This Thanksgiving, I had a peaceful, intimate dinner with close family and friends, and got to come home bearing tupperware filled with leftovers. I’ve got enough to live off probably for the next week, and they’re good, gourmet leftovers too. I grew up with Francophiles for parents, so instead of sweet potatoes and marshmallows, or mashed potatoes, we have gratin dauphinois and red pepper gratin, with sauteed mushrooms. It’s quite a feast.
Every family can be proud of the dinner traditions that they manage to put on the table, and every family has their own special flair. Our family might have a French-style Thanksgiving, but other families are doing just fine with their own choices as well. There’s something truly charming about this odd, idiosyncratic holiday; on one level, we can be a little sickened by the commercialization of it (Black Friday started even earlier this year), but on another level, we can enjoy the simple ideal at its heart. A meal with friends and family, and being humbled by all the things we can be grateful for, is plenty to celebrate. It might even have more religious meaning these days than other holidays; sitting down and breaking bread with friends is one of the world’s earliest demonstrations of religious feeling.
Now the craziness of the Christmas shopping season is upon us. I tried driving by a Target near my house and couldn’t find a single parking space. Not one, in a vast sea of parking. It’s a little horrifying, but Black Friday does pass us safely by, and then we can get back to living our lives. Soon the first snows will start to dot the sidewalks of our cities, and it’ll be beautiful, at least until it lands.