December 2020 will be a month to remember. It is my birthday month and I turn 55! It is the second anniversary of my dad’s passing, it is the month so many faithful people around the world celebrate hope and light. Ok, there are just people around the world celebrating the end of 2020 and the hope for 2021. Anyway, everything has been a little different this year so I decided to embrace the difference and we did that in November with our celebration of Thanksgiving and I hope this will inspire your celebrations.
About two weeks prior to Thanksgiving, Michael and I decided to get in the car and head to Long Island to do an early Thanksgiving celebration with my Aunt and Mom. (We did isolate before we went to visit and both my Aunt and Mom are living on their own and taking precautions.) This was the first holiday where Michael did not have either of his parents. We had our traditional dinner. Yes, a 19 lb. turkey for 4 people, yummy. We went down early because covid was once again on the rise. We were not sure what to do on the actual day as we were invited to be with friends, but we were just uncertain.
On Thanksgiving day, the day we often visited with more than 10 people, instead it was just Michael and I for dinner. I love to bake. Many of my friends give me sweets and I love them so to make something different, Michael and I made homemade hummus and delivered it to three friends who reside in New Hampshire. Yup we went savory, we were able to speak with them, masks on and distanced just briefly as our turkey cooked. It was wonderful to wish them a Happy Thanksgiving in person and to tell them how grateful we are for them.
Yes, we made a second 15 lb. turkey for the two of us, and the most special thing happened as I set our table and put out our food. Let me share a picture, so I can diagram all the people and special memories represented on the table.
Let me begin with the plates, they are from Sturbridge Pottery which my sister-in-law introduced us to; this brings my brother and his family to the table. The hand made wooden serving spoons created by Dan Dustin, these remind us of the outdoors and all the wonderful hikes and walks we have taken with my other brother and his family, not to mention all the friends with whom we explore the outdoors. The flatware is from Germany, which reminds me of my parents and the generations of family that came before us. The two white ramekins are filled with a corn pudding that a friend delivered and truly represented the love of friends. The handblown artisan water glasses are from our trips to Sunapee, NH and the New Hampshire Craftsman’s Fair each summer. The local wine (One form NH and the other from Long Island) we served reminded us of all the people we have met through our love of wine tasting. The cranberry sauce was made by my aunt and the bowl made by our friend. The green bowl with the purple potatoes is from my former coworkers which reminds me of our employment journeys. The serving fork in the turkey and the spoon in the bowl behind the candle are a pewter Viking set we purchased at Epcot many years ago so that is our nod to fun family vacations and adventures. The covered casserole dish is a wedding gift from a High School friend, yes Michael and I met in High School. The pumpkin and vegetables are from Farmer Dave’s, the farm I volunteer at with a wonderful CSA, again just wonderful people. The candle stick I purchased from a church friend, the Pampered Chef Salt and Pepper mills, I have been a consultant for 10 years for lots of amazing people. I could continue the story of the table and chairs, the tablecloth and the braided rug. So even though it was only Michael and I sitting at the table I felt the generations, the friends, the family and all the many hands that put their love and talent into this beautiful, thankful, hopeful meal. We are truly thankful and look forward to celebrating well into 2021.
By the way this year I will celebrate my birthday with a plant based, gluten free virtual cooking class and party thanks to Chef Lauren. Since this year has been like nothing I expected I thought I would do something very outside my box, or at least very different. We had a wonderful time and it was outside the box for many, I encourage you all to think outside the box. I hope you celebrate the large and small moments this month and reflect on those things you are most grateful for each day. Be well and enjoy the traditions new and old this year has brought. What is something you always put on your celebration table?