If you celebrated Thanksgiving, I hope you had a good time with the food and folks you enjoy.
My husband and I celebrated in our home, which has happened perhaps a total of four times in our married life. So it was a fun treat! I really enjoy staying home for Thanksgiving. We were unable to gather with family or friends this year due to various reasons. Neither of us felt like cooking.
Setting the table with some of the pretty glass dishes passed down from my grandmother and mother made the table festive. Out came our cloth napkins and special dishes.
Late afternoon, we picked up the turkey dinner-to-go at a local restaurant, Black Angus.
We got take-out from Black Angus last year, too. The food was tasty each time. The menu included:
Roasted and sliced turkey (white and dark meat)
Molasses bread with butter
Pumpkin pie and whip cream
The centerpiece candle provided a warm glow, and quiet jazz music played in the background. After dinner, we wrote what we are thankful for on small sticky notes and read them aloud as we added them to a poster.
Since we ordered the family meal for four, we had plenty to provide a meal for my mother-in-law and shared a piece of pie with her at her house when we dropped it off. She was unable to get out this year. We also had leftovers for two more meals for the two of us.
Honestly, getting the take-out meal was probably cheaper than purchasing everything to cook a meal for two at home. This is a great idea for an older couple living at home that doesn’t want to cook and still wants leftovers.
So many ways to celebrate all we have to be grateful for! Even though we are not quite out of the woods with this pandemic.
What was a highlight of Thanksgiving for you this year? Do you decorate for Christmas right away?
Stay charming, my friends. Sending a hug to you. I am thankful for my readers!
If you celebrate Easter, what are your traditions? How have they changed over the years? What do you do now that is fun and meaningful for you that is a recent tradition? Do you find yourself missing loved ones who are not at your table this year? Does your world feel smaller or have traditions that don’t seem to fit the way they once did? Holidays have a way of making the heart long for loved ones and good times gone by. Holidays seem to sharpen the pain of missing others. But let’s not stop there.
I grew up enjoying our family dinners on Easter Sunday. After going to church as a family, dressed up in our new Easter outfits, my mom provided a lovely meal and included some relatives or friends. I carry those fond memories with me to this day, and always miss my parents, especially at holiday times. Thinking back as I write almost puts me in the mood to make a molded jello salad. Almost.
When I married and lived far from my hometown, I spent Easter Sunday dinners with my in-laws. Those times also provide sweet memories of good family fun, such watching young nephews gather eggs from the hunt. We even had an earthquake one year! I still treasure all the rich memories of the past. The family has grown through marriages, relocation, and the arrival of grandchildren. Our get-togethers are more spread out. Yet we make it work.
Traditions bring meaning to our lives. They anchor us in a sense of belonging. Circumstances shift and create opportunities for different Easter Sundays and new memories. Change comes along and invites itself in. Loss and separation flicker in hearts at the holidays, shining a quiet light on pain residing there. When change collides with tradition, we recognize that traditions need to bend. Flexibility is key to joy, especially during this pandemic. Flexibility can permit traditions to get a makeover that welcomes new happy moments.
In addition, Easter Sundays are busy days for many, too. We often help out at our local church until early afternoon. My husband now works on staff at our church, so Easter Sunday is a long day. We still find ways to still enjoy this special and important holiday through good food, conversation, and connection.
At our house, our immediate family is a party of two. I like the traditional Easter dinner, but that looks different now. I am a casual cook and have no interest in preparing a full meal, especially for just the two of us. I look for an easier way.
This Easter, I ordered two “Dinners-to-Go” Easter meals from Alicia’s Cookery & Catering in Brea, California. I picked up the meals Saturday in the early afternoon. What a great dinner for just us two, especially since I am a non-ambitious cook! Here’s what this year’s meal included:
The food was delicious, interesting, and packaged so nicely.
The serving portions were generous.
All I had to do was set the table, heat the items we wanted to be served hot, and plate the food.
The meal was ready in about 15-minutes, saving time and energy for other things.
Clean-up was minimal following the meal since Alicia’s did all the cooking.
I split the food into three different meals: Easter dinner (ham, potatoes, grilled veggies, rolls, and shared one of the salads and a deviled egg), a light supper (fruit, cheese, water crackers, and shared the second deviled egg), and another meal for later this week (soup, the other rolls, and the other salad).
Once I calculated what it might have cost me in time and money for shopping for and preparing a homemade meal, I thought the price was fair. Plus, dividing it into three meals for two people really made the price reasonable.
My leftovers will provide lunch for me this week.
Ordering meals is a great way to enjoy good food for just two people or a single person. It was tasty and convenient with great leftovers. A single meal could also be shared with two people.
A cupcake and two cookies were included in each meal. The desserts lasted several meals, too.
The timing worked out, too. In years gone by, Easter dinner was reserved for right after church on Sunday. That just doesn’t work for us anymore. Easter Sundays are long and packed with church responsibilities. This year we were able to enjoy a traditional Easter dinner on Saturday at 3:00PM as an easy alternative. My husband then went to church to help out with the Saturday 5PM service. This worked out well in a relaxing way.
Another option, depending on pandemic restrictions, is to dine out. For the past couple of years, prior to the pandemic, we’d leave church around 2PM, tired, and ready to eat. Our local family had already eaten. My husband and I headed out to BJ’s Restaurant for a relaxed meal. We never have to wait to be seated. The crowds have thinned out by then. We plop down in a comfortable booth, order, and enjoy a relaxed meal served by someone else. And cleaned up by others, too. My husband usually orders the prime rib. I like to order a mini Sweet Pig pizza and salad. We split a Pizookie. It is also fun to be in a busy dining room with other people out having a good time together.
These new traditions are so different from my memories of Easter Sundays long ago. Yet, with an open mind and the help of prepared meals or restaurants, we eat well and enjoy the time. Maybe we even end up with time for a nap!
Stay open to new traditions, my friends!
P.S. For those without family plans on holidays, I hope this encouraged you. For single friends or those living with just one other loved one, I hope we all continue to find ways to enjoy good food and make holiday traditions meaningful. Let’s avoid comparing our situations to others. Social media is full of photos of bigger family events. We can be happy for our friends enjoying their traditions. We can remember to also find contentment with what we have, to be creative, and to look for blessings around us.
The 4th of July, traditionally, is one of my two favorite holidays. Here are some of the reasons:
Time off work
Fun with family and/or friends
Community traditions: local fireworks shows, concerts in the park, parades, “taste of” events.
No shopping for presents and busting the budget
Decorations are minimal – easy to put up, remove, and store.
We often have a lazy schedule, waking up without an alarm.
It lasts a couple days, not a couple months.
It is not a three-month retail event.
The red, white, and blue theme are so summery.
This Fourth of July was quite different for me.
This year was a much quieter, more subdued event due to three current events. Maybe yours felt different, too. Between the cautions of the pandemic, my greater awareness of what the 4th of July means to Americans with a different experience, and a speech given, I wasn’t sure what the 4th would look like for us, but I knew it would be different.
First, we are in the middle of a pandemic. I felt sad because this holiday would be different due to the “safe at home” order we are following here in California. But I didn’t know exactly how that would work out. We chose to stay home and celebrate with just the two of us. We did not gather with family or friends, share a great holiday meal with a crowd of loved ones, go to the beach, or watch a fireworks event. We spent the day similar to every day for the last 110 plus days. At home. Simple living.
Though bright, sunny, and hot outside, it was clouded for me emotionally. I realized that was OK. I was happy to celebrate the 4th of July, but it was a most unusual set of circumstances this year. It will continue to be one of my favorite holidays, but now with the hope to do better for all people who call the USA home. We will always make the most of it.
Every July, I like to see the American flags flying from local houses as I drive through the neighborhood. This year, our flag was not out front at our home. Don’t judge! We moved our flag to the backyard this year. In the front yard, I rarely saw it, since we don’t go out front much.
With the flag flying in the backyard, we could see it frequently. We enjoyed it when we sat in the backyard and when we looked out from the kitchen or den windows. It was illuminated at night, too, which is proper flag etiquette.
Do you have an American flag? Did you display it at your house for the 4th of July this year? Did you see many on display this weekend in your neighborhood?