If you live in America, today is Thanksgiving. In honor of this holiday, we thought it would be fitting to do a little Thanksgiving joint post on why we love this holiday so much and why we have so many, many blessings to thank God for today. Like our Favorite Things post, this one will be a series of questions that we will both answer.
What’s so great about Thanksgiving?
Susanna: Everything. Seriously, I just love Thanksgiving. I’ve grown to love it more since living in the UK, where it is not celebrated (obvs). It’s just such a brilliant holiday. No gift-related stress; no activities necessary (other than eating, of course); a four day weekend; and the pleasure of a leisurely meal with your nearest and dearest. Of course, I don’t get the days off over here in London, but I’ve started my own tradition of celebrating the Saturday following (or as close as I can get). This will be my fifth Thanksgiving in London – my fifth year teaching non-Americans the pleasures of a holiday dedicated to food and gratefulness. It’s wonderful.
Rachel: I love Thanksgiving because it’s a low-pressure holiday. At Christmastime, if you made me do breakfast before stockings or let everyone open their gifts at once (a big no-no in my house growing up) I’d pitch a fit. Christmas traditions are set in stone. But with Thanksgiving, there is a flexibility of who and where and what that happens from year to year that makes it both comforting and fresh every year. There are no gifts involved. Just the simple gift of sharing a meal with people you love and pausing to be grateful for your many blessings. And the food is DA BOMB!
What is a Thanksgiving tradition you enjoy?
Susanna: For the past three years, my friends and I have officially inaugurated the Christmas season by enjoying this dance spectacular post-meal while we’re all in a food stupor. It’s a fantastic way officially kick off Christmas, and it’s particularly mesmerizing to watch when you’re feeling so full, you doubt you’ll ever be able to move again.
Rachel: Since we have had kids, we always take a compare-the-baby-to-the-turkey shot on their first Thanksgiving.
What do you love to eat at Thanksgiving?
Susanna: I think my personal fave is stuffing. I love a good sourdough-based stuffing, but last year I did a cornbread stuffing with pecans, apples, sausage and dried cranberries. It was super tasty. I liked it so much that I’m repeating it this year (in addition to a sourdough stuffing, of course!).
Rachel: The entire meal is amazing. And I love that for the most part I don’t eat it at other times of the year. A good deep-fried turkey is to die for. As are fresh Brussels sprouts. And sweet potatoes. And of course pies.
What do you love to make for the Thanksgiving meal?
Susanna: I love to bake a pie (or pies), but the dish that always receives the most raves from my guests is a sweet potato recipe that I got from my brother-in-law, Kelly. It’s mashed sweet potatoes with all sorts of yumminess mixed in (cinnamon, cream cheese, honey, brown sugar, etc.) and pecans on top. Basically, it completely destroys any nutritional value in sweet potatoes, but it’s sooooooo good.
Rachel: I have never been famous for making a certain part of the Thanksgiving meal, and there are wonderful pie bakers (that would be you, Susanna) on both sides of my family so I usually don’t do that part. But I do make a mean sweet potato pancake and I think my fresh roasted Brussels sprouts with bacon are pretty delicious.
Name one thing are you especially grateful for this year
Susanna: My visa – not the credit card, but the document that allows me to reside legally in the UK. At the beginning of this year, I returned to London without knowing if I’d be able to stay. Several things had to fall into place to allow me to even apply for a new visa. I am very thankful that God made it possible for me to continue living here for a little while longer. While life in London this year has not always been sunshine and rainbows, I know it would have been incredibly hard to leave.
Rachel: My new wardrobe from IKEA that was purchased by my loving parents as an early Christmas gift. It has added SO much more storage for clothing in our master bedroom and there is even a little space left to put Mickey’s (baby Fix number four’s in-utero nickname) clothes when he arrives. 2013 was to be my Year of Organization and this makes me feel like I’m one step closer to that goal.
Name one person whom you are extra grateful for this year
Susanna: It feels kind of mean to pick just one person, but I’ll go for it. I think this year I am particularly thankful for my friend, Hayley. She doesn’t live in London, so I don’t see her that often, but she is a great friend. She’s super fun, passionate about the Gospel, genuinely hilarious, sympathetic, and uninhibited. I’m grateful for her friendship and how it’s grown this past year, which may have something to do with the fact that we’ve been forced to share a bed on several occasions – not to mention the tandem bicycle.
Rachel: I am thankful for my children and I can’t pick just one. This might seem like a cop-out answer, but I can honestly say that over the Summer I was finding it very hard to feel grateful for them on a day-to-day basis. But through a lot of prayer and a few good books (especially THE good book), I have found a renewed delight in them and I am trying to relish the time I have as a mom-of-three before I have a newborn and I won’t be able to devote as much attention to them as I want to.
Be honest, do you start listening to Christmas music before Thanksgiving?
Susanna: Well I really really really really try not to, but I am not always successful. I will probably listen through the day on Friday/Saturday while I’m cooking. Technically, it is post-Thanksgiving, but I won’t have celebrated yet, and so I will feel a little bit like I’m cheating.
Rachel: Nope. But it is VERY hard for me not to. I made a decision about 5 years ago to embrace ALL Christmas music. Especially the cheesy stuff. And I love to play it all the time when Christmas-time starts. But it does not start until the day after Thanksgiving.
Tomorrow starts the Christmas season – name one pre-Christmas tradition you are looking forward to:
Susanna: Flying home. That’s kind of a lame answer, in that it’s not really a “Christmas” tradition, but I am looking forward to boarding that plane and arriving at good ol’ Dulles Airport. I’m even more eager than usual to get home this year. I can’t wait to hang out with my parents, laugh with my sisters and see all my crazy nieces and nephews. December 14th can’t come fast enough!
Rachel: My husband and I started a tradition of going to the National Christmas tree back when we were dating. We have only missed one year since then — when Rock was three months old and we thought he’d freeze. We have since learned to be much more chill (literally!) parents and bring many more blankets and hot cocoa to keep the wee ones happy. We actually took Gigi when she was only 8 days old! Anyway, I love going down there and freezing my buns off while we walk around and
look at judge the ornaments on the trees from each state until we find our favorite.