Thanksgiving: Brown Paper Bags and Toilet Paper Tubes

We always made the hand turkeys for Thanksgiving art. I like these variations!

Thanksgiving.  What does the word conjure up for you?  For me it brings forth images of pilgrims, Indians, turkeys, and brown paper bags and construction paper.


Oh come on, didn’t you do the reenactment of the First Thanksgiving when you were in school?  If you were an Indian, you had a vest made of a brown paper bag, and a headband with a feather made out of construction paper.  No one wanted to be a Pilgrim.  They were so not cool that I can’t even remember what the kids that were the Pilgrims wore.  Something with a construction paper buckle somewhere on it I’m sure? The fact that I can’t remember could have something to do with the fact that I am some percentage American Indian and can’t prove it.  Or something like that.

Oh I’m sorry, they are Native Americans.  I grew up in the 70s and 80s.  Old habits die hard.

I asked my son what they were doing at school for Thanksgiving. All he could recall was that they got to eat turkey and mashed potatoes on Friday for hot lunch.  Yet today, he turned to me and announced that “In 1620, the Pilgrims came to Plymouth Rock.”  Oh good, he IS paying some attention.  Meanwhile, my daughter is making a turkey out of a toilet paper tube and a tracing of her handprints and paint.  I’m not sure if either of them really gets what it’s really all about.  All they care is that Grandma and Grandpa are coming up to eat with us.  And that they may stay over a day.

Last year my parents got the unique opportunity to visit Disneyworld on Thanksgiving weekend. I guess it’s not SO unique.  I remember visiting Disney on Thanksgiving.  It was the best day ever.  I got to ride Space Mountain with NO WAITING.  I think I rode it ten times that day.  Visiting DisneyWorld in my family is really not that unusual.  When we lived there I did go five times in a couple of years.  My Aunt Evie is the youngest of the six kids in my Mom’s family.  Somewhere along the line, she was infected with the Disney bug.  She goes at least once a year.  They were the ones that convinced my Mom and Dad that maybe they were ready for a nontraditional Thanksgiving.  I don’t blame them.  I’d blow off a turkey dinner for a trip to Mickey Land if I had it in my budget to do so!  Hell Yeah!

Our Thanksgiving dinner at our house last year.  Why is the butter right next to me? I don’t even LIKE butter.

Anyway, back from my tangent.  Thanks to this trip, my husband found out that he had found possibly the most perfect turkey recipe ever.  For the first time ever we made our own Thanksgiving turkey.  All it took was a bucket, a bunch of spices, and an oven.  It was the most amazing turkey ever.  In fact, my husband was so excited that it turned out that well that he insisted he cook dinner for everyone.  Invitations sent.  My parents, of course, were the only yesses.

So here we are hosting Thanksgiving dinner.   On a budget (thanks for finding and sending that gift card Mom, that really helped!).  The turkey isn’t as big as he hoped.  The store was out of the cheap green beans, so at his insistence we got the ones with no salt added.  Have you ever eaten canned vegetables with no salt added?  One word:  Ew.  And the store was out of fresh sage.  The more I think about it, the apple pie may be replaced with apple crisp.

The menu:

Turkey and gravy

Stuffing of some sort

Mashed Potatoes

Green Bean Casserole (it’s famous, you know)

Cranberries (Mom will make sugar free)

Pumpkin Pie (Mom will make sugar free)

Apple something or other

He’s in charge of turkey.  I’m in charge of making something edible to go with it (that’s a bit scary).  My daughter is in charge of decorating.  She wanted to make snowmen, because she saw kits to make little tube shaped snowmen in my Oriental Trading Post catalog.  I told her that a) we can paint toilet paper tubes white and it will look the same and b)  there are no snowmen at Thanksgiving (at least there had better not be).  We settled on the toilet paper tube turkey because she was determined we were going to use those rolls (we save everything because she will turn it into art at some point).  I think it will turn out pretty cute when it’s done.  Perhaps she can make placemats or something as well.

Up until last year, we usually went to Mom and Dad’s house every year.  They are hoping that eventually we’ll establish our own traditions, and I think Mom deserves a break!  Thinking back, though, I don’t really think we have any big traditions outside of the meal itself.  As kids we used to watch Charlotte’s Web every year.  I tried to pull it out last year, and Evil Genius promptly vetoed it because it might make him sad (honey you’ve seen the movie, you KNOW how it ends.)  Here at our house, our one tradition is that we put up the tree in the days following the Thanksgiving holiday, or whenever I can convince my husband to lug all of the stuff up the stairs.

So the prep is getting in to full swing.  I feel like we should sing some Turkey Carols.  What?  You say there isn’t such a thing?  Oh yes there is!  A page I follow on Facebook shared a fun post from Red Vines and Red Wine yesterday that had exactly that.  Click the link and enjoy!

What does the word Thanksgiving make you think about?  What is on your Thanksgiving menu?   Do you have any special traditions?

Actually, some of us like the legs too.