Monday, October 06, 2008


Yesterday, doubts were dashed and festivity prevailed. Yesterday, you see, was Thankschristmas. My quirky family has adopted a new tradition since the little lake house entered our lives last year. Because my relatives leave for warmer winters at the end of the month, we have officially rushed the season and combined the holidays. We have invented a reason to gather and feast in the shimmering autumn of western New York. Thankschristmas is now my favorite holiday.
With a gaggle of German immigrants in attendance, of course, there was a real tree. Lights, glass ornaments and a wood-shaving star on top. The table was set with vintage Christmas linens, candles, pilgrims and pumpkins. Each chair had a vintage apron, freshly pressed, draped over its back. The kitchen was resplendent with smells of the rushed seasons. I was Pavlov's dog at the site of 4 pies. The floor under the tree was massed with bags and tins, all stuffed with treasures from garages sales and thrift stores. My Aunt, the Queen of Collecting Humorous Crap, had spent countless happy hours hunting down silliness for the holiday. There were 48 packages in all.
The first order of business was food. Hors' d'oeuvres', al fresco, out on the abandoned golf course just beyond the lake. Roasted tomatoes and goat cheese, pears with walnuts, dates and marscapone, cider bread with 2 Italian cheeses. We were vultures.
The second order of business was food. Back at the house, dinner was heated, wine was poured, everyone donned their vintage aprons (the men looked especially chic) and the feast began. We were insatiable. Aprons had to be loosened all around.
The third order of business was loot. 48 packages worth. We each took multiple turns picking from the pile, showing off our wares, stealing, bargaining and laughing 'til we cried. My Dad landed a shiny blue thong in one round, and I am the proud owner of 5 vintage paper, holiday tablecloths in original packaging. I almost gave them up for a chance at a John Deere tractor apron in green and yellow.
The last order of business was food. 4 pies and real whipped cream. Mincemeat, apple, pumpkin, and peach. We were gluttonous.
Finally, reluctantly, Thankschristmas came to an end. We were happy. We were full. We were thankful. Our cheeks hurt from laughing. Our invented holiday was the remedy for all ills, all worries, all doubts. All we need is good food, good company, laughter and love. Most of all, love.


  1. What a wonderful, wonderful celebration. It doesn't get any better than a gathering of family and fantastic food. I'm having a good laugh at "Queen of Collecting Humorous Crap" and the description of the gift exchange. I'm glad you had such a great time. Thanks for sharing it here. :D

  2. What a great family celebration! This sounds like so much fun and something I'll keep in mind if I ever decide to leave for Mexico earlier than I usually do!

  3. Graciel-I tried to email you at but it bounced back:


    thank you love!

    I sooooo hear you. This messgae was just what I needed.

    Thank you from the bottom of my heart for giving me this valuable nugget of reality and love.

    I adore you!

  4. This is sooooo much fun! I've never heard anybody talk about anything remotely near your "Thankschristmas" tradition. This is uniquely you.

    You know, I wish my family were like this. We used to be. We used to gather as one big big big group during holidays. We lived in a big Spanish type house with secret rooms and a mysterious cellar. My cousins and I loved spooking each other out every time we would gather together. Drove the adults nuts he!he! But now, more than half of my Aunts, Uncles and cousins have flown to settle in different parts of the world. The last I've seen my relatives was like...17 years ago? My husband and I are one of the last who prefer to stay. What can I do? I like palm trees and summery breeze.

    This has made me think deeply about family...deeply..deeply...I had been encouraging my boys to go and live somewhere seek their fortune in the land of the seemingly rich....My husband says it is not for me to tell them where to go...I just want their happiness...He insists living somewhere else does not guarantee happiness...And so now I am thinking...I want big gatherings...I want grandkids I can spoil rotten ( he!he!)..I want barbeque's and traditions and laughter....

    I am thinking...thinking..

  5. What a fabulous tradition you've started. I love it!!!


I always appreciate the time you take to comment on my blog. Thank you for stopping by. Peace from my heart to yours. xo, Graciel