Thanksgiving and Christmas are, hands down, my favorite time of the year. I think that these holiday’s are my favorite because they are often are marked by family tradition. My Grandma typically hosts Thanksgiving at her home and my parents host Christmas at their house. Unfortunately, since moving to Houston three years ago we’ve only been able to make it home for Christmas each year. While I’m sad that we haven’t been able to be with my family, it’s given Schoen and I a chance to start creating our own traditions and memories during Thanksgiving.
What Our Thanksgiving Looks Like
Our preparations for our turkey day meal kick off in the kitchen the evening before Thanksgiving. I usually work the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, so I get to work as soon as I get home from the office.
One of the first things we do every year is prepare the brine for our turkey. My absolute favorite brine recipe is this one by The Pioneer Woman. It makes our turkey so juicy and delicious every year. It’s so worth the effort the day before and the morning of!
Speaking of effort the day before, one thing that I learned when I cooked my first ever big holiday meal was to prep as much stuff in the days leading up to the bid day as possible. This makes the morning of far less hectic and more enjoyable. I often chop up all of my onions, garlic and other veggies the night before which saves me a ton of time the next day. In addition to prepping some of the veggies for casseroles and stuffing, I will also get a head start on some of the pies and other desserts. This year I also plan on prepping my mom’s overnight breakfast casserole the night before that way I can throw it in the oven early Thanksgiving morning and we’ll have something to tide us over until it’s dinner time.
Speaking of ‘dinner time’ what time do you all typically eat your Thanksgiving meal? Ever since I was young we’ve almost always ate anywhere from 2-4 p.m. but we have always called it a dinner. Another tradition that my family has always had was that the man of the house always carves the turkey! This gives Schoen something to do while I’m busy making the final touches to our menu lineup. Another thing that always always goes down in our house (and at my parents house) while the turkey is being carved is a bunch of begging dogs are at my Dad and Schoen’s feet. Their eyes are often glued to the floor willing for a large piece of turkey to hit the ground. They always luck out and get to taste test the bird!
After we’ve eaten our Thanksgiving meal and have gone back for seconds (and thirds) the remainder of our evening is usually spent relaxing around the house, watching football and chatting over some cocktails.
One family tradition that I’ve carried over from when I was younger is that our Christmas decorations start going up the days following Thanksgiving. The first thing to go up is usually the Christmas tree. I feel like our whole house in instantly transformed as soon as the tree is up. It gives me all the warm fuzzies.
Roxie is always confused when our tree goes up because she things the tree skirt is one of her blankets. We don’t have the heart to make her move, so she usually deems it her property until presents begin to appear underneath it.
There is nothing like ending a long Thanksgiving weekend in front of a lit Christmas tree with a glass of good red wine.