Nestled between Halloween and Christmas, two holidays that are all about the kids, Thanksgiving is a day for grown ups. No presents, no special cartoons, just a slow-moving parade, and an obscene amount of food, family, and nostalgia. Lots of people have strong feelings about the correct way to celebrate Thanksgiving, and I will add my two cents today. The right way to celebrate Thanksgiving is exactly how your grandma did it. Exactly. I personally do not load my family in the car at 5pm on Wednesday and drive to my mother’s house through five hours of stand-still traffic to try a new recipe for green bean casserole that she found on Pinterest. No, I go there to eat the exact same meal that I’ve been eating on the fourth Thursday of November for lo these past 33 years, surrounded by my noisy family, and probably seated next to my big sister on the old piano bench at the end of the table.
If you are hosting your first Thanksgiving this year and feel adrift, may I recommend this article, The 10 Laws of Thanksgiving, by Sam Sifton, to guide you on your way? No matter how you celebrate, if you follow these rules, you really can’t go wrong. My favorite is number 10, which is specifically for the host of the meal:
10. As everyone takes a seat and prepares to eat, there is the delicate moment where you or someone at the table should ask for everyone’s attention, and offer thanks to one and all for being present, and for helping out. This is extraordinarily important. It is the point of the entire exercise. William Jennings Bryan wrote, “On Thanksgiving Day, we acknowledge our dependence.” I think that’s just about right.
I completely agree.