Deb Dana writes a love letter to Thanksgiving

Dear Thanksgiving,

We’ve been a part of each other’s lives for 31 years, so I think we can dispense with the flirting and teasing and gentle suggestions of affection. I’m going to come right out and say it: I love you.

“Me?” you might ask. “But what about Chanukah and the Fourth of July?”

And it’s true: I love those holidays, too. But I love you the most, and here’s why.

You are the one holiday out of the year where I get to spend all afternoon and evening with my entire family — biological and otherwise — and remind myself how lucky I am to have all of these people in my life. This year, my mom is hosting 33 of us at her house. Do you hear that? Thirty-three for a sit-down dinner, all because of you. If this were a birthday party or a lesser celebration, the group probably would have splintered into two smaller groups. But the family insists on being together on Thanksgiving, even as the so-called kids marry and have kids of their own.

And then there’s the food. Sure, the Fourth of July has barbecue, and Chanukah has latkes, but you offer a panoply of delicious foods, all at the same table: turkey and stuffing and sweet potatoes and mashed potatoes and gravy and cranberry sauce and PIES. See that photo below? My cousin took that last year, right before we had dessert. She called it “pie-sanity.” I call it heaven. Either way, you were the inspiration.

Me, my mom, and my aunt last Thanksgiving. The pies, from l-r: chocolate cream, sweet potato/marshmallow meringue, pumpkin, banana cream, caramel walnut, cranberry-blueberry.

But it isn’t just about the food. Okay, so it’s a lot about the food, but it’s also about my dad’s toasts and my mom’s last-minute scramble as she gets all of the food on the table. It’s about my cousins lapsing into a food coma in the basement after dinner and my dad playing piano in the living room while people relax on the couch. It’s about me being ten years old and helping my mom pour the filling into the banana cream pie the night before your arrival, and then watching It’s a Wonderful Life together in the family room and realizing my life was pretty wonderful, too.

More than anything, I love you because I love tradition. Over the years, we’ve lost a few members, and we’ve gained a few, too, and the various dishes on the table have evolved. But no matter what changes in all of our lives, no matter where we’re living and what we’re doing, we all know where we’ll be on the fourth Thursday in November. And that’s a tradition for which I’m truly thankful.

With deepest affection,



Okay, now that I’ve confessed my love for Thanksgiving, it’s your turn! What’s *your* favorite holiday?

10 Replies to “Deb Dana writes a love letter to Thanksgiving”

  1. I must admit my favorite holiday is Passover. I love the ritual, the food, the way our Seders have evolved over the years. There is nothing like a meal with little styrofoam “hail” being tossed around.

    But pie-sanity looks amazing, I must admit!!! I’m coming to your house next year!

    1. Passover is definitely not on my favorites list, but I have lots of friends who swear by their seders and look forward to them each year. I do love matzo ball soup. And charoses. But trying to get 20-30 people to follow the seder in an orderly fashion is a little like trying to herd cats — at least in my family…

  2. I love the pies. And the seriousness of he women presiding over the pies. And your huge family and all of the tradition and ritual that goes with it. May your Thanksgiving this year be blessed and full of all the good food and family.

  3. You know Halloween is my poison but if I had your pie set-up Thanksgiving might just sweep me off my feet too! And I love that each pie has a pie knife designated for it. You guys are NOT MESSING AROUND.

  4. Look at the PIES!!!!! Oh, I wish I could have been there for that!

    Your family Thanksgivings sound absolutely wonderful. We don’t have nearly as many people, but I’ve always loved the warmth and love and happiness of everyone coming together on Thanksgiving.

    I have to admit, I might have loved it even more if we had that many fantastic pies…

    1. Having a lot of people is great, but in the end, it’s about that spirit of love and happiness you speak of! It’s just so nice for everyone to spend time together.

      And I have to admit: the pies are pretty good. I think we’re doing pretty much the same flavors this year, except I’m also contributing a salted caramel pie in addition to the sweet potato meringue!

  5. Of course my favorite holiday is Thanksgiving, and I look forward to being one of the 33 this year! Our family’s Thanksgiving is such a wonderful and important gathering, and I treasure it. I worked every New Years and Christmas for the 4 years of my Ob/Gyn Residency, but I never missed Thanksgiving at the Greenspons’! Can’t wait to be all together soon.
    P.S.- love your posts Deb Dana. 🙂

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