Thanksgiving 2014!

Please tell me there are more people out there who just don't totally get into Thanksgiving. It's never been my favorite...mostly because if I had my way, we'd skip straight from Halloween into Christmas. I get inordinately excited when I see the first commercial of the Christmas season...on November 1st. That said, though, I do cherish my family's Thanksgiving traditions! 

This year was a very unorthodox holiday for us. Last year, my grandpa passed away peacefully on Thanksgiving evening, so we were expecting a bit of a weird year this year. Add to that the fact that my little brother, Jonathan, is abroad in Luxembourg, and we at Minneapoliz World Headquarters were down one family member. So we celebrated, just my parents, my sister Em, and me, at our house in remarkably unremarkable fashion. 

My most treasured and incontrovertible Thanksgiving tradition is watching the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. It is SACRED to me...I can never remember if it starts at 8 or 9, so I inevitably set an alarm for 7:30 and then find out it's at 9 (For 2015 reference: YOU DUMMY, IT STARTS AT 9!! SLEEP IN!!!!). I watch the entire thing in my PJs, with a cup of coffee at hand, no breaks. I love the cheesy balloons, making fun of the terrible lip-syncing with Em, and watching the Rockettes and Broadway performances as 34th Street awaits the parade's arrival. My highlight, though? The marching bands. Duh. Did anyone else see the poor Georgia State flagline girl wipe out? Just in case you missed it...

Oh my god, I feel terrible even linking it, let alone thinking it's hilarious, given that poor girl is probably suicidal right now. Here's hoping Ellen has her on her show and gives her a shot at insta-fame. 

We watched the Parade, then the Dog Show, as my mom decorated the house to the nines for Christmas (thank goodness we're not holiday purists around my house!). My dad, in the meantime, prepped a goooorgeous turkey, the process of which I did not photograph because, honestly, raw turkey kind of freaks me out. This year, our turkey was an amputee!! It was missing fully half a wing. I got entirely too emotional thinking about the poor bird's certain mediocre quality of life and sad fate to end up on our table...but on the flip side, his/her wingless inactivity probably led to the deliciously juicy awesome meat we enjoyed. While he cooked, we took turns Facetiming with the little bro, who spent his holiday in Salzburg, Austria, at the oldest restaurant in Europe! Not too bad for a Euro-Thanksgiving!

Adding to our holiday crossover fabulousness: our beautifully set table, again courtesy of my mom. What's not to love about a plethora of candles and Fa-la-la napkins?! 

For good measure, here's last year's table, which was equally stunning. 

We ALWAYS cook the same things for Thanksgiving dinner: aside from the turkey, we have corn pudding, squash soufflé, some kind of autumnal salad, and my dad's amazing wild-rice stuffing. This year, we were considering skipping the mashed potatoes, because really, they're potatoes. Nothing remarkable. My dad got some pre-packaged mashed potatoes, though, and doctored them up a bit, and oh my god, friends. I went back for seconds. ON MASHED POTATOES. Which I usually do not even bother with. It's a Thanksgiving miracle!! 

YEAH, you know you wish you got to taste that. (Is that an accidental line from an Iggy Azalea song?) Even though we weren't entertaining 20-25 family members, as we've been known to do in the past, we still cooked enough to feed that many...we're talking six butternut squash in that soufflé and enough stuffing that we didn't even crack the second casserole dish of it! I'll be eating turkey and sides til Valentine's day at this rate...and I don't feel bad about that at all. 

After gorging ourselves silly, we decided to digest in a totally effective manner: at "Hunger Games: Mockingjay!" I love the moderate irony of "hunger" games, after the feast above, mwahahaha. I genuinely think the movie was better than the book, and that truly might be the first (and last) time I've ever said that. We enjoyed the movie, headed home, and capped the night off with homemade pecan pie from the Amish and Graeter's vanilla bean ice cream and a little bit of "The Holiday" on the Hallmark Channel. And with that, it was officially declared Christmas Season! 

We missed little bro like crazy, but counted every blessing and took a few moments to remember Grandpa Leo on a holiday that will always make me think of him. Warmest holiday wishes to everyone--I hope your turkeys were tender, your stuffing left you stuffed, and your mashed potatoes were magical!