As is our custom at this time of the year, some of the Here Be Magic authors share their thoughts about Thanksgiving ...
No matter your religious beliefs or nationality, the magic of Thanksgiving is in taking some time to reflect on the good things life has brought you. It’s human nature to focus on the difficulties that crop up, but sometimes we get so bogged down in those that we forget to appreciate having food to eat, a roof over our heads, and friends or family to share a meal. So whether it’s in November with turkey or December with tacos, or whatever, I encourage you to take a day, any day, and forget the struggles for a little while so you can focus on the simple joys of life and laughter.
From Rebecca York:
You don’t have to have Thanksgiving on the real day. Sometimes it means more if you have to shift the date. My son did a couple of tours with the U.S. State Department in Afghanistan, and he told me that Thanksgiving there was a real bust. They had turkey and dressing in the mess hall, but it wasn’t very good. When he got leave and came home in July, I decided to make him and the rest of the family a Thanksgiving dinner.
The biggest obstacle was the turkey. I always have a fresh one, but the only kind I could get in July was frozen. With no idea how early I should have gotten started, I spent a long night with it in a pan of water in the bath tub, with water dripping on it, trying to thaw it quickly. It was ready on time, and we had a wonderful dinner with most of the foods we love, including my sweet potato casserole and a white potato casserole. My husband hates turkey, so I did what I always do for him—baked a ham. The only thing I couldn’t make was fresh cranberry sauce. No cranberries are available in July.
This year I’m buying lots of cranberries and making batches of cranberry orange relish to stock in the freezer, so we can have it any time we want.
The magic of Thanksgiving is...being united with friends and family to share your blessings for another year — and being possessed with the spirit of love during it so you don't harm the ones who drive you bonkers!
From Jax Garren:
The magic of Thanksgiving is... going to be a little different for me this year. My family always gathers as a huge clan to celebrate and eat turkey--or tofurkey, in my vegan sister's case! But this year, after relinquishing the hope of having bio-children, my DH and I get to introduce our two foster daughters to everyone. So in 2012, the magic of Thanksgiving for me is not just gathering with family, but having a family to bring to the gathering. And for my girls, I suppose it's having a safe family to gather with. We all hope that 2013 will see an adoption!
From Ruth A. Casie:
The magic of Thanksgiving for me happens at the dinner table the day after Thanksgiving when I traditionally have our famiIy dinner. There is no secret to my strategy. My children go to their in-laws for Thanksgiving while Paul and I go out for a quiet dinner. Friday I have them all to myself. I plan and cook for days but when I sit down food is the last thing I want. I look around the table at each of them. I revel in how they've grown in body, mind, and spirit. I enjoy their playfulness and banter. We are a close family and while Thanksgiving isn't our only family dinner it's the one where I stop and count my blessings and I'm thankful. Then I get nudged to pass the sweet potato souffle!
From Hilary Jacques:
The magic of November is...snow-covered streets, red cheeks and noses, secret holiday shopping, and cozy, cocoa-filled nights with books.
From Shawna Thomas:
The magic of Thanksgiving is...
For me Thanksgiving brings to mind images and scents that combine into a sense of completeness and security.
Gold and crimson against a sea of pale blue. Cool breezes, children throwing leaves and adults joining in, long walks, a sense of family, intoxicating scents of turkey, onion and way too many pies. Gathering in the kitchen where the warmth from conversation does for the soul what the oven's warmth does for the body. It's carrying on traditions from one generation to the next.
And it's the feeling of blessedness when you stop for a moment and truly consider how much you have to be thankful for.
Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday not just because I love to bake, but because it's not diluted by commercialism. It's still simple. It's about family and those we love who have become family gathering together.
And for those reasons, I think it is a magical time.
From Nicole Luiken:
Canadian Thanksgiving comes in early October--about two weeks too early according to my dad. I grew up on a farm in northern Alberta, and we didn't celebrate Thanksgiving until the crops were all off. (My sister quite horrified her Ontario-born teacher when she told him this.) Sometimes we made it in time for the official holiday and sometimes we were later, but we always had roast turkey, my mom's special hamburger-mushroom-rice dressing and orange whip salad. Yum.