You can’t beat the savory food, indulgent drinks and close company of Thanksgiving. It’s the biggest cheat day of the year! So why not have multiple? Roughly a week before the real deal we have about 25 of our closest friends over and throw what we call “Gangsgiving”. It started small years ago and slowly the day evolved as we did into something that we all look forward to for months ahead of time. Not only do we eat like family, but we have developed traditions like family that we do through out the day. These 5 traditions have been built over our years of hosting and having this group of friends come together. They are what makes our day special, quirky, and most of all, perfect.
After planning this day a couple months in advance we somehow always find a day where everyone can make it! The rest of the planning up until the day is all about the main event. Food! Everybody bids for the dish they want to make, most being a famous dish from their own personal families thanksgiving dinner, making all of the food at this thanksgiving amazing. When we first started throwing the party I was cooking the majority of the food. Now I am thankfully just in charge of the turkey, stuffing, and my mom’s famous mashed potatoes.
There aren’t many days that I will willingly wake up before 7 to cook, this one pretty much being the only exception. But when your turkey is twenty pounds and you have what I like to call a “method”, you aren’t left with much of a choice. It may not be rational but the turkey is always perfect! (At least, so I hear. Being a vegetarian cooking meat does offer its problems.) Once the turkey is in the oven it is time to move to the accompanying side dishes I am in charge of. After that I do a quick clean up and by the time I am done everyone is pretty much starting to arrive and the appetizers are coming out!
Now that my husband, after many years of practice, can successfully cut a turkey this part of the day has become much quicker and cleaner! He is also able to to get out the most important piece of the evening, The wishbones!
As new people come in to our group of friends we try to celebrate the additions before dinner. New couples get to pull the wishbone and make a wish for their future. Depending on how many wishbones we have, sometimes one, sometimes three, we celebrate as much as possible. This year we had two turkeys and then also found a wishbone from the previous year (ew) that we had been looking for that whole day. So we ended up with three. We were able to celebrate two new couples, and a couple that had just gotten married. The wishbone has become such a tradition that people bring it up throughout the year placing bets and making empty threats of who will end up with it. If you are lucky enough to get a wishbone in this group you can consider yourself a keeper ;).
To me the most important part of the day and the reason we are really celebrating is to give thanks. After the turkey is cut, the wishbones are broken, and everyones food has been heated in turns by our tiny oven, we gather around the bar in the kitchen and each give thanks. My husband is the first to say what he is thankful for and it goes in a circle to his left ending with me. Everyone takes turns talking about what they are thankful for in the last year and what they have been blessed with. At the end we raise are glasses and cheers to everyone, and the day. Then of course, we eat. OMG do we eat. Have you ever seen the amount of food you accumulate when 25 people each bring a dish? You couldn’t try it all if you wanted to! And there are always left overs. The best kind of left overs! Nothing heats up better then Thanksgiving dinner left overs.
Thats why after dinner every year a couple of us bring all the leftovers to one table and pack to go boxes for everyone there. What better treat can you have while your winding down from all the festivities the next morning?
Still, the most important tradition and the one that keeps the memory of every year fresh, is our group picture. Before the first person tries to leave we get everyone together and snap a few shots of the whole gang.
Our quirky traditions are what makes this day and this holiday so special. If it wasn’t for them we would just be sitting around a table getting fat together.
Now on to round two: Holiday with the family!