

So on that day after, when everyone returned to their homes and Papa and I were left once again in the empty nest and the frenzy of the Christmas season loomed, I opened the French doors to the deck and saw this (the photo above).  Imprints left in the snow from the beverage bottles.

blogIMG_2155My Thanksgiving leftovers.  These imprints made me smile and they made me happy.  But even more, they reminded me to keep an attitude of gratitude and take one day at a time giving thanks – prolonging Thanksgiving – and taking it with me into Christmas.  

“Leftovers in their less visible form are called memories. Stored in the refrigerator of the mind and the cupboard of the heart.” ~ Thomas Fuller




14 responses

  1. This reminds me of a series of daily posts a lady did once during the whole month of November. Each post was on a way she was thankful for her house, home. The actual building, but also the nest that it was. It was neat, and gave me a few pricks as I so often complain of living here in MO. You have so many wonderful memories in that nest of yours, maybe you could share them with us?


  2. I dearly love this post and agree whole-heartedly! 😉 I have not regretted breaking some older “traditions” from our past to now engage in a more significant Thanksgiving. I just wish that we had done this many years ago. Nicely done!


    • I thought the design was so very cute and it truly did bring a smile to my face when I saw it. Of course, I had to run to get my camera and ‘document’ it! 😉 P.S. I’ve got the ornaments on the tree but I’m stalled again. Maybe it’s time to go minimal?


  3. Thank you for writing this. For the first time since I can remember, our tree is not up yet. Usually it happens the Saturday and Sunday after Thanksgiving. But this year was different. Although both D1 and D2 and theirs were with us, we just stayed inside enjoying each other’s company and took in the warmth by the fire. Two logs in the morning, another 2 in the afternoon and 3 or 4 took us into late afternoon and evening. It was heaven not going anywhere and just feeling warm. The girls asked if I wanted to go out and get a tree…I said, “No, not yet.” And I think they were a bit relieved, too….although they would have gladly carried it out. I’m with you…for whatever reason I just wanted to hang onto Thanksgiving.
    The biggest joy! D1 and GS1 joined us for breakfast on Friday, Saturday and Sunday! Oh, what a relief to not have them on the west coast and practically be in our back yard, join us for breakfast…three mornings in a row! After 5 years away, they moved here back to TX and arrived on Thanksgiving Day.


    • Your Thanksgiving sounds just right — staying inside by the fire with the ones you love so dearly. The thought of it just warms my heart for you! I can only imagine the joy in your household to have D1 and GS1 back in TX with you. I am so very happy for you!! Gives me hope that maybe my far-away ones might also move back a little closer to home one day (just like their Daddy & I did). 😀


  4. Oh yes, I know that feeling. Even though we can spend a life in thanksgiving, there’s something about having a time dedicated to that practice. It changes us and my goal is to foster that somehow. It’s just more satisfying to have a season dedicated for it. Or even a day. 😊


  5. I loved this writing Cindy. I too am having a little more difficulty jumping into the Christmas marathon. I gave up some of our traditions when we started splitting time between two homes. There simply isn’t time to decorate top to bottom, but I sincerely agree that less is more. I pick out my very favorite decorations and areas of the house, and make them cozy and inviting. I focus on those smaller areas and spend time reflecting on what makes those specific decorations so special to me. Having a sweet little one in our midst again is my main focus. We all want to see Christmas thru her wide eyes. In our “mature” years, this slower pace suits us very well. Sending love and warm Christmas wishes for you and yours.


    • Sending love and warm Christmas wishes right back to you, Pat. I like what you had to say about just using the favorite decorations and reflecting on them. I do know you will have a most wonderful time this year celebrating with that little one. It’s going to be so much fun for you and your family! Love you & miss you!


  6. All of a sudden I am cutting back on the Christmas decorating frenzy. And like you, I wish we could slow down and savor Thanksgiving longer. Weaving your story around the imprints of leftovers that make you happy made for a wonderful story. Clever girl. Now slow down and savor Christmas. 🙂


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