First and foremost, I'd like to wish everybody a very Happy Thanksgiving! This holiday has never been particularly large in my family by any means, but it's something special nonetheless.
I have a somewhat-severe Type A personality, so I like traditions. I can appreciate change, but if something's working the way it is, I like to keep it that way. That being said, holidays often bring about the most profound, and odd, traditions in my life. Here's the run-down of my Thanksgiving holiday and please share some of your favorite traditions!
My immediate family has never hosted a Thanksgiving Dinner, and for good reason...we hate cooking large meals. And when I say we, it would be more correct to say my mother. It's a rare occasion when the five of us are home at the same time just to have a weekly dinner at our house so we don't get too excited about Thanksgiving dinner. However, we do make our way to my dad's parents (Grandpa and Grandma Heitkamp) for some food. Grandma is amazing, has the purest of hearts, but is slowly losing the magic touch in the kitchen. The strangest part is that Grandpa is a MUCH better cook, yet Grandma feels the need to take charge on Thanksgiving. I absolutely cannot stand stuffing that includes the turkey parts, but she cooks it every year and I promise it tastes worse with each passing holiday. She also makes homemade coleslaw, which is generally delectable, but sometimes, the seasoning can be quite potent. I'm crossing my fingers for this year... But apart from the food, the table talk is the best part of the day. I love hearing stories from my dad's childhood and all the stupid things him and his brother used to do. It's so great to have a family that you can laugh with and truly enjoy each others' company. Along with watching the Lions lose, or watching the Vikings when they play, a card game is usually thrown in there and then we bust out the pumpkin pie. Pumpkin pie is the key to my heart...that stuff is delicious. My grandpa still lets me lick the spoon used for serving up the Cool Whip :)
As for my mother's side, we always spend the Saturday after Thanksgiving at their house in Rushmore, MN (about 40 minutes from SF) and instead of turkey, we opt for soups. Chicken tortilla is usually my preference, but I occasionally switch it up for a good bowl of chili or broccoli cheddar. This is the one holiday meal I can walk away from and not feel obligated to call Jenny Craig...for this, I am incredibly grateful. This Thanksgiving will be different than all the rest because it will be the first that we spend without both of my great-grandparents (Grandma died in August 2007 and Grandpa in May 2008). They were incredible people in my life and it's times like these when those who are left behind are reminded of the loved ones who have gone to a better place. So that will be somewhat difficult for me. However, my cousin Sara (who is my only older cousin...and she's 3 months older than me) is planning on announcing the gender of the baby that she and her boyfriend, Cody, are expecting! This is somewhat out of the ordinary in our family because of the conservative, Baptist/Christian Reformed tradition, but hey, God has a plan and I'm not going to be the one to question it.
Apart from family get-togethers, Thanksgiving Day marks the beginning of the Christmas season in my life. I will bust out the Christmas music on iTunes, sync it to my iPod (all 2.5 GB of it...) and turn on XM Holly. Also, I will now allow myself to have a peppermint mocha from Starbucks (my BFF Missy also has this tradition). I also spend about an hour of the day contemplating whether or not I want to brave the crazy shoppers on Black Friday in order to begin my Christmas shopping. I went last year, armed with my iPod in hand, and managed to get some pretty good buys...so apparently it pays off with patience! The two years prior to last, I actually worked at Old Navy on Black Friday and never before had I so seriously contemplated suicide. I hope and pray I will never have to torture myself like that again.
Well this is definitely a longer post, but I love traditions and I love holidays and I hope you feel the same way. Even if you're not a fan of tradition, I hope you can find some time tomorrow to honestly think about what you're thankful for. So enjoy the time with family and friends...and if you want to go running with me on Friday to burn off the calories, give me a holler or meet me at McKennan Fitness!
Happy Holidays my friends :)
My name is Courtney and I am thankful for my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, my entire family, friends, the USofA, Valparaiso University for giving me a much needed 10-day break, and YOU! :)