It’s finally that time of year again—time for Thanksgiving. Out of all the holidays, Thanksgiving has always been my favorite for countless reasons. For starters, it’s during my favorite season—autumn. I love the cool, crisp weather and the changing of foliage from green to shades of orange, red, and golden yellow. I love going to apple orchards and pumpkin patches on the hunt for the perfect fall produce. I also love bundling up in my favorite scarves and sweaters—fall fashion is what I look forward to most each year. There is just something so warm and cozy about the season and everything it entails.
Those few autumnal things alone would be enough to set the scene for my favorite holiday, but then you add in three more of my favorite Thanksgiving traditions, which gives you, undeniably, the best holiday. My Thanksgiving celebrations have changed quite often over the years— between celebrating with different family members in different cities, being away at college or living away from family, traveling to see my husband’s family in England (where they don’t celebrate Thanksgiving), or having our Thanksgiving celebration at our own home with our little ones, it seems our Thanksgiving is always changing. Thankfully, these three things have become longstanding traditions in our home—family, food, and football.
We love celebrating with as much family as we can. Nothing brings more joy to me than being with my family over any holiday, but especially this one. A favorite memory of mine was when my husband and I lived in our first condo and my dad and brother, along with his family, all came to stay because I was eight months pregnant and couldn’t travel for the holiday. We cooked a whole Thanksgiving feast right there in our little condo including turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, and pumpkin pie. We didn’t even have a dining room table, so we ate around the coffee table and used our work desk as the buffet table. Afterwards, we went to do Black Friday shopping in hopes of snagging a few more baby items. The next day we went to the beloved Chicago Christkindlmarket in Wrigleyville. It’s one of my favorite Thanksgiving memories.
The next thing we always seem to be able to find on Thanksgiving no matter where we are is a football game. My husband is passionate about football, both English and American, so catching the game, or even tossing around a football outside, always brings joy to our day! It’s the best when it’s our favorite team, the Green Bay Packers, but my family will watch football no matter who is playing. It’s something we all bond over, especially my dad and husband, and, quite honestly, it makes the best background for taking that post-thanksgiving-meal nap!
Speaking of Thanksgiving meals, that’s probably the reason why most people love Thanksgiving—all the food! Of course, there is the traditional roasted turkey, stuffing, sweet potato casserole, and cranberry sauce, but my hands-down favorite Thanksgiving food is my Grandma’s Pumpkin Pie. I have tried countless times to recreate it on my own, but I feel like it never comes close to when my grandma makes it fresh in her kitchen. I’ve been in love with that pie since before I can remember. When I was little, my grandma would take the leftover ingredients and make me my very own personal mini pie. And, of course, she was always gracious with the whipped cream topping. The funniest part about it is that when I asked my grandma for a copy of her recipe, she said she didn’t have one and that she first made it using the recipe that comes on the canned pumpkin can.
Those three reasons have given me so many wonderful Thanksgiving memories to look back on and always remind me of one other reason, probably the most important, that I love Thanksgiving so much—because it is always a time I can stop and reflect on all that I’m so extremely grateful in my life. 2020 has been a harder year than I think anyone expected it to be. I could go on and on about the hardships people have faced, myself included, but on Thanksgiving, I always try to take life into perspective and show gratitude for all the blessing my family and I have. We are truly lucky to be able to come together with our loved ones, eat copious amounts of food, and watch a football game inside our home. These are often things people take for granted.
So, while I love fall, changing leaves, food, football, and, of course, my family, that’s why I’m truly thankful for Thanksgiving—because it gives me the opportunity to truly reflect on all the blessings in my life and remember to appreciate each and every one.