Thanks for the Getting

Clump #97:  Shop for Thanksgiving meal and stamp Christmas card envelopes.

Pictured below: last year’s Christmas stamp Santa looks like he’s about to land on this year’s cute gingerbread house stamps.  For those dear, devoted readers who might remember, last year I sent out my cards so late that I abandoned the Christmas stamps and went with Chinese New Year’s ones.  What a difference (almost) a year and this blog have made!


I’ve been thinking and writing lately about how Thanksgiving gets a bit steamrolled by the gift giving holidays.  When I was in the grocery store picking out ingredients for our Thanksgiving dinner, it hit me: it’s not just the earlier and earlier Christmas marketing; it’s also that we are no longer a predominantly agrarian society.  For most of us, the urgency of bringing in ample crops to survive the winter is no longer part of our lives. Giving thanks for the harvest has given way to plain old giving thanks, certainly a beautiful thing, but we’ve lost our direct connection to the seasonal supply of food.

The elements of our traditional Thanksgiving meal come from the supermarket.  Growing up, we would refer to “the turnips” that were always on our holiday table.  Only after I was old enough to participate in the shopping for, and cooking of, the meal did I learn from my mom it’s actually a rutabaga we use to make “turnips.”  The other family traditions are: a plate with carrot and celery sticks and black and green olives, turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes, my older sister’s creamed onions (with her “secret ingredient”), peas, gravy, rolls, and cranberry sauce.  I’m starting to get exhausted thinking about it.  But getting the shopping done early is a relief.  I don’t have to worry that the store will run out of cranberries, or fight off the hordes for a turkey.


Our traditional dessert is pumpkin and apple pies.  This year my husband suggested adding pecan pie … we’re busting out!  In my experience you can never have too much pie.


For my mother, who grew up in the depression, getting an orange in her Christmas stocking was the most exciting treat she could imagine.  At the grocery store today I was thinking of how spoiled we are with a year-round array of exotic treats my parents would never have believed.


Actually, I can hardly believe some of them, myself.


But when the landscape looks like this:


And the “flowers” look like this:


I’m thankful for dazzling color and variety in the market.



  1. Dear One, I had the same experience with turnips that I now try to remember to call by its real name rutabaga. And I fell asleep last night thinking of all the wonderful catalog items I’ll have to live without. Love, Cate


  2. We always got oranges in the toes of our stockings as well. It serves as a reminder today of how our sense of luxury has changed. I still like to put a clementine in the Christmas stockings just to keep the tradition going. Thanks for reminding me of that!


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