HAPPY THANKSGIVING! – Marilyn Armstrong, with Photos by Garry Armstrong

November 28, 2019 – Happy Thanksgiving


I couldn’t do this on Thanksgiving. The day was spent with family and chopping things for Waldorf Salad (https://wp.me/p2bT5l-1d8VE1), a roast leg of lamb, baked potatoes (which didn’t get eaten, still in the fridge), little potatoes cooked with the roast (they did get eaten), hot rolls, and green beans.

With fresh apple cider. There were apple pie and strawberry rhubarb pie for dessert — but we didn’t make it to dessert, either.


We passed along the apple pie and have been enjoying the strawberry-rhubarb pie. We sent leftovers, and today, with the last piece of lamb, I made a great little lamb curry. I have to admit, the curry is my favorite part of the lamb. All those yummy spices. Oh, and the salad went over very well.

I was too busy to take pictures, but Garry picked up the camera and here are a few. There were only four of us in the end. Sandy had to work. Healthcare workers often have to work on holidays. So do reporters, fire-fighters, police and, of course, retail workers.

Garry always worked on Thanksgiving until after we got married, but took Christmas off. Now we are both just plain OFF. All the time.

Gotta love retirement.

THE POINT OF THE HOLIDAY IS GRATITUDE – Marilyn Armstrong

I know that theoretically “Thanksgiving” is about gratitude. Personally, I think it’s much more about overeating than gratitude, but call me skeptical. At age 72, I’ve can remember probably 50 to 60 Thanksgiving dinners and while none of them were particularly unpleasant or angry, (no hostile relatives and no arguments allowed), none of them celebrated anything except food and sometimes, getting to see people you only saw once or twice a year during holidays.


It’s really not my favorite holiday. Firstly, I’m not fond of turkey. The small ones taste better, but are hard to find unfrozen. The big ones take so long to cook, by the time they are done they taste like stuffed dust. So we usually have something else.

It used to be ham, but recently it has been lamb. This year, we aren’t sure. Owen says if they don’t have the right size piece of lamb, he’ll get some kind of beef roast. Garry pointed out that neither of us eats very much, so try not to get into a bankruptcy level of food. (NOTE: It’s lamb!)


We bought a couple of pies — a Dutch apple and a Strawberry-Rhubarb, plus little rolls that need to be baked and a gallon of apple cider. I’m thinking of getting some apples and celery and adding all my walnuts with a bit of sour cream and mayonnaise. Surprise the crowd with something different.

It’s not much of a crowd, but it’s the whole family.

Moving on to music, the hymn du jour is “We Gather Together.” Why do I like the song? Well, the words of the hymn were changed and it became my High School’s “song.” It always made me laugh every time I was supposed to be singing the hymn. Somehow, my high school’s song popped up.

So I’m not particularly sentimental about the holiday. It’s hard for me to celebrate eating when I eat so little, but it is a chance to actually get everyone together on the same day, same time, same station.


And I still say that anyone who wants to work on any holiday should feel okay about it. Not everyone has a family with whom to celebrate — or a family with whom they want to celebrate. For many people, it’s an opportunity to make a little extra money and in a many families, overtime is a big deal.

Stop warning me how I should care more about the holiday. I’m glad there IS a holiday, but as far as how one celebrates? I’m in favor of complete freedom. Complete personal freedom. I really believe in it. And frankly, as a non-Christian? I’m extremely tired of being ordered around by Christians who believe they own the road to god. Until God tells me him or herself, it’s just someone else’s opinion.

SHARE MY WORLD: ALMOST THANKSGIVING — Marilyn Armstrong

Share Your World –11-26-19


What did you have for dinner last night?

Baked chicken in lemon sauce with rice.

Would you rather go out on a Saturday night or stay in?

We are retired. If we go out, we’ll do it any night we feel well enough to go. Also, less traffic during the week.

How are you, truthfully?

Better than I was and I hope even better tomorrow.

What’s the best topping/ice cream combination?  If you don’t eat ice cream, what’s your favorite combination dessert?  

I like ice cream. Plain or in a cone, though my favorite is a vanilla ice cream sandwich. Pretty simple I guess.

Share Your Gratitude with a thought (quote), a picture or a short paragraph. 

Under repair

Through the generosity of beloved friends, we were able to get rid of a badly rotted door, insulate and seal the front door, and put up gutters so that next year we will still have a roof. I will never stop being grateful. Without their help, we’d be in big trouble. And there was enough to pay for at least a quarter of the price of the gutters.

I have the best friends in the whole world.

sywautumn

SHARE YOUR WORLD 11-12-2019 – Marilyn Armstrong

Sharing My World – 11/12/2019

Questions:

Is copying and pasting images or information from the Internet considered plagiarism?  

Yes. Absolutely.

Do you credit those whose work you ‘borrow freely’ or do you think the idea is repugnant?  

First of all, do you steal from your friends and think it’s okay? How about stealing from casual strangers? Is that okay? Because “the idea is repugnant” doesn’t cut it. Plagiarism is ILLEGAL. Period.

If you didn’t write it and you are copying it, it is plagiarism and it doesn’t matter where you got it. You can’t always find out who wrote stuff and when you can’t find any evidence of the author, there’s nothing you can do about it. But if you are taking it from Wikipedia or any blog, you need to give them credit for authorship. Even if you are just using a piece from someone’s blog, you should give them at the very least, a link and a shout-out.

Plagiarism IS a crime. If you are a non-profit blog and you give credit, most people are okay with that. If you make a profit-making organization, you may have to pay to use the material. If you can’t pay the price, don’t use the material.

If you are using a photograph, at the very least, do NOT remove the author’s signature. I don’t mind people using my pictures, but I really resent when they remove my signature as if no one took the picture. That is insulting.

Do you let sleeping dogs lie?

If they aren’t barking, oh sleep my darlings. Sleep.

What’s the strangest pet name (for adults) that you’ve ever heard someone called?

Pagan – Ch. Goose Creek’s Dancing In The Dark

I’ve heard so many, I really can’t remember them all. Although the dog we got whose name was Pagan. Her registered name was Goose Creek Ch. Dancing in the Dark, but everyone called her Pagan was a favorite.

Do you like to dance?   If yes, what’s your favorite and if no, why not?

I was never a good dancer, but I could get up and not totally make a fool of myself. I really wish I’d been better.

Gratitude Question:

November brings Thanksgiving to Americans.  I know Canada celebrates Thanksgiving too, but I believe it’s in October.   Does your country celebrate a similar holiday?   If you’d like, share some traditions you observe around Thanksgiving or if you don’t celebrate Thanksgiving, what are some traditions you have?

We get together as a family and have dinner. We do it because everyone feels they need to do something. But I’m not sentimental about it and if it doesn’t happen, I’m okay with that, too. I’m also good with pizza for dinner and a good movie.

SHARING THE WORLD, THANKSGIVING EDITION – Marilyn Armstrong

Share Your Thankful World


Are you an Early to bed, early-to-rise person, a night owl, and daytime sleeper-dozer, or an ‘I’ll sleep when I’m dead’ person?   

Age has made me reconsider the idea of sleep. I need to get some or I just can’t function.

Now, if only I could give up on reading at night … I go to bed early enough, but then, there’s that book.

What are some misconceptions about your hobby, should you have a hobby?

People think I’m a lot better a photographer than I am. I do take pretty pictures, but I don’t process them nearly as well as others do. I’m not even in the same class.

No matter what anyone tells you, a good eye does not overcome quality issues.

A penguin walks through the door right now wearing a sombrero. What does he say and why is he here?    

He has come bearing cruise tickets. He is our lottery vacation Penguin.

Aliens have landed. Do they come in peace?

I doubt it. They landed? They have an agenda. Maybe it’s benign, but until I know what they want, I’m being really careful.

I play with robots! Especially Robbie.

Really really careful.

What are you really, incredibly thankful for this week?

Garry’s ears are good and my son is doing Thanksgiving. Hallelujah!

 

WORLD SHARING … IS IT ALMOST THANKSGIVING? – Marilyn Armstrong

Share Your World 11-15-18


What’s the most ironic thing you’ve ever witnessed?

I’m not sure that “ironic” is the right word here. Twice I’ve been in dangerous places and the dangerous people carefully got me to a safe place, but that’s not ironic. Just … surprising.

Let’s talk turkey.  Pro or con?   If pro, which part do you enjoy most?  Is it for Thanksgiving (American Style anyway) only?

I think I’ve had more turkey than I ever wanted. Part of it is that I like dark meat and there’s almost no dark meat on turkeys these days. It’s all white meat. Too dry. I spent a lot of years of eating over-cooked turkey. The bigger the turkey, the dryer it was.

Lots of joints on this former turkey!

Some could have been ground up and used for beach sand. Even fresh, unfrozen turkey became food I was required to eat. I always liked the side dishes better than the turkey, especially cranberry sauce. And the pies! Actually, just give me the cranberry sauce and a side of three or four pieces of pie.

If you’d like, share one thing you wish you’d said to someone else, but now you’ll never have the chance.

Call it failing memory. I don’t remember anything. I don’t have a single thing I wish I’d said because either I don’t remember if I said it — and if I do, I don’t know what would have happened had I said something else. The future is a mystery.

What odd smell do you really enjoy?

I have almost no sense of smell, but if I stick my nose into a rose, that’s nice. I guess that isn’t odd unless you find a bee in there.

Thankful November … share a story or time when someone did something really great for you.  Alternatively,  share your gratitude moments during this past week.

Leaves are everywhere!

My son hired a cleanup crew to get the leaves out of the yard. I feel downright blessed!

ROLL BACK THE CALENDAR! I’M NOT READY! – Marilyn Armstrong

RDP Wednesday – Not the Holidays again!


“Oh no,” I cried. “Not again!”

Bad enough that summer was nothing but a giant rainstorm … but it’s November and you know what that means! Holidays. I am even more unready for holidays as I am for finding someone to clear the millions of leaves off our property, much less having them mix with tons of snow. Arghh!

It will be a Christmas tree. At Christmas.

My son decided to not do Thanksgiving this year. It’s the first time we’ve ever lived near each other and not “done” Thanksgiving and he was a bit apologetic.

“Not to worry,” I said. He got an invitation to go to the Cape and enjoy someone else’s cooking. I congratulated him. I pointed out he might learn to enjoy not making a giant feast. We’ll do a get-together Christmas Eve and open our mini-gifts, which is what we give.

I have a tabletop fake (but it looks real) tree with decorations already on it.  It has lights, too. It lives in the guest room in a big black bag. Every year, I remove the bag, carry the tree to the living room, and plug it in.

Voila! Christmas.

I cook something on Christmas Eve for whoever is coming by. No one except Owen bothers to tell me they are coming. I think my granddaughter is hoping for a better offer.

We don’t buy “real” gifts. No big packages greatly reduce Christmas visits. I give better gifts for birthdays. One gift to one person — I can get something they may actually want. Garry and I give each other stuff all the time anyway. As for me, we’ve already got far too much stuff.

Christmas Day, Garry and I watch boring old movies during which they sing “White Christmas” and Garry always points out that it’s racist. Then we eat something, which this year, might be frozen pizza.

When I was a mere lass, the Thanksgiving through Christmas holiday season was a big deal. Mostly that grew out of being raised “atheistically Jewish.” That meant no celebration. No decorations. I always felt left out. When I married “out,” I was delighted to finally get a piece of the holiday.

November through a sunny window

But then, everyone, including my granddaughter, grew up. I realized we didn’t need a huge tree taking up half the living room nor did I need to go into five years of credit debt to buy stuff no one seemed to care about.

These years, the Holidays are stripped to the minimum. Enough so my little tree looks pretty — and takes less than 10 minutes to set up. Garry and I buy each other something small. This year, I think I’ll get him a Red Sox sweatshirt. He will buy me flowers because he figures if I wanted it, I’ve probably already bought it.

What a relief!

PLEASE DON’T PASS THE TURKEY – Marilyn Armstrong

For the past few years, there has been an increasing clamor to make everything shut down for Thanksgiving, supposedly so everyone can spend time with their family. Nice, well-meaning sentiment, on the face of it. Except for all the people who don’t have families with whom to celebrate. Or who are estranged from (or just plain don’t like) their family.

What about them? Are you making their lives better? Do they want the day off? Did you ask any of them?

Then, there are Native Americans who don’t want to celebrate the arrival of armed Europeans who would steal their land, infect them with diseases, and try to murder them. They don’t feel this is something to celebrate. Or the struggling families who count on extra money from working holidays to help them survive.

Everyone doesn’t celebrate the same way. Or want to. Some folks prefer to work on holidays. They would rather earn some money than sit around their empty rooms feeling left out of America’s favorite dinner party — and maybe they need the extra pay.

Or they don’t like Thanksgiving, for whatever reason. It is their right to feel that way.

I understand the sentiment. To me, it’s one more example of how we try to force everyone to march in lockstep as if we are all the same or at the very least, we all should be the same. Above all, we should want to be identical.

I would appreciate it if the righteous folks would shut up already.

This is a diverse country. That’s not just something we say during an election year. It’s a real thing.

As a nation, we supposedly treasure diversity as much as any other freedom. So let’s leave a little room for people to express their differences as well as their similarities, shall we?

We do not all need (or want) to eat turkey, with or without gravy. I bet if you ask the turkey, they definitely would like to skip the holiday.

MEMORIES OF MAO

Long ago in a land far away, we had a Siamese cat. Mao — “cat” in Chinese. I don’t know if that’s Mandarin, Cantonese or some other dialect, but it was a good name.

English: A two-year-old seal point "tradi...

We got Mao as a tiny kitten. From day one, he was a feisty, chatty cat.  He was also our first cat, which his name reflected. Mao Ee (Cat 1). There were, of course, many more cats over the decades, in all the houses in I’ve called home (except this one where it has been only dogs). Regardless, there was never another cat like Mao.

When we traveled, friends took care of our house. I was a great grower of plants back then. Feeding the cats was one part of the job … but watering the 200 plus plants was — or should have been — the bigger task. Frank — best friend’s husband — was often tasked with house care in our absence. Mao was a thinking cat. A logical cat. He decided we were gone because Frank had driven us away. If Mao could drive Frank away, we would come home.

Therefore, when Frank came to the house to feed and water cats and plants, Mao attacked him. I don’t mean a little pounce, a playful swat. It was all out warfare. Mao crouched in shadows and attacked, all 20 claws outstretched, going for gore. Poor Frank loved cats and he and Mao had always gotten along fine. He had no idea why Mao was out to get him.

The moment we came back, Mao was back to normal, friend to the world. He had obviously been right. We were back … ergo, it must have been because he drove The Invader (Frank) away. Logical, yes?

After that, Mao attacked everyone who took care of the house in our absence. He was the terror of Our Crowd. It got increasingly difficult to get someone to take care of things while we were gone.

The years moved on and Mao moved with us. There were children, jobs, bigger houses, dogs. Life. We held celebrations … big Thanksgiving dinners. One memorable occasion, we had a full house including a dozen and half people and featuring a huge turkey. When the turkey was roasted, I put it out on the counter to set while I moved food in the dining room and greeted arriving guests.

Thanksgiving006

I wasn’t gone 10 minutes. When I got back to the kitchen, Mao was on the counter, finishing off a drumstick. Its remains were still attached to the turkey — a ragged, conspicuously gnawed hole. Not the presentation I had in mind.

The husband and I consulted. We agreed and served the bird as it was.

“What happened to the turkey,” asked friends and family.

“Mao got it,” I said.

“Oh,” they said. “Pass the bird.”

It was a good Thanksgiving. Mao was some cat.

SATISFIED

Thanksgiving went well. With all the landmines we could have stepped on, we didn’t. No one did. It was mellow, the food was good. The company was pleasant. And despite dire warnings from the weather people, it didn’t snow. A bit of drizzle, but it stayed warm enough to not become ice.

Garry

Garry

Now, it’s the final lap to Christmas and the New Year. Which is easier for me, especially since what little shopping I do (other than wrapping paper which is always my last purchase), is done. There’s a miniature tree waiting for me in the attic, all dressed up just needing to be uncovered and set in place.

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Just a few pictures from yesterday. Taken before dinner, so everyone was less sated — and sleepy — as they would be after consuming the big ham, the lamb, and all those lovely trimmings.

Dave

Dave

Kaity

Kaity

We left relatively early. The dogs needed feeding and I was much more tired than the amount of effort I had put into the day seemed to warrant. I’m not sure why, not even today. Owen did 95% of the work, so why was I exhausted? I often think the anticipation of events and the emotional effort we put into trying to make sure everything goes well is as tiring — more tiring? — than physical work. Even “good” stress is stress.

SATED | THE DAILY POST

THANKSGIVING IS NOT EVERYONE’S HOLIDAY

For the past few years, there has been an increasing clamor to make everything shut down for Thanksgiving, supposedly so everyone can spend time with their family. Nice, well-meaning sentiment, on the face of it. Except for all the people who don’t have families with whom to celebrate. Or who are estranged from (or just plain don’t like) their family, what about them? Are you making their lives better? Do they want the day off? Did you ask any of them?

And then, there are Native Americans who don’t think celebrating the arrival of armed Europeans who would steal their land, infect them with diseases, and try in every way they could to murder all of them, is something to celebrate. Or the struggling families who count on extra money from working holidays to help them survive.

rockwell-thanksgiving-glutton

Everyone doesn’t celebrate the same way. Or want to. Some folks prefer to work holidays. They would rather work than sit around their empty rooms feeling left out of America’s favorite dinner party and maybe need the extra pay. Or they don’t like Thanksgiving, for whatever reason — and it is their right to feel that way.

I understand the sentiment, where it’s coming from. To me, it’s one more example of how we try to force everyone to march in lock step. As if we are all the same or at the very least, we all should be. Above all, we should want to be.

I would appreciate it if you righteous people would shut up already. This is a diverse country. That’s not just something we say during an election year. It’s a real thing. As a nation, we supposedly treasure diversity as much as any other freedom. So let’s leave a little room for people to express their differences as well as their similarities, shall we?

We do not all need (or want) to eat turkey. With or without gravy.

COME YE FAITHFUL PILGRIMS COME …

Thanksgiving is getting to be less and less of a big day around here. As family fragments and rearranges, and partners change, the bloom is off the rose, so to speak. To be fair, I was never passionate about turkey. A day of gorging has not been a great pleasure for quite a while. It used to be the day to see people I didn’t see the of the rest of the year, but that has fizzled.

Thanksgiving is a huge meal my son is preparing and we are invited to share. And that’s good. I wish it felt like it meant more. I’m trying to dredge up a bit more enthusiasm. My holiday spirit seems to have gone walkabout.

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Keeping this reality in mind, here are Cee’s questions for the week:

What are you grateful for — about:


Your home life?

That I’ve got Garry and he has me. And the dogs. We have a home and I’m grateful for it.

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Your family?

What few remnants of family remain, I’m grateful we are still in touch and on good terms.

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Your blogging community?

So many smart, talented people! Love you all!

Your city or immediate area in which you live?

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Keep the rivers flowing, the flowers growing. May the woods and fields thrive and there be a spring after the long winter is done.

The regional area in which you live?

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New Englanders. Can’t fool them. We knew who was a fraud, who was real. We may have some harsh weather to deal with, but we don’t have a lot of fools.

The country where you live?

Let me put a pin in this one for the moment. I’m terribly disappointed in my country. And sad. We are supposed to be the nation that other nations admire and look up to. Guess not any more, eh? I hope we find our way back to ourselves.

You?

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I’m here. Not dead yet!

Optional Bonus question:  What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up? 

These days, I’m just glad to have survived last week and made it into this one.

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Grateful for the lovely weather last week. I’ll get back to you on next week. And other things.

CEE’S SHARE YOUR WORLD

share your world cee banner

FIRST CLOSE ENCOUNTER OF THE EARLY KIND

CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE EARLY KIND

photography BY BOB MIELKE

Garry was very gentle. He barely touched my shoulder. I was sleeping lightly … because I knew we had to get up early this morning.

Already dressed in black, Bonnie is ready to go.

A dawn encounter with a clogged toilet had seen to the light sleep, but also, we have a funeral to attend. A neighbor to see off into the next stop in the cycle … and we needed coffee first.

And had to give the dogs a little love before we go racing out of the house.

For once, it’s not a long journey. Just down the street. Don’t need a GPS or map. Show up looking reasonably put together. Merely a left out of the driveway, and keep going until we cross the rickety bridge into Rhode Island. Then look for the stone church on the right side with the white steeple.

Photo: Bob Mielke - Kaity dressed as ... ? Happy Bird Day!

My real morning encounter is Garry. Gently letting me know it’s time to get myself out of the warm huddle of blankets and dreams and hit the floor.

Garry and Bonnie "have a moment" while the turkey cooks

72-Kitchen-DoggiesGarry does this well. He is a very soft waker-upper. No loud noises, no rousing choruses of anything. So I do not leap from the bed and try to tear his throat out. Because I love him, though early in the morning, I generally do not love anyone until after coffee.

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Not him, not the dogs, not those endless telephone solicitors who seem to believe against all evidence to the contrary that they can actually sell me something before I’ve had my coffee.

Chef Owen, master of turkey

Chef Owen, master of turkey

Hello world. It’s black Friday, the day of the ultimate sales …and I’m done with my Christmas shopping. Except for the wrapping and some tree decorations. We’ve navigated Thanksgiving and the flow of life is rushing us to Christmas.

If we both keep body surfing the wave, I think we’ll make it. Time is rushing towards us and we merely have to stand still while it engulfs us.

A NORMAN ROCKWELL THANKSGIVING

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For those of you who think Norman Rockwell only painted idealized images, he didn’t. His idealized images are the most popular, but he painted many other, hard-edged pictures. If you’re in the neighborhood of Stockbridge, Massachusetts, I recommend the Norman Rockwell Museum.

It’s a particularly American experience. I especially love this Thanksgiving cover for Life Magazine — reminding us that the Pilgrims were a humorless bunch. Not the kind of people I’d like to know.

Indian corn in kitchen window

They wouldn’t approve of our traditional Thanksgiving, not one little bit. I don’t think you’d want them at your table and they would not be thrilled to be there, either.

I enjoy Thanksgiving. The idea of it. It’s good there’s a day dedicated to gratitude. And eating too much, visiting with family and friends. But — you knew there was going to be a “but” didn’t you? — I am frequently reminded there are people who don’t have a family. Others who don’t have much to celebrate. And of course Native Americans, who on the whole, don’t find Thanksgiving a reason to rejoice.

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So, while we are consuming our dinners and enjoying our family, please give a thought to those who aren’t celebrating. Can’t celebrate. Are disinclined to celebrate. We do not all have to celebrate the same way.

Enjoy your holiday. Your way.

AFTER THE TURKEY

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I’ve learned a lot over the years. By my calculation, this is my 49th year of making Thanksgiving, not counting a few years when I was a guest at someone else’s table.

I remember when the torch passed and my parents no longer wanted the job. Suddenly, they were just as happy to eat my food. I knew at the time this was a significant change in our relationship, that something important had changed.

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Since then — 40 years later — I’ve been making holidays. Although my son does the cooking, or most of it anyhow, he still doesn’t know how to make the holiday. How to set a table, figure out which dishes to use. Which flatware. Whether or not to put out the “good” glassware (but unlike me, he knows on which side the forks go versus the knives).

And despite them being among the easiest recipes in the world, no one but me can make the cranberry sauces.

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Things I’ve learned after 49 years of family dinners:

  1. Don’t get a big centerpiece. It takes up too much room and will be in the way when people are trying to converse.
  2. Not only do place settings not have to match, making each setting different is a very cool “look” (though I didn’t do it this year).
  3. No matter how many people you have coming to dinner, there will be much more food than even the hungriest crowd can possibly consume.
  4. Don’t save the mashed potatoes. No one is going to eat them.
  5. The turkey will be fully cooked at least an hour before your calculations say it will.
  6. If you cook the turkey to an internal temperature of 180 degrees, it will taste like sawdust and no amount of gravy will make a difference.
  7. Buy a fresh turkey, not a frozen one. It’s worth it. Fresh turkey tastes so much better!
  8. Put a clear plastic cover over your good tablecloth. Your guests won’t mind and gravy does not come out completely, no matter what formula you use to treat the stains.

When I’m feeling ambitious, I get more creative with table settings. I have a lot of “fiesta ware,” bright, solid-color dishes that mix and match with other pottery. I’ve given away my 16-place-setting porcelain. Storing it took up more space than I was willing to devote to something I used maximum twice a year.

I don’t buy expensive stemware. It’s not that kind of crowd.

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I don’t bother to point out no one is going to eat that much food. Don’t mention that nine pies for seven guests is a bit much. My daughter-in-law is Italian. I’m Jewish. My husband is Black. Excessive food is a cultural and genetic mandate. Please eat. Please overeat. If you don’t leave the table feeling slightly ill from over-consumption, I haven’t done my job.

The good news? I can put together a nice looking holiday table in under 20 minutes. Add on another half hour because I have to wash everything. I haven’t used it since last Christmas and dust will have its way. Still, that’s pretty good.

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Gone are the big floral displays, the fragile serving dishes. The stemware broke and was never replaced. Ditto the serving dishes. A nice table is welcoming. A super fancy, overwhelmingly elegant table is less so and can be off-putting.

Less fuss means I don’t end the holiday exhausted and cranky. I might just survive through Christmas. Imagine that!