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I wrote at length and in detail earlier this week about how much I cherish Thanksgiving, but I was thinking later on that my concept of “Thanksgiving” is not limited to The Meal. I also love the eve of Thanksgiving, when our best friends come into town to watch “Planes, Trains, and Automobiles” with us. We order delivery, mix up cocktails, and laugh at the same jokes every year. And sometimes Thanksgiving night — watching the first of the Christmas movies, poking around in the fridge for a sandwich improvised of leftovers — is the best part of the affair. But I especially love the morning of Thanksgiving, when we put on the Macy’s Parade and SPEAK IN EXCLAMATION POINTS when Santa appears on screen during the finale. For years now, I have made cinnamon rolls for the morning of Thanksgiving. During the pandemic, I made them from scratch, using the Stella parks recipe, but most years, I unapologetically use the classic Pillsbury roll and there is something perfect and nostalgic about it, especially on a day already-dense with cooking and preparations. I love the feel of that morning — Mr. Magpie and I prepping parts of the dinner over coffee, usually with a puzzle spread out across the counter to linger in front of when we need a break; the children watching the Parade in their socks and pajamas. We don’t usually permit the TV to be on for hours on end, but all bets are off on Thanksgiving: the Parade, the Westminster Dog Show, the Charlie Brown movies, football. All part of the soundtrack of Thanksgiving.
A few other thoughts on Thanksgiving morning at home:
01. As mentioned above, I love having a puzzle out. It’s a great way to pause between cooking sprints, and family/friends always love to gather idly around it, sipping champagne or coffee or what have you. I love the ones from Cavallini and Pomegranate. Exceptional quality and such cool designs. I also love putting out a holiday theme one — this one is one of my favorites, year after year. Not as challenging as Cavallini/Pomegranate, but so nostalgic. Mr. Magpie also surprised me the other day when he was out of town and had this puzzle delivered to me! Saving it for Thanksgiving morning. (This one would also be great).
02. I also like to have activities for the children on hand, since it’s handy to have them preoccupied as we flit around getting dinner ready. A few ideas…1) I love themed sensory kits (and have a whole post on sensory play here). Play doh is a good base that needs limited supervision, which I advise strongly over the fake snow and Christmas scene I put out last year (which they enjoyed but did make a mess). You can assemble yourself or buy them pre-fabbed on Etsy (see here and here). 2) Some years, I raid Michael’s/Target for all of their little holiday themed kids — stuff like this, this, this, and this are great, and you can use the finished products as tabletop decor on the childrens’ table. 3) My children are forever sticker obsessed. Fun to trot out the first of the Christmas themed options with surprises like this, this, and this. 4) I ordered a pack of these crowns last year and have enough left over for this year! The children loved decorating these for themselves and family members. They zhushed theirs up with gem stickers. 5) Another fun family activity that children/parents/aunts/grandparents can come and go from: a big coloring poster or coloring roll spread out on the ground with a fresh case of markers.
03. I’ve worn a tartan nap dress over a tissue turtleneck the past few years while cooking on Thanksgiving — comfortable and festive, and always with slippers and an apron* — and love to have my children wearing something comfortable but festive, too. This year, they’ll be wearing Minnow: my daughter has this dress (seen above and mini approved: not starchy/scratchy) and my son has a pair of the knit pants and matching sweater. (*On the apron front: I bought Mr. Magpie a Hedley & Bennett apron a few years ago for Christmas and he LOVES it. He wears it every time he cooks! I still make use of an old pink W-S one my mom gave me maybe two decades ago. I love that they offer the aprons in kids’ sizes in case your children want to get involved in the kitchen. And on the slipper front: I absolutely wore these Birdies into the ground and had to throw them away. They are SO comfortable and I like the slightly elevated look. This year I’ll be wearing these.)
04. We like to have something light and uncomplicated on hand for lunch (if anything at all) since we eat dinner so early (at 4 PM). Our ideal lunch is a bowl of homemade soup, thawed out from the freezer. (This is one of my favorites — make some time in the next few weeks and freeze a batch for lunch on Turkey Day.) If you’re local to D.C., you might buy some Shore Boys cream of crab soup and freeze until the day-of. You can usually find it at Arrowine in Arlington, V.A. It is SO good.
05. I don’t usually buy the children dedicated Thanksgiving pajamas, but there are some cute “fall/Thanksgiving” options out there this year: these turkeys, these squirrels, these leaves, these foxes.
What are your Thanksgiving morning traditions? Do you have any? One year, I’d love to layer in a morning walk in fall foliage!
P.S. Fall outerwear for littles.
P.P.S. If you’ve not yet answered these icebreakers…please do! They’re designed to be asynchronous and I love going back to read the new entries.
P.P.P.S. Love the concept that we aren’t wedded to 24 hour cycles.