For me, the holiday season begins with Thanksgiving. Those left overs are finally gone. Just when I’ve recovered from Thanksgiving it’s time to plan for Christmas and Chanukah.
Paul and I are empty nesters. Our daughters, Staci and Cori, and their families live about thirty minutes away. Our son, Ari and his girlfriend Kate, live in Boston. Each holiday, they all move back home for the weekend. They decided ten years ago, when Ari went away to college in Boston, that we would spend every holiday at our house—all together for the entire weekend. I didn’t argue.
It’s lots of planning and cooking but there are no surprises. They crave the same menu at each holiday, beef brisket and roast leg of lamb (and I mustn’t forget the mint jelly), sweet potato soufflé topped with marshmallows, noodle pudding, salad, roasted green beans and Brussel sprouts. It doesn’t stop there. For breakfast the following morning I make french toast made with challah, an egg bread.
Thanksgiving is Friday at our house. I didn’t ever want to spend Thanksgiving without my children and rather than have them choose whether they spend the day here one year and at in-laws the following year, I opted to celebrate on Friday.
This year, Cori and Chris have a new house and decided they would host both families on Thanksgiving Day. I thought I was ‘home free,’ no cooking. Even though I was bringing the sweet potato soufflé (with the marshmallows) that Chris’ brother and sister LOVE, I was quickly told that Friday at our house was still happening. I really didn’t mind.
Everyone arrived here early. They helped in the kitchen. My granddaughter, Olivia helped bake some cookies and took charge of making the place cards. My grandson, Alex arranged the cards on the table. Cori arrived prepared to make her signature dish, butternut squash soup. While the roast finished, she’s whipping it together. Staci brought mashed potatoes and Kate arrived with a pumpkin pie, brownies and cookies.
Thank goodness they all came with their own plastic containers to take the left overs when they leave. I’ve been known to make extra portions so they don’t leave empty handed.
After dinner Uncle Ari had a headstand battle with Olivia. Alex decided to entertain us with his air guitar and karaoke. We never laughed so hard. We spent lots of time watching movies, playing games and eating.
Saturday was Cori’s baby shower. Her first baby is due mid-February. Staci and Chris’ sister have been planning and making things for months. Since we are all tired from cooking, they had the shower at a catering hall. The afternoon was perfect. The gifts were lovely. Cori was radiant.
Sunday was our big brunch. We divyed up the left overs and everyone packed up. Cori needed to go home and rest. Staci had lesson plans to write and she needed to get the kids to bed early for school. Ari and Kate went back to Boston, but not before planning to bring Kate’s dog Kyia with them when they come back.
It’s quiet now and time to plan. We’ve been online ordering holiday presents. We found a great karaoke machine for Alex. We only have three weeks before the kids will be back and we can do it all over again. Maybe I’ll change up the menu and make chicken or salmon. Naw, why change a good thing. It’s perfect just the way it is.
Happy Holiday everyone!
RUTH A. CASIE is a USA Today bestselling author of swashbuckling action-adventure time-travel romance about strong empowered women and the men who deserve them, endearing flaws and all. Her Druid Knight novels have both finaled in the NJRW Golden Leaf contest. Writing with the Timeless Scribes, Ruth also writes contemporary romance with enough action to keep you turning pages. She lives in New Jersey with her husband, three empty bedrooms and a growing number of incomplete counted cross-stitch projects. Before she found her voice, she was a speech therapist (pun intended), client liaison for a corrugated manufacturer, and international bank product and marketing manager, but her favorite job is the one she’s doing now—writing romance. She hopes her stories become your favorite adventures.
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