Much has been made this year of the once in a many lifetime confluence of Hanukkah and Thanksgiving.
I’m not usually big on the holidays because of all of the preparation for so little actual dining time, resulting in so much cleanup. I was glad that my mom decided to go to a restaurant for the first time. She chose a buffet at a popular restaurant near her so we could go to her place after we ate, light candles and open gifts for kids only.
The vast repast included turkey, carved sirloin and ham my brother couldn’t stop raving about. Crab cakes and amazing grilled salmon for seafood lovers, butternut squash ravioli for vegetarians. Sides included several kinds of soup, 3 kinds of deviled eggs, several salad options, delicious Brussels sprouts, crusty baked mac ‘n cheese, mashed potatoes, stuffing (not as good as my mom’s IMO and too salty), sweet potatoes and green bean casserole. Dessert was several kinds of cookies, delicious cheesecake and very pumpkiny pumpkin chiffon pie. We all went around the table and said what we were thankful for. The only downside: no leftovers.
It did seem a little less homey to eat out and then gather at my mom’s (possibly the first time ever with no food except for a fruit platter), but IMO worth it because of all of the saved time and effort.
My mom had two menorahs prepared with candles so my niece and nephew could each light one. We sang the blessing. The kids enjoyed opening their gifts, even though my mom and I got my nephew one of the same books. He looked forward to returning one and choosing another gift.
Then my mom pulled out something from her freezer. She’d made our favorite stuffing and wrapped portions in foil for us to take home. The thoughtful gesture, knowing that stuffing and leftovers awaited restored any missing joie de vivre.
There are many different kinds of holidays and people to share them with. The sense of family and celebration comes from within.