We’re walking in the woods this Thanksgiving Day, and autumn has starved the whole landscape of color.
When I look up, I see tree branches stretched toward heaven like coral against a blue sea.
|Tree Branches Like Coral
The branches tangle up in currents of blue and white
|Tangled in the Sky
We’re all down here, swimming in a great blue sea. I’m miniature against an enormous coral reef. I see it in my mind, and the whole story unfolds in color.
The emptiness invites the poetry.
When life seems stark, you get to make the beauty yourself. You feast on the empty.
I find this adorable vegetable platter made to look like a turkey (thank you, Amy Locurto at “Living Locurto” for the great idea), and I can’t resist. After the Boo Platter tradition began, I learned that even my simplest attempts to create whimsical traditions don’t go unnoticed or forgotten.
We arrange bok choy and spinach, then carrots, and then sliced peppers of alternating colors for beautiful feathers. We use cucumbers and then half a green pepper as the face. We improvise with olives and a pepper slice to finish the turkey’s expression. Finally, we use celery for feet.
|Turkey Vegetable Platter
I actually have to force my children to stop eating the vegetables so I can take a photo. Welcome, Turkey Veggie Platter, to our Thanksgiving traditions.
Isn’t it funny how children will eat vegetables made to look like something else?
Even the olives are stuffed at my house today.
The rooms overflow with family–children underfoot, waiting for a feast.
Even the animals are well-fed and comfortable.
What luxury to be stuffed like this.
Even the olives cannot hold more.
I’m frantic about my meatballs.
Extended family will dine next week on spaghetti and meatballs the day before Thanksgiving. I can’t remember what to do, and I want to do it right.
The Italian Mama advises me that I have choices. I can brown the meatballs in olive oil and then cook them in the sauce all day, or I can throw them directly in the sauce. The browning gives a little crunch, but it doesn’t ultimately matter. In her words, we’ll still reach the “goodness inside.”
I can throw them. I can relax and still reach the goodness inside.
For more Italian Mama:
Right now I’m launching into my official Thanksgiving preparations. Imagine all the family driving in. Imagine the rooms to arrange, the week of activities to plan, the house to clean, the meals to prepare.
There’s a way to go about this with flair.
Lately, I’ve been reading and hearing a lot about how to handle Thanksgiving stress. At the same time, I’m reading article after article about how to “Have a Thanksgiving to Impress!”
Does Thanksgiving stress come from what I stress? If I emphasize wanting to impress my guests, my Thanksgiving becomes a performance to evaluate rather than a holiday to enjoy.
I don’t want family members to remember how impressive I was; I want them to remember how loved they felt.
So I’m cleaning my home to make others feel comfortable, not impressed. We’re planning a menu to nourish and celebrate, not impress.
Living with flair means I make preparations in order to love–not impress–those around my table. Suddenly, it doesn’t matter about this old rented house, this tight budget, this simple meal. We’ll hold hands around a thrift-store table and thank God for all we have. You will feel loved, not impressed.
And that will impress you.