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Holiday thread

The leftovers have been stored (or eaten), the best china cleaned and put away, the family come and gone, photographs snapped to share. Our house Transformed over the Thanksgiving weekend from its fall harvest wear to its Christmas finery.

When I was a child, the holidays felt far apart. They were stand-alone oases in a wide, barren plane of ho-hum days. As an adult, those days slip by so fast that the holidays seem connected. Especially the fall holidays seem to meld Halloween into Thanksgiving, Thanksgiving into St. Nicholas Day into Christmas into New Years, and on into my birthday at the end of January. There is not a day in that stretch that our house is not decorated, lively, and festive, only the color of the embellishments changes.

Thanksgiving for us is a whole weekend affair. It's a holiday of family and food and laughter, a celebration of these things we value most greatly, and it starts with ordering pizza. What does pizza have to do with Thanksgiving, you might ask? It turns out that the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, Thanksgiving Eve, if you will, is the biggest night for carry-out or delivery pizza all year, bigger even than the Super Bowl. We unwittingly participated in this American tradition a few years ago when I was too tired after baking and cleaning to make dinner, and therein lies the tradition's appeal. We have wittingly participated every since, and dragged the family along on many an occasion.

When we are home, our Thanksgiving morning is spent exchanging our Halloween harvest decorations for the bright reds and greens of Christmas while watching Detroit's Thanksgiving Day Parade. And, when we are home, dinner is still traditionally held by my parents, as when I was young it was held by their parents. My dad's turkey, done on the smoker, is moist and flavorful, and our table is always laden by all the favorites everyone has to offer: gravy, stuffing, squash, cranberry relish, cranberry sauce, beans, wine, and, later, pie, pie, pie.

On Friday this year we ate the curried and aromatic Lamb Genghis Kahn, and on Saturday we had our first ever Thanksgiving weekend cook-off, a battle of Carbonara chefs in our kitchen. But, although it sounds so delicious, the best part about the weekend wasn't the food so much as the company. We shopped together, we played games together, we went out to get our tree together, we cooked together.

And the good news is that we get to do it all again at Christmas, which, regardless of what my impatient young self used to think, is really just around the corner.

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