Happy Friday, friends! Have a wonderful weekend!
As of today, there are twenty-four days until Christmas. Just twenty-four! And including today, that leaves only four Throwback Thursdays until the day we’ve all been waiting for.
We’re sure many of us feel the whirr of December flying by us and also the sting of the high prices of all the Christmas presents we have to buy on our list, and the feelings of anxiety to get everything on our checklist completed.
But, today, we’re going to discuss an alternative Christmas.
Remember when you were a kid, the wonder of Christmas? How it felt to anticipate the moment when you could wake up and see what Santa left for you under your tree? Or the feeling throughout the season in the days and weeks leading up to the big day, when we would hide in our bedrooms and work on handmade projects to give Mom and Dad? The smell of the house when Mom baked Christmas cookies and we ate them with homemade hot chocolate? The fun we had when Dad brought home a Christmas tree and Mom got out all the decorations we had made over the years. She had a story about each and every ornament. Sometimes, we got to string popcorn garlands (and eat popcorn garlands), hang candy canes (and eat candy canes) and sing Christmas carols while we decked the halls.
But now, how many of us long for those days of yore as we whip out the credit card, go on Amazon, and run up the tab to fulfill everyone’s desires? We complain that things aren’t what they used to be, that Christmas is too commercialized, and that kids today don’t appreciate what they’ve got. But whose fault is that? It’s ours!
It’s this writer’s honest belief that in today’s society, one where we have more technology than ever, in a time when it takes less time than ever to accomplish more things (i.e., sending a mass Christmas email rather than handwriting and addressing individual cards), we’re spending even more time working and less time with our families. And even when we are with our families, all of us have our faces in our cellphones and are too busy communicating with people other than who are in the room with us! This writer believes that as parents, we feel guilty about the time we don’t have to spend with our kids, so we try to make up for that by buying them the best gifts ever. And then we complain when they would rather play a video game than spend time with us when we do have extra time to budget.
That’s why, starting today, through the rest of the Throwback Thursdays until Christmas, we’re going to be sharing some ideas to make an old-fashioned Christmas, starting today. This week, though you have little time to prepare, you, too can join us in our quest for the perfect old-fashioned Christmas.
First up, if you have little ones who are just learning to read or who don’t quite yet read, it’s a fun idea to head to your nearest used bookstore and pick up 24 children’s Christmas stories. Wrap them each individually, and place them in a basket. Then, starting tonight, let your kiddos select and unwrap one book that you can read with them, or they can read to you. (This idea is known as a literary advent.) (The books are not as important as the quality time you spend together reading them.)
If the kiddos are older, select five Christmas-themed chapter books (such as Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol), and rotate each family member reading one chapter per night out loud to the rest of the family.
Next, it’s important to teach our children (and remind ourselves) that Christmas is about giving. (Not so much receiving.) There are many ways you can make your own Christmas Countdown advent calendar, only instead of filling each day’s envelope with sweet treats to eat, load it with a different project for the entire family to do that will serve others.
This one is easily made with some twine, some mini-clothespins, and some small paper bags
An old frame and some small envelopes and paper scraps make this one easy to create.
This one couldn’t be easier… It’s a recycled shoe holder!
After you make the calendar, you just print the activities on small slips of paper and tuck them inside.
(Remember, the kids aren’t the only ones who should be doing these activities.) Some examples are:
- Make and deliver Christmas candy to neighbors.
- Make and deliver Christmas cookies to a nursing home.
- Make and deliver hot chocolate to the homeless.
- Volunteer to bathe a neighbor’s dog or brush their cat.
- Make and deliver chicken soup to someone who is ill.
- Deposit coins in vending machines at school.
- Make and deliver Christmas cookies to a fire station.
- Make and take a meal to a needy family.
- Write and leave 10 “You are special/loved/etc.” notes in public restrooms, in library books, on bus seats, etc..
- Offer to help an elderly neighbor or friend bake Christmas cookies.
- Donate change to a Salvation Army collection.
- Make and deliver Christmas cookies to the police station.
- Make Christmas cards for 5 people who are not in your immediate family.
- Make a Christmas gift for your teacher.
- Make a Christmas tree ornament for your family that can be used year after year.
- Mow or rake a neighbor’s yard or shovel their snow while they are away (without telling them who did it).
- Make a Christmas card and non-edible gift and deliver it to an elderly or lonely neighbor anonymously.
- Select 2 gently used toys and donate them to the local homeless shelter.
- Purchase 2 new children’s gifts, and donate them to the local children’s home.
- Make it a point to hold the door open for someone else all day.
- Offer to read to an elderly neighbor or friend.
- Select used children’s books or DVD’s and donate them to a pediatrician’s office.
- Donate used blankets to an animal shelter.
- Write a short essay about what you consider to be the perfect Christmas. If you do this each year, notice how the ideas change over time.
After each day’s task is complete, have a family discussion about how doing the task for others made each of you feel. It won’t take long to realize just how much the gift of giving is really the gift for the person doing the giving.
That’s it for today, folks. We hope you join us in creating an old-fashioned Christmas for your family, and we look forward to seeing you back here again next week! Remember, there’s only twenty-four more days…
Wednesday is the day YOU get to “Ask an Attorney.” Just leave your question in the comments below, and if your question is selected, it will be answered on an upcoming Wednesday by one of our attorneys at Dean Burnetti Law.
Kevin A. from Winter Haven asks, “I was injured in a car accident last month. As a result, I needed emergency surgery and was just released from the hospital last week. The accident was not my fault, and my wife wants me to hire a lawyer right away. However, before the accident, we’d already planned to move back to our home state of Virginia where we could care for my newly widowed mother. I don’t want to get tied up in Florida and change our plans, because my mom needs our help right now, and I already have a job lined up there. If I initiate a lawsuit, won’t I be prohibited from leaving the state or something?”
Hi, Kevin. I’m so sorry about your injuries. Please call an experienced attorney (such as myself) as soon as possible so they can get started on your claim. If your accident was not your fault, if the person who hit you had liability insurance, you have the right to be compensated for your injuries. To answer your question, it’s not uncommon for people who have ongoing lawsuits or legal claims to reside outside of the state where their accident occurred. (Think of the number of out-of-state visitors Florida sees each year who may be involved in a collision.) Now, because you initiated the legal action, you would be responsible to show up in person to your deposition, your mediation, and your trial (unless your attorney and the opposing counsel both stipulate that you can appear via video attendance for any of these events), but those events only occur when or if your case makes it to litigation. I’ll let you in on a secret: Most cases settle before a case ever makes it to litigation, and most of the cases that do make it to litigation settle before they ever make it to trial. As far as any other requirements, your attorney’s office would be able to work with you via email and telephone communication. Good luck with your injuries and your move.
[If you have a question for one of our attorneys, please write it in the comments below, and be sure to check back soon for a response.]
(The information contained herein is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice.)
It’s “Tuesday Newsday,” the day when Dean Burnetti Law brings you news of recalls, legal or political events, other important happenings, or just uplifting stories that make your heart smile…
Happy Tuesday Newsday, friends! We’re now in week thirty-five of the war in Ukraine, politics are politics, and we’re always on the lookout for a heartwarming story to distract us from the harshness of the news.
In 2016, we first learned of the happy accident that brought Jamal Hinton and Wanda Dench together. Wanda was texting her grandson a Thanksgiving invitation, but accidentally texted a 17-year-old stranger – Jamal.
Jamal accepted the invitation, and he’s been spending every Thanksgiving with Wanda and her family ever since. Wanda lives in Mesa, Arizona – 25 minutes from where Jamal lives in Phoenix.
In between Novembers, Jamal and Wanda have met for dinner at various restaurants, attended sporting events together, attended barbecues at each other’s homes, and have gotten together for casual hang-outs.
In 2020, the Thanksgiving tradition was made sadder when Wanda’s husband of 42 years, Lonnie Dench, died of Covid complications, but Wanda’s ipso facto grandson was there, offering his shoulder and kind words about the beloved grandfather who always welcomed him into their home. Before their first Thanksgiving meal without Lonnie, Jamal tweeted: “Thanksgiving isn’t going to be the same anymore but we will make the best of it.”
In September, Wanda got a tattoo to memorialize her husband and parents, and Jamal accompanied her for the appointment. “I got three shooting stars. Each one represents my Guardian Angels in Heaven — my husband who stands for integrity, my mother who was courageous, and my father who was about unconditional Love,” Wanda tweeted.
Every year after the world heard about this delightful mishap, people anxiously flock to Twitter to see if the tradition will continue… and each year since then, it has.
In fact, the mishap-turned-tradition has not only evolved into an enduring friendship, but this year, the friends had a special announcement to post alongside their annual Thanksgiving selfie: a new business venture: They’ve launched BlackMP, an alkaline water drink that’s certain to thrive.
The duo’s feel-good friendship is also set to be the subject of an upcoming Netflix film entitled “The Thanksgiving Text.” “We are excited to share our story with the world,” the duo said in a joint statement. “We hope it inspires more people to reach out and make connections that they wouldn’t ordinarily make.”
Next year, Wanda is planning to retire and relocate a few hours away, but have no fear… Jamal has already made plans to travel wherever she lands.
It’s Monday. Welcome to a new week. Today is the day for “Monday Ministry.” Did you know that Attorney Dean Burnetti went to seminary before he was called to the legal field? The following is a devotion given to you by Dean…
2 Timothy 3:16-17 – “All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work.”
When I got my first car at the age of 16, I had zero experience of ever working on a car.
My father always took the family vehicles to our local Sinclair Service Station for oil changes and service. I thought for sure that is where I would be going, too. But Dad obviously had other ideas.
I remember during the week after my car arrived, my dad presented me with my first tool chest. How nice of Dad.
Little did I know there would be consequences and greasy experiences to come.
Inside my tool box was a timing light, oil filter wrench, feeler gauge, wrenches, and a socket set. Everything I needed to maintain my car. I spent many a Saturday bonding with my tool chest under a shade tree.
Today, my tool chest has changed. Many of those original tools are gone and there are many more in their place. But, my wife will confirm that I go nowhere without my tool chest. They create a sense of security for me, that I am ready for any challenge.
For Believers, the scripture is a tool chest that is full of resources to approach the challenges of our day. It is useful for correcting life’s mistakes. It is critical for making our lives whole again. It contains the tools to train us to do what is right.
With the tools contained in scripture, you can be completely prepared to do the good work of God. Today, get in God’s Word and build your tool chest. Someday, you will wonder how you could I have ever gone anywhere without it.
Stay healthy and have a blessed week!
Happy Thanksgiving-Eve, friends! Today, we’re going to forego our regular ask-an-attorney post, because we know you have turkey prep to get to. Instead, today, we’re going to share a parcel of fun Thanksgiving facts that you can share around the table tomorrow, and have everyone think you are the pinnacle of knowledge. Won’t they be impressed?
- The first Thanksgiving was held in the autumn of 1621. It lasted for three days, and included 50 Pilgrims and 90 Wampanoag Indians. Historians believe that only 4 women were present because so many women didn’t survive that difficult first year in the U.S.
- The Mayflower’s average speed was a whopping 2 miles per hour, and it took the Pilgrims 66 days to sail from England to the New World!
- 102 Passengers set sail on the Mayflower to come to the New World. While en route, one died and another was born, so 102 passengers arrived at Plymouth.
- Thanksgiving was almost a fast — not a feast! The Pilgrims’ tradition was to give thanks by praying and abstaining from food, which is how they planned to celebrate their first harvest – until the Wampanoag Indians joined them and (lucky for us!) turned their fast into a three-day feast!
- Historians tell us that turkey was not on the menu at the first Thanksgiving. Instead, they had deer or venison, ducks, geese, oysters, lobster, eel, and fish. Also, while it is likely that they ate pumpkins, pumpkin pies were not invented yet. They also didn’t eat mashed potatoes or cranberry relish, but they probably ate cranberries.
- Speaking of pumpkin pie, the Pilgrims prepared their pumpkin treats by filling a hollowed-out shell with milk, honey, and spices, then baking it in hot ashes. (They didn’t have ovens to bake pie crusts like we do now back then.)
- The first Thanksgiving was eaten with spoons and knives — but no forks! Why? Because forks weren’t even introduced to the Pilgrims until 10 years later, and they weren’t a popular utensil until the 18th century.
- Thanksgiving did not become a national holiday until over 200 years after the first Thanksgiving when Sarah Josepha Hale, the woman who wrote the children’s song “Mary Had a Little Lamb,” convinced President Lincoln to make Thanksgiving a national holiday starting in 1863. Prior to that, she had campaigned for 17 years via letter writing to get the holiday the recognition it deserved.
- The tradition of watching football on Thanksgiving started in 1920 when the NFL started the Thanksgiving Classic games. Since then, the Detroit Lions and the Dallas Cowboys have hosted games on Thanksgiving Day, and in 2006, a third game was added with different teams hosting.
- 1924 saw the first Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade when 400 employees marched from Convent Ave to 145th Street in New York City. While they didn’t have the famous balloons and floats they are now known for, they were accompanied in their march by live animals from the Central Park Zoo!
- Originally, Thanksgiving was set to be on the third Thursday of November when President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed it a holiday, but in 1939, President Franklin Roosevelt moved it to the fourth Thursday in November, because he hoped it would boost the shopping season during the Depression era. The idea behind the change never caught on, and it was changed back two years later.
- Each year, the President of the United States pardons a turkey and spares it from being eaten for Thanksgiving dinner. This tradition started in 1947 with President Harry Truman.
- Thanksgiving is the reason for TV dinners! In 1953, Swanson had so much extra turkey (260 tons!), that a salesman told them they should package it onto aluminum trays with other sides like sweet potatoes — and that’s how the first TV dinner was born!
- In 1955, the Campbell’s soup company invented green bean casserole for its annual cookbook. It now sells $20 million worth of cream of mushroom soup each Thanksgiving season!
- After their famous moon walk, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin’s first meal in space consisted of foil packets containing roasted turkey.
- In 2009, President Barack Obama pardoned a 45-pound turkey named Courage – and then the bird was flown to Disneyland and served as Grand Marshal of the park’s Thanksgiving Day parade!
- Wild turkeys can actually run as fast as 20 miles per hour when they are scared, however, domesticated turkeys that are bred to be eaten are heavier and cannot move as quickly.
- Americans eat 46 million turkeys each Thanksgiving!
- According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the heaviest turkey weighed in at 86 pounds, however, the average Thanksgiving turkey weighs only 15 pounds.
- California consumes the most turkey in the United States on Thanksgiving Day!
- Female turkeys (called hens) do not gobble. Only male turkeys gobble.
- After turkeys are plucked, their feathers are ground up and used as protein in animal feed! Feathers are made of keratin which ruminant animals such as cows are able to digest.
- However, 4,000 turkey feathers were not converted to cattle food – they were dyed yellow and used to create Sesame Street’s Big Bird!
- Turkey chicks are actually called pults or turkeylings! Once they become adults, female turkeys are called hens, and males are called toms in the U.S. or stags in Europe.
- The wobbly red piece of flesh on top of the beak of a turkey is called a snood. The red bit of flesh under the beak is called a wattle.
- Antarctica is the only continent that does not produce pumpkins.
- Pumpkin pie is not an international treat! In fact, the British typically find it revolting!
- Both the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade and America’s Thanksgiving Parade conclude with the arrival of Santa Claus.
- Morton, Illinois is responsible for the highest turkey production each year, while the state of North Carolina produces the most sweet potatoes each year.
- The cornucopia, also known as “a horn of plenty,” was prevalent in Greek mythology.
- Cranberries must bounce no less than 4 inches before they can be harvested. (Firm berries bounce while softer berries that are overly ripe will simply drop.)
- The Butterball Turkey Hotline answers more than 100,000 questions during the holiday season each year.
- A single can of jellied cranberry sauce contains close to 200 cranberries!
- The average Thanksgiving meal contains a whopping 4,500 calories!
- America’s first turkey trot took place more than a century ago. The race, which was hosted by the local YMCA in Buffalo, New York, included just six runners — although only four of them made it to the finish line. One runner dropped out when his “late breakfast refused to keep in its proper place” and another simply excused himself after two miles.
- Diehard Thanksgiving fans can actually move to a town named after the foods of their favorite holiday. The U.S. Census has identified four cities in the U.S. named Turkey, another four named Cranberry, and a grand total of 34 dubbed Plymouth. (We bet they take their celebrations very seriously.)
Well, we have pies to bake, so it’s time to close. On behalf of Dean Burnetti Law, we’d like to wish everyone a very Happy Thanksgiving!
It’s “Tuesday Newsday,” the day when Dean Burnetti Law brings you news of recalls, legal or political events, or other important happenings…
Happy Tuesday Newsday, friends! With just two days left until Thanksgiving, it’s certain to be a stressful week of preparation, planning, shopping, and cleaning. While just about everyone looks forward to the Thanksgiving meal, usually getting to make and eat dishes that are reserved for that once or twice-a-year special feast, it’s not uncommon to hear people complaining the following week because they are so tired of leftover white bread turkey sandwiches!
That’s why today, we’re here to help you plan ahead for your turkey leftovers. There are so many exciting things you can do with your leftovers to give them a new life, and create some new traditions with your family, and we had a difficult time narrowing it down to just ten.
Turkey Cranberry Panini
For this one, start with sourdough bread. On one side, brush with apricot jam, and brush Dijon mustard on the other. Top each side with a slice of Swiss cheese. Add some shredded turkey, cranberry sauce, and chopped pecans, then butter the outside and pop it in the panini press. Yum!
Easy! Split a tin of heat-and-eat rolls, and spread honey mustard on one side. Add sliced turkey, cranberry sauce, and provolone slices, then replace the top layer of the split rolls. Brush the tops with butter and sprinkle with poppy seeds. Heat in the oven until cheese is melted and bubbly, then pull apart and enjoy!
Turkey Club Wrap
Even easier! Open a whole wheat tortilla and spread mayonnaise and brown mustard. Add shredded turkey, thin slices of avocado, thin-sliced tomato, romaine lettuce, and grated cheddar cheese. Roll like a burrito, slice in half on a diagonal, and call everyone to the table!
Turkey, Cranberry, and Almond Salad Sandwiches
First, blitz your leftover turkey in the food processor. Add finely chopped celery, chopped red onion, dried cranberries, and sliced almonds. Mix with mayonnaise and mustard to taste, then spread on sourdough bread.
Turkey Cobb Wraps
In a sundried tomato tortilla, spread a generous layer of cream cheese. Then add romaine lettuce, leftover turkey slices, cubed tomato, a sliced hard-boiled egg, thin slices of avocado, and 3 crispy slices of bacon. Top with bleu cheese dressing, and roll like a burrito, slice, and enjoy!
Grilled Turkey, Brie, Arugula & Apple Butter Sandwiches
Start with soft rye bread. On two slices, brush a thin layer of butter, then a thick layer of apple butter. On one slice add brie, turkey, arugula, and another layer of brie. Replace the top layer, then brush the outside with butter and grill in a skillet over medium-low heat until the brie is melty and the outside is crispy.
Turkey Waldorf Salad Sandwiches
Start with hand-shredded turkey, and add chopped celery, celery leaves, chopped apple, halved grapes, coarsely chopped pecans, mayonnaise, and a dab of honey. Mix well, and add salt and pepper to taste. Scoop generously onto soft honey wheat bread and enjoy!
Turkey Cranberry Crostini
Drizzle extra virgin olive oil on thinly sliced French bread, and bake until light golden. Top with goat cheese, arugula, and sliced turkey. Separately, mix cranberry sauce, orange juice, and maple syrup. Drizzle on top of crostinis for a tangy treat!
Turkey Shepherd’s Pie
In casserole dish, add chopped and sautéed onion, celery, and carrots. Next drain and add green beans (or peas) and corn. Finally add sliced turkey. Top with turkey gravy, mix, top with mashed potatoes and cheddar cheese. Bake until top is browned and everything is heated through. Yum!
Stuffing Waffles Topped with Turkey, Gravy & Cranberries
This one is sure to be a family favorite for years to come! To keep the stuffing moist and stuck together, mix with a beaten egg and a dash of broth. Roll it into a ball and heat it in the waffle iron. Top with a thin layer of cranberry sauce, sliced turkey, then gravy. Be prepared to make seconds!
REMINDER: Since, as we mentioned, there are only two days left until Thanksgiving, don’t forget to start thawing out your turkey tonight! Happy Thanksgiving!
It’s Monday. Welcome to a new week. Today is the day for “Monday Ministry.” Did you know that Attorney Dean Burnetti went to seminary before he was called to the legal field? The following is a devotion given to you by Dean…
Colossians 1:22-23 – “Yet now he has reconciled you to himself through the death of Christ in his physical body. As a result, he has brought you into his own presence, and you are holy and blameless as you stand before him without a single fault. But you must continue to believe this truth and stand firmly in it. Don’t drift away from the assurance you received when you heard the Good News.”
Sunday after church, I took my wife to one of her favorite clothing stores. In order to get there, I had to go through a parking attendant. I could tell this young lady was not in a good mood pretty quickly. At some point after having passed my credit card to pay for parking, I started to pull away when she snapped at me, “Where are you think you’re going?” It was because I hadn’t reached out to grab the parking coupon that was printed by the machine next to where she stood. She looked at me with a snarl and just a meanness in her eyes. I looked right back at her just as meanly. Even though I didn’t say anything, I gave her that look. You know the one that says “I am just as mean” right back.
We all have events like this that occur almost every week. It’s the things that we wish we could take back.
It is in those times that, even though we went to church that very morning, we feel that we have fallen short of our calling. It could be very easy to be taken over by our guilt. And be assured, Satan uses those moments to take us off of our path. To prevent us from witnessing to a person. To prevent us from sharing the Gospel with someone else. To keep us from listening to the Holy Spirit, even if it’s only for a moment.
It is in those times that we have to bring ourselves back to a quick place of asking God to forgive us for our reactions and to get us back where we need to be. Back to a place where we know that we stand blameless before God without a single fault. Not because of what we have done but because of who He is.
Today, start this week living in the assurance that you are without fault. Even when you give the mean look to another. That you are holy and blameless. That you still stand firmly in the truth.
Stay healthy and have a blessed week!
The steady countdown has begun! Have a wonderful weekend, friends!
Happy Throwback Thursday, Friends! Can you believe there’s only ONE WEEK LEFT until Thanksgiving? For the past several weeks, we’ve been sharing delicious old-fashioned recipes and decorating tips to give our Thanksgiving that nostalgic feel that brings the entire family together and creates memories that last a lifetime.
Now that we’re down to the one-week-left mark, we’re going to stop the recipes and talk about how to bring the whole Old-Fashioned Thanksgiving together with as little stress as possible. Remember, the biggest part of that nostalgic feeling we’re going for comes from the fellowship and memories we create while preparing, eating, and cleaning up after the meal. Remember the time Grandma forgot to stuff the turkey or Aunt Ruth accidentally substituted salt for sugar in the pumpkin pie? Sure, the food wasn’t as good, but we all had a good laugh, and we brought those events up each year afterward. And after Grandma and Aunt Ruth were no longer with us, we still carried those memories with us each Thanksgiving thereafter, and they brought smiles to our faces.
That being said, that’s why it’s important to get the whole family involved in the preparations. Because while you work, you’re creating memories (and traditions) that your children will pass on to their children, and they, in turn, will pass them on to their children.
The key to preparing such an involved meal is organization and timing. To give yourself plenty of time to prepare all those yummy treats, let’s look at the following week’s timeline to make that vintage menu happen:
- Finalize your plans for your table settings and decorations.
- Contact all your guests and remind them of the firm time you want them to arrive.
- Finalize your menu.
- Make a grocery list.
- Go grocery shopping and purchase all non-perishables and the turkey.
- Start making ice.
- If you purchased a frozen turkey, allow it to thaw in your fridge 24 hours for each 4 pounds of meat (so a 16-pound bird needs four full days to thaw). You can keep a fully thawed turkey in the refrigerator for up to 4 days before cooking.
- Make your Thanksgiving centerpiece.
- Make your personalized place cards.
- Clean the house.
- Wash the special dishes that have been stored for the holiday. This includes rarely used wine glasses, silverware, and serving utensils.
- Go grocery shopping for all the perishables.
- Set up the bar and make sure it’s stocked.
- Set out the bread for homemade stuffing (stale bread works best).
- Fill the decorative salt and pepper shakers.
- Set the table. (Set the glasses upside down to keep them dust-free until Thursday.)
- Pick up a few cardboard boxes from the store. (You’ll use these later.)
- Make all your desserts.
- Set your overnight rolls out to rise.
- Chop, peel, dice, and prepare your vegetables so they’ll be ready to cook or bake tomorrow.
- Assemble certain potato dishes, green bean or other casseroles, other baked vegetable dishes such as stuffed acorn squash or homemade baked beans so they’ll be ready to pop in the oven tomorrow.
- Cut cardboard boxes so that they can be set in the refrigerator between stacked dishes. (This allows you to double the amount of shelf space for pre-prepared food to wait to be baked tomorrow.)
- Stuff and cook the turkey. (Don’t forget to baste every half hour.)
- As the turkey cooks, prepare, cook, and bake the sides or desserts that aren’t finished.
If there are any dishes that need to soak because of baked-on gunk, squirt a spoonful of fabric softener (or hand lotion, or hair conditioner), or even toss in a new dryer sheet or two into the vessel, then fill the dish (or the sink) with hot water. The fabric softener works its magic by loosening the stuck-on food while you spend your time enjoying your family’s company. We promise, you’ll be amazed at how well this works.
Before we wrap this up, since we’ve worked so hard to create the atmosphere of a real old-fashioned Thanksgiving, one that stirs up those great memories of when we were kids, let’s take a moment to take that nostalgic feeling one step further. Why not practice – or create – some Thanksgiving traditions you can start passing down each year in your own family? To get you started, we’ve already thought of a few:
- Cellphones off during the meal! Let’s enjoy each other’s company for a couple of hours.
- After the meal, why not Skype, FaceTime, Zoom, or GoogleDuo the loved ones who are out of town. If each household participates as a group, you can connect with those loved ones who are too far away and still feel as if they are included.
- Have everyone write something they are thankful for on a slip of paper and put it in a jar before you eat. During the meal, have everyone take a random slip of paper, read it aloud, and guess who wrote it.
- Use butcher paper for your table cloth, and allow the kids to draw or color on it before and after the meal.
- Use a plain white tablecloth and provide fabric paint markers. Ask everyone, young and old, to write the thing they are thankful for, and you’ll have a keepsake tablecloth that you can reuse and add to each year.
- Remember loved ones who are no longer with you. This can be in the form of a prayer, or adding small framed photos of them to the room, or setting a plate at an empty chair to represent their ongoing presence, or going around the table and having each person tell a favorite story about them.
- Host a pie-baking competition. Have each guest bring a homemade pie, then select some other family members to judge the pies. (Hint: everyone who like pie wins!)
- Select a special Thanksgiving-themed movie from your own childhood for the whole family to watch after the meal. (“A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving” sounds like a great choice!)
- Ask all guests to bring a Christmas ornament (bonus points if the ornament is homemade), and host an ornament exchange.
- Go through your old photos beforehand, and have copies made. Set a photo of each guest on their plate… Then when the guests arrive, ask each to share a story or memory from around the time their photo was taken.
- Have a massive board game, card game, or other type of game tournament that everyone from the kiddos to the old-timers can enjoy. (If you’re really digging the old-fashioned holiday theme, charades is a great old game for a large group of people.)
- Set up the camera (or cell phone) on a tripod and video the oldest guest giving an oral history of what holiday time was like when they were young. Next year, if that oldest person is still with you, move to the next oldest person, etc.
We hope this has helped inspire some of your own family traditions that can be passed down for generations to come. Happy Planning!