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Thought of the day: why go through the efforts and preparation for Thanksgiving?

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I love Thanksgiving and by far it is my favorite holiday. I love the time with my family, even with the usual bickering and antics, and love the food and looking forward to the same family favorites every year. However, in my preparation I thought to myself why do we go through all of the efforts and preparation. I know for me, at least, I plan for several weeks. It's not just the menu but all of the details. I love to sit down the Sunday night before Thanksgiving and map out my plan for the week - grocery list, timeline, atmosphere. My prep always includes thoughts about the ambiance and presentation - do I have the proper serving utensils and dishes? what music would be best? what flowers or candle? I know that some see this as a hassle and just don't do it which I completely understand, but for me I love it. Though, I still wonder, even though I love it and look forward to the season, why go through the efforts (a serving utensil is a utensil after all, pull a spoon out of the drawer)? So, I thought I'd pose the question to the group as I imagine the responses will not only remind us of the reason for the season but also be very interesting and get a chance to learn others' perspectives. What does Thanksgiving mean to you? Why do you choose to make it "perfect?"

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  1. I doubt anyone can say it any better.........

    Happy Thanksgiving!!!

    1. I think a lot of us are perfectionists about the food and decor at any dinner party or party and will spend weeks planning; that's not exclusive to Thanksgiving. We just have that gene; I can't say why I lose sleep over whether or not I should buy a new serving dish for an upcoming party. I actually don't like Thanksgiving because my family members aren't foodies and only want the basics, no deviations, nothing interesting. So I take much more care with a regular dinner party for friends that love food.

      1. In my family, preparing food with care was a way to show love. It's a small way to carry on a tradition that they managed much more beautifully than I do.

        3 Replies
        1. re: pinehurst

          I'm sure that you do a wonderful job which they greatly appreciate.

          1. re: fldhkybnva

            That's very kind!

            I don't do the scope that they did, and I don't have the finesse, but I'm a great believer in tradition (cue the Fiddler on the Roof soundtrack)...and I know what you mean about the joy of preparing. For stuff we love to do, the journey is half the fun! As Uncle Bob said, you captured that emotion very well.

            1. re: pinehurst

              Yea, agreed! In fact, I often feel like my attempt does not compare to the other lovely chows in my family At big family gatherings, mind you my entire family is 10-12 people, I am often the voice in the background wondering why we NEED to pull out the linen tablecloth and fine china, but it all wouldn't be the same without it.

        2. Thanksgiving doesn't need to be perfect. it's about sharing.
          since we are not religious, Tday has become our secular holiday. it is about tradition (as camera zooms in on green bean casserole with Campbell's mushroom soup), about things we only eat once a year (pan slowly to bright red Jello mold), and it is about being grateful for the things we have.

          1 Reply
          1. re: rudysmom

            Exactly! I think my intent to make it perfect is solely aimed such that everyone will have the best experience. Of course, I know that they would enjoy regardless but it's just nice to do things for those you care about. This is why I love this holiday. Whenever I say that, people assume it's about the gorge fest, but I truly love the opportunity to spend quality time with family and remember what's important.

          2. As was mentioned, it's how I show love. I don't do T-day every year, but every other is mine. Sometimes my older brother and twin with her husband shows up. Others is just me and my SO. No matter what I always ask what they want to see there to let them know I care about them. Then I get to fill in the rest of the menu.

            This year is special because my twin will show me a new recipe. My menus are not as elaborate as other Hounds, but it has just as much love behind it.

            1. I find it interesting as well that unfortunately this year even though I will be alone, I have not skimped on any of the usual preparations. My family is pretty far from where I live and I have to work the day before and after and so won't be able to spend it with them but in my solo dinner preparations I've learned a great lessons. Initially, I was depressed and bummed, but realized that even if you are alone it's a time to reflect and be thankful and it is not a waste of effort to make it perfect for just you.