Of Fall and Feasts

It is that time of the year again.  There is a chill in the air, that even the sun’s rays cannot warm.

Practice Thanksgiving Maple tree

The leaves take their final bow, step away from their partners twirling and swaying, to land gracefully on the dance floor of earth.  The sound of rustling in our little forest is the soundtrack of fall.

Dance Floor of Nature

With the children back in school (hooray! excuse me while I bust out my best happy-dance moves (visualize a clumsy yet enthusiastic running man performed while twirling in tight counter clockwise circles with the occasional fist pump and karate chop)) my thoughts start to turn to the season of holidays.  It is time to think turkey and stuffing, roasted acorn squash and sugar pie.  Oh yes, it is time for that holiday we all love, Practice Thanksgiving!  We invite family and friends to join us for a turkey dinner with all the trimmings. Everyone brings a dish to share and, weather permitting, we all head outdoors for a walk through the neighborhood after the meal but before the coffee and dessert.  This year, the twelfth of such gatherings, Practice Thanksgiving falls on October 27th the day that would have been my dad’s 78th birthday.

The exact origins of Practice Thanksgiving have been lost to the fog of time.  Some historians theorize it came about due to the need for knowledge on how to cook a perfect turkey although others dispute this and believe it started out as a simple dinner party that grew out of control.  No one will ever know for sure but the tradition of this casual, floating holiday lives on.  I for one am glad it did.

Some years the gathering is small, our family of four, and three or four others.  Some years the number of guests require us to dust off our extra table that resides in the garage, bring in the lawn chairs, and find the largest turkey we can.  I like both the slower paced more intimate feel of the small group and the loud, chaos of love, family, and friends that comes with the larger gathering.  The meal planning is pretty much the same regardless of the crowd size.  A few extra potatoes or less, an extra bottle or two of wine or not and you are ready.  It is the space at the table that drives me to get those RSVPs.

Practice Thanksgiving over the years Collage

This year we had twelve invites on our list, four of which can not attend.  I am on the fence about what to do now.  I could let it be as it is and leave the head count at twelve, the exact number that fits around our dining room table when fully extended or invite some new friends of ours who have two boys (the same age as Cody and Carter) and allow extra fun and chaos to ensue.  Whatever I end up deciding, I am sure it will be a grand affair with tasty food and lively conversation.

I would love to hear about your extra family holidays if you have them.  And if you don’t feel free to start up a Practice Thanksgiving tradition of your own.

Practice Thanksgiving boys Collage

Cody (on the left) at one and a half years of age enjoying green beans and cranberries. Carter (on the right) at three and a half years of age helping to pick out spices for the stuffing.

About Shoes

I am an elementary school teacher, a former microbiologist, a mom to a herd of two boys, and a grilled cheese sandwich and beer connoisseur.
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16 Responses to Of Fall and Feasts

  1. Jodi says:

    I love your practice Thanksgiving, and cannot wait to hear all about it. 🙂

    • shoes says:

      I love it too! And there is a slight chance that I will be hosting the actual Thanksgiving this year, for the first time ever – it is a good thing I have 12 years of practice on such matters.

  2. a lovely tradition – although we just had our real Thanksgiving this past weekend — maybe we will have a practice Christmas
    this was a heartwarming post

  3. mimijk says:

    What a wonderful tradition – and I love the warmth and love it evokes..

    • shoes says:

      Somewhere along the way it has become a family tradition and I am so glad it has. It is one of my favorite “holidays”. The boys get excited about it and I am sure their friends must wonder when Cody and Carter rave about our great Practice Thanksgiving feast. 🙂

  4. Practice Thanksgiving is a great idea! 🙂

  5. Hetterbell says:

    I hadn’t heard of Practise Thanksgiving before. Have a great time! 🙂

    • shoes says:

      Hahaha – well I have not heard of Practice Thanksgiving either, outside of our family. I started it 12 years ago when it dawned on me that I have no idea how to make the full on turkey dinner and that one day I would be hosting a Thanksgiving dinner. I have yet to host the actual Thanksgiving dinner (although there is a chance that this year is the one) but I have hosted 12 Practice Thanksgiving dinners. I think I may be ready for the real deal! 🙂

  6. Pingback: Beaches, Stuffing and Thanksgiving « Acrobatic Thoughts

  7. Ashley says:

    I like the practice Thanksgiving idea…would be a great way to get together with friends. Plus, I could use the practice on cooking Thanksgiving dishes.

    • shoes says:

      Those are the reasons I like it so much. For some reason since it is not on the actual holiday, there is less pressure of everything turning out alright. After all if it is practice, then there is no shame in a dry turkey or burnt gravy, right? 😉 Plus with everyone bringing a dish to share, it makes it just that much easier.

  8. I didn’t fully appreciate Autumn until my son was born. Now it is one of the my most favorite magical season. It’s a perfect time to find fun adventures and feel like a kid all over again. It’s a time to create amazing memories with our family. Thanks for sharing your stories and images of your wonderful family. This is what give us smiles as parents everyday.

    • shoes says:

      Autumn just has so much wonderful magical things happing in nature it is hard not to find a fall adventure, especially when you have a child. I love our special Practice Thanksgiving family gathering – such a fun way to get together and just be. And yes, it provides us with so many great memories. Thanks!

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