Thanksgiving is a time when many of us gather together to reflect on the things for which we are—well—thankful! ☺
Here at The Retreat at Mountain Brook, what we are most thankful for is our residents, and the sense of community we all share. It is in that spirit of gratefulness that we offer you a little bit of lightheartedness and some suggestions on how to create new traditions and make good memories this Thanksgiving holiday.
Some years it’s easy to get all excited about Thanksgiving, isn’t it? You brought out your World Market Cider & Clove Potpourri Jar November 1, you’ve already ordered your new Thirtystone Harvest Collection turkey and pumpkin wine bottle stoppers for in-store pickup at the Macy’s at Brookwood Village, and that much-anticipated Galley and Garden Thanksgiving Brunch with family and friends is never really far from your mind.
But other years things are a little harder, aren’t they?
You never know what the weather will be like. Sometimes you have to travel when you’d much rather stay home. And this year we’ve got the Covid-19 pandemic thrown into the mix. Dealing with the virus has upended people’s lives in many ways, most of them a lot more serious than having to go to our Aunt Ruthie’s and eat her “special” green bean casserole again.
Whether your family and friends will be gathering in person or online later this month, or not at all, we are fortunate to have a wide variety of ways to make this holiday special. One fun one is to wear Thanksgiving-decorated face masks. If you don’t have the time to make your own, Better Homes & Gardens has curated a list of Etsy options that’s worth checking out. We’re thinking about getting our brother-in-law David one that says “Will Remove For Pie.”
An easy way to bring some joy into people’s lives is to order them a beautiful seasonal bouquet from Dorothy McDaniel’s Flower Market or Wildflower Designs. If you’re Zooming, think about getting each household that will be on the call, including yours, arrangements that complement each other—a great suggestion from our resident lifestyle professionals, the Idea Specialists™.
You also could go to one of Birmingham’s amazing wine stores—R&R Wine & Liquor in Crestline and Classic Wine Company in Homewood, to name just two—and get several bottles of the same wine for your family and friends, whether you’ll be gathering together or not. What wonderful traditions to begin!
Of course you also can find some really good wines at area grocery stores, whether you are shopping The Pig in Crestline or The Publix on Montclair. And, Publix is offering a complete Thanksgiving dinner you can order online and pick up in the store or have delivered via your favorite service. That way you can spend more time in the den watching football, or bingeing on your favorite series, or entertaining yourself with a Thanksgiving movie.
What? You don’t _have_ a favorite Thanksgiving movie? Well, maybe check out the classic Alice’s Restaurant, converted from the Arlo Guthrie song of the same name. Talk about a real oldie but a goodie. . . Need to laugh? Watch Free Birds, with Reggie the Pardoned Turkey and his cohort Jake, a fanatic turkey who also happens to be a time traveler. That should do the trick.
On the other hand, maybe you want to do a little bit, or a lot, of the cooking yourself. Life is short, so let’s start with dessert first: Pick up your gorgeous and delicious cornucopia cake from Edgar’s at The Colonnade, then go across to The Summit to Trader Joe’s for its seasonal specialties, which include a vegetarian turkey-less stuffed roast with gravy, a brined bone-in turkey breast that’s just the right amount for two people, corn pudding, and a flock of milk chocolate turkeys. OK, well, maybe flock is overstating things just a little bit. But there are several in the package, and they are so cute! In a turkey sort of way, of course.
While you’re in the area, head over to Williams-Sonoma and pick up a jar of their apple-orange cranberry relish and a new carving set. Then download one or two of their fun Thanksgiving photo vignette Zoom backdrops. Everyone will be _so_ impressed with what you’ve done with your place!
Now, for many of us, Thanksgiving Day wouldn’t be Thanksgiving Day without a Turkey Trot or the like.
For the rest of us, Thanksgiving Day wouldn’t be Thanksgiving Day if we didn’t have to go stand out in the cold and cheer you on in a Turkey Trot or the like.
A Birmingham favorite is the Sam Lapidus Montclair Run, named in honor of the young man who died of Ewing’s sarcoma, a form of childhood cancer. This will be the 44th annual run organized by the Levite Jewish Community and the Alabama Center for Childhood Cancer and Blood Disorders, and this year it’s with a twist: Like so many events impacted by the pandemic, it will be virtual. You can run it any time between November 14 and November 29. We, on the other hand, will be right over here, nice and warm in our leggings and Thomasa Turtleneck Sweatshirt from Anthropologie—the one in limeade, so you can see us better when we wave at you as you go by. Whenever you run it.
Maybe you don’t want to run, but you do want to be outside in what we hope will be pretty weather. You could take a hike at Ruffner Mountain, or get Ashley Mac’s Turkey Bundles and take yourself and your family on a picnic in Railroad Park. Or on your sister-in-law’s back patio. Or your best friend’s driveway. Anywhere you can enjoy yourself while keeping social distance in mind.
If you would like to include faith and fellowship in your holiday plans, consider attending The Five Points Community Interfaith Thanksgiving Service Tuesday, November 26, at noon at South Highland Presbyterian Church; lunch will be served after the service. All of the churches and temples in the Five Points district are members of the Southside Faith Community, and everyone is welcome to attend.
However you spend your holiday, we want you to be safe and healthy. Thanks for reading, and Happy Thanksgiving!
Ha, you didn’t think we were really going to write about Thanksgiving without mentioning dressing, did you? (OK, OK, _and_ stuffing, just in case that’s what you grew up with.)
Whatever version of the classic side dish you eat on Turkey Day, just don’t make the mistake of saying, “Well, Grandmommy’s tastes better than MeMaw’s.” No, no, no, no, no.
Each person’s dressing is the best. Period. You just have to appreciate their version of it for what it is.
That said, we’re quite sure that everyone knows it is written in stone that you can’t make dressing without crumbled up white loaf bread and corn bread (get out of here with your sweet corn muffins, right this instant!), boiled chicken, cream of chicken soup, chicken broth and water, some butter, salt, pepper, celery powder, onion powder, and sage.
If you want to try your hand at making your own and would prefer a little more guidance than what our MawMaw gave us back in the day, Southern Living offers not only a quintessential cornbread dressing recipe, it also can instruct you in how to prepare the more adventurous smoked oyster and andouille dressing.
Want to go the stuffing route? Oyster Stuffing as featured by the Food Network covers all the basics. You also can find a few more recipes at the end of this entertaining and informative column by Michelle Darrisaw, which we found on Food & Wine. Our Michelle gets into the history of stuffing vs. dressing, going all the way back to the Roman Empire. Enjoy!
For many of us, Thanksgiving weekend is when we bring out the December decorations—or at least start thinking about it. What are some of your favorite Christmas or Hanukkah traditions? We would love to know!