We Gather Together Thanksgiving Blog Hop
Today, we’re teaming up with some of our favorite bloggers for the We Gather Together Thanksgiving Blog Hop! As always, a big thank you to the sweet and creative Amber of Follow the Yellow Brick Home for hosting this hop.
If you’re coming over from Katie of Let’s Add Sprinkles welcome, we’re glad you’re here.
The Phone Call That Started It All…
A few weeks ago, my Mom totally blew our minds when she called to say she wanted to spend Thanksgiving at home this year. To say my sisters and I were all gobsmacked is an understatement.
My Dad was in the military for most of our lives which meant we moved around a lot.
Every single holiday, no matter where we were living in the US, we’d make the trek back to our hometown to spend time with our big farm family.
It was a non-negotiable.
When we celebrated Thanksgiving, we didn’t just celebrate on Thursday. We celebrated the entire weekend with activities planned for four full days.
It’s never been uncommon for us to have Thanksgiving with at least 100 people.
A New Thanksgiving Plan…
So, when my Mom came to us with a new plan this year, we really didn’t know what to say.
We listened intently as she recounted what our holidays have been like for the past four decades.
For starters, they’ve been an absolute blessing. No question. A blessing none of us takes lightly.
But they have also been filled with constant travel, having to pack all the suitcases, tackle the laundry, get the cars gassed up and serviced, organize places for everyone to stay, coordinate 12 different meals with family members, manage expectations and rush from one place to the next to make sure no one felt left out or had hurt feelings for four days straight.
Even now, it takes my breath away thinking we’ve done this for over forty years.
By the time my Mom finished detailing our holiday, she was all kinds of teary on the phone.
Honestly, we were too.
I’m beyond embarrassed to say while I’ve always known our holidays could be considered “magical chaos” to people who don’t have big families, I had no idea they had become totally consuming.
A Fresh Start…
So, this year, we’ve pledged to support our Mom in her decision to simplify our Thanksgiving. Our family has always been extremely close, so we know it wasn’t an easy decision for her to make.
Truthfully, I’m sharing this because I know there is someone reading this right now that is probably already stressed out about what’s to come.
But I want you to have the courage to ask for what you need this holiday season. Even if it goes against a family tradition that is decades old.
I’ve been spending a lot of time at my parent’s primary home, Bliss Barracks where we’ll be gathered for Thanksgiving, helping with everything from creating gift tag ornaments, to working on a blue and white guest bedroom refresh.
Thankfully, it’s given us a lot of time to decide how we want to make Thanksgiving memories this year. We came up with a Thanksgiving bucket list of sorts to give us all something to look forward to.
The things that are on the list are things a lot of you have probably done a million times. But these are things we’ve never been able to experience because we’ve always been on the road or traveling from one place to the next.
Here’s a look at what we came up with…
- Be fully present at Thanksgiving
- Create a blessings tree
- Watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade (we’ve only seen 10 minutes max)
- Make a turkey (my Mom’s first!)
- Try a new pie recipe
- Ride bikes around the neighborhood
- Wear matching pajamas
- Movie night in Popi’s Cave (My Dad has a big viewing room that connects his office with a popcorn machine, mini fridge and snacks. We have no idea why the littles call it a cave though ?)
- Make smores and have a bonfire
- Host a cookie bake off
- Have a silly string fight
- Slay at Christmas karaoke
- Play Apples to Apples or Bananagrams
- Attend the light festival
- Ride the Santa train
My Mom has already made it pretty clear we won’t be celebrating Thanksgiving at home every year. I think she just wants to see how it goes.
Still, we’re proud of her for speaking up.
We’re also delighted to find a fresh way to celebrate a day that’s so important to us. And for the first time in over 40 years, to gather around our family’s table at Bliss Barracks and make new memories.
Be sure to stop by Janet’s blog Rosemary and Thyme next and don’t forget to check out the rest of these fabulous ladies on the We Gather Together Thanksgiving Blog Hop. Until next time, I’ll see you on Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest.
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Wow. Good for your mom. I balked the norm by finally saying that we wanted to stay home on Christmas so that the kids could enjoy their presents. Before, there was a rush to get everything opened, get the kids dressed and leave for Grandmom’s. I didn’t get push back. I hope you all don’t either. Enjoy this new normal. I hope that you have a blessed Thanksgiving. Beautiful table scape.
You probably can’t see it from your house Katie, but I’m totally giving you a high five, fist pump right now 🙂 I would say the majority of our Christmases have been as you have described. We too are hoping we’ll be able to settle into a new and more relaxing normal for the holidays. Wishing you and your family a blessed Thanksgiving. I’m so excited about your cupboard. It’s gorgeous! Hugs, CoCo
Yes, YES to this post! I grew up in a family of eight and it was a stressful 2-3 days of food prep, stress over place settings, serving, and cleanup took three to four hours….ugh. This year it’s just 3 of us and I am thrilled! We are watching the parade, going to a tree farm to cut down the tree, and enjoying our favorite foods. Hint: there’s not a pecan or pumpkin pie in sight!
You are so sweet and supportive, Laura, thank you! I definitely commend my parents for all the years they were able to keep it up. There were times we had to drive for hours just to get to Thanksgiving dinner. Looking back, I don’t know how they did it. I’m so excited you too will be having a peace filled and relaxing holiday weekend. It’s going to be so much fun to cut down a Christmas tree. I hope you guys take lots of photos. Enjoy your time together. Hugs, CoCo
Sounds like you will have new traditions and memories to make this year. I love having Thanksgiving at home. It is one of my favorites. Your dining table and tablescape are gorgeous, such a beautiful centerpiece. Enjoy your family and new traditions.
Thank you so much for your kind words, Marty! It’s definitely going to be a different year this year but we’re up for the adventure. My Mom always sets a pretty table no matter what the season so it’s fun to see this pheasant as the star of the show. It’s been moved around almost as long as we have 🙂 Hope you have so much fun with your family. Hugs, CoCo
Coco, what sweet family traditions–old and new! Your table is gorgeous with your pretty brown transferware and I love your new list! Blessings, Cecilia @My Thrift Store Addiction
Thank you bunches! We’re excited to see all the new traditions we’ll be able to make this year. While I don’t know we’ll get through all the activities. It will definitely be fun to try. Hugs, CoCo
I’m excited to hear about how this new Thanksgiving goes. I love change but it’s not for everyone. Your Thanksgiving list sounds so fun. We love both of those games as well as Skipbo and Pictionary. We are quite competitive though so sometimes we might have a screamer in the middle of the game! LOL. This is our first year we won’t have our extended family here with us so it will be just the 5 of us. We’re thinking eating out sounds good. Give your family a giant hug and Happy Thanksgiving!
Oh my word, Cindy, I’m almost embarrassed to say there were tears over a game of Apples to Apples one time ha ha. It was all meant to be in good fun but like you say it definitely gets competitive. I’ve never heard of Skipbo so I’ll check it out! I hope you and your family have a blessed time together. One of my girlfriends eats out every Thanksgiving with her family and she loves it – no dishes 🙂 Hugs and hope you guys enjoy your time together, CoCo
What a change for your family for celebrating Thanksgiving this year. Good for your mom for speaking up and for trying a different way to celebrate. I hope that you and your family get to do everything on your Thanksgiving bucket list.
Thank you for your encouragement Paula! I know it was not easy for her to speak up because her family is really close. Thankfully, they’ve all been very gracious. I have high hopes for our bucket list but with 12 people in our family, it might feel like herding cats 🙂 Sending you hugs for a blessed and happy Thanksgiving, CoCo
Sounds like it will be a year of new traditions and I love that you made a list too. I am sure you will be making so many wonderful memories over Thanksgiving. Your table is beautiful too and I love the pumpkins down the center. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!
We’re definitely getting excited about the making some new memories this year Shelley! We’ve moved around so much over the years, it will be nice to finally be at home and enjoy each other. I don’t know that we’ll be able to get to the entire list but we’re definitely going to give it our best. Wishing you and your family a Happy Thanksgiving and holiday season, CoCo
Coco the dining room looks absolutely lovely and I know you are all going to enjoy making wonderful new memories. Thanksgiving is a small intimate family meal at our home and then extended family comes over later for dessert and snacks either that evening or for leftovers the next day. I love hearing about your large family get togethers but I also think you are going to have a blast this Thanksgiivng. I agree that is is very important to speak up and do what is best for you and your immediate family. I know that was hard for your mom but she deserves a little break!
I hope you all have a blessed and wonderful Thanksgiving!
I really appreciate your sweet words of support, Amber, thank you! It’s definitely going to be a different year this year but we’re excited to try something new and for a bit of a slow down as well. We have a wood fireplace but my parents have a gas one and I can’t wait to hit the switch and cozy up with a mug of hot chocolate. I hope you and your family have lots of fun at your dessert party. That is such a great idea. It really helps take the pressure off too. Thanks so much for putting this hop together. You guys are all such a blessing! Hugs and Happy Thanksgiving, CoCo
I think your mom’s plan sounds wonderful! It sounds like you all have such fun plans to enjoy the holiday. I know you all will make some very special memories! Your dining room is gorgeous. I love your furniture! Your tablescape is beautiful ! I hope you and your family has a most happy and blessed Thanksgiving!
You are too kind, Shannon, I will definitely pass along your sweet words about my parents dining room. Their home is very traditional and over the years they’ve collected a lot of fun pieces. I can’t wait for them to see your beautiful dining room too. They’re going to love it all! Hugs and Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family, CoCo
Thanks for sharing this family story, and your new adventure that you will be having this year! And your bucket list… I must say, the Macy’s Day Parade AND the turkey were real surprises! So much fun you will have! Your post was super fun to read, and inspiring, my friend! Pinned… and so blessed to be hopping with you!
Thanks so much for your kind words, Julie! Isn’t that crazy about the parade and the turkey? They both seem like such small things but we’re really excited to experience them this year. We’ve promised to help my Mom with all the sides since the turkey is such a big responsibility. It’s funny how you get so into the groove of following one tradition, you actually forget to make others. I just keep telling my Mom and sister no matter what happens this year, we’re up for the challenge 🙂 Sending you hugs, CoCo
I love your centerpiece on the table! Here’s to a year of new traditions! We are doing Christmas Morning at our house this year… starting with homemade cinnamon rolls for breakfast as a new tradition (I’ve been practicing recipes!)
Angelina that sounds like so much fun! I love anything with cinnamon and home rolls on Christmas morning sounds positively divine. I hope you and your family are able to make a lot of fun memories together. Hugs, CoCo
I love this! I hope your new traditions will be a big hit, especially for your mom. Our Christmas will be different this year, as I am passing the torch to my 34 yo daughter to host my big (Irish/Italian Catholic) side of the immediate family and theirs, which last year was 40 people (that’s enough to scare anybody from hosting!). I hope my daughter is up for it all, and I plan to help her make it run as stress free as possible. Thanksgiving blessings to your family, CoCo. Enjoy blazing the new trails!
CoCo, what a warm and heartfelt post1 Thanks for sharing. I can’t imagine 100 — I’m stressed planning a 4-day weekend for 18, in addition to out of town guests the weekend before for a family wedding. Like you said, all those meals, bedding, bath towels, dishes, etc. non-stop. Liked so many items on your to-do list. I absolutely love the Macy’s parade! We don’t eat until 6 and one of the reasons is so I can enjoy watching a portion of the parade — especially the big balloons, Rockettes and Santa’s arrival. My son’s first year in Manhattan, I brought a turkey in a cooler from Pittsburgh with all the fixings. But first, we went up the street to see the parade — a bucket list item for me! In recent years, no matter what city we are in, my husband and sons (joined by other family members) run in the Turkey Trot. And, I don’t miss cheering them on.
Also, I noticed your peacock plates. I have ’em too! Everyone loves them and asks who made them and pattern name — do you know?
That sounds like so much fun Debbee! We didn’t even know Santa was in the parade until a few years ago when my brother in law told us – that’s how little of it we had actually seen. I love how special your memories surrounding the parade are and I hope ours will be special as well. I know the littles are super excited about it! I tried to make this post as authentic as possible since we will be eating at my parent’s house for Thanksgiving so the peacock plates actually belong to my Mom and will be present at dinner. She will be so excited you have them too. I will send her a note and ask her if she has any information on them 🙂 Wishing you and your family the happiest Thanksgiving. We’ll be thinking of you as we watch the parade! Hugs, CoCo
Your mom’s dining room is beautifully decorated for the holidays! Makes sense you all enjoy it on Thanksgiving…
Large families that live all over the country have a hard time getting together for the holidays. It is nice to hear your family is respecting your mother’s request to have Thanksgiving at home this year. Since I have an annual French Country Christmas Event in my garden shed, I am always working on getting ready for that over the Thanksgiving weekend. The first couple of years of the event, I had my first day of the event the Saturday after Thanksgiving. Now, I have it the first Saturday in December to give myself a chance to enjoy Thanksgiving. For the past 3-4 years, I have been buying our Thanksgiving meal from a local restaurant and picking it up on Wednesday afternoon. That’s the same plan for this year.
Happy Thanksgiving to your family as you create new traditions and spend time together at your mother’s home. Your plans sound relaxing and joyful.
Thank you so much, Judith. The pieces in the dining room have traveled all over the place with us. We’re excited to be spending time together at my parent’s house this year. Your Thanksgiving sounds fabulous! I love that you make time for yourself by having the meal catered and also by giving yourself extra time to work on and host an event that inspires you. I know you inspire so many others, including me, too. I think to myself, I just need 5 minutes in that garden shed every time I see it 🙂 I’ll be thinking of you as you start the prep for your French Country Christmas Event. It sounds wonderful and I know it’s going to be so successful! Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family, CoCo
Coco, I wish that I could relate to your Thanksgiving experience. Growing up, thanksgiving was always just my mom and dad and brother and me, as both sets of grandparents lived too far to travel. Even as an adult, my Thanksgiving has always been just immediate family. I always wished for a big Thanksgiving. Good for your mom for letting her wishes known. Even your pared down Thanksgiving schedule seems like a lot to do, but I would welcome it. I’m sure your family will still have an extraordinary Thanksgiving. Thank you so much for sharing your story.
If you’re ever in Florida for Thanksgiving you are more than welcome to come to Thanksgiving with us Carol! It’s always a “the more the merrier” approach to the whole weekend. I’m sure this Thanksgiving will be different than what we’ve ever had before but it’s also part of the charm. After a busy year, we’re all looking forward to relaxing with each other and taking the time to visit. I have no idea if we’ll make it through the bucket list but we are definitely up for the challenge. Sending you hugs and wishing you and your family the happiest Thanksgiving, CoCo
What a beautiful post! Thanks for sharing. I hope the holidays are everything your mom wants. It sounds like a fabulous time planned. It will be nice to stay home with just your immediate family, You do have a large family!! Happy Thanksgiving! Your table is gorgeous. I love the shot with the tree peeking through.
Thanks so much for your sweet and kind words, Christy! My Dad was super sweet to help my Mom put up the tree in the living room early this year since she was hosting Thanksgiving. But he took extra care to remind all of us he wanted it to look and feel like Thanksgiving in the dining room ha ha. I think they’re getting excited about having all of us at home for some uninterrupted time together. My sisters and their families are looking forward to it too. Sending you lots of hugs and wishing you and your family a special celebration. Happy Thanksgiving, CoCo
I enjoyed your post so much. Your home is lovely and the table is perfect for making new holiday memories. Our Thanksgiving is usually spent in our pajamas. Hubby and I, eat a lot, LOL and watch movies and nap, giggle. But this year we are going to our daughter’s for dessert. So lets hear it for mixing it up a bit this holiday season ( wink).I’m happy to be hopping along with you, pinned. Hugs!
That sounds like so much fun Katherine! Just not having to rush anywhere and taking the time to relax for an entire day sounds like a dream. I’m excited you’ll be going to your daughters house for dessert. I love anything sweet so that would totally be up my alley too. Plus, less pressure! I’ll pass along your kind words about my parents table to them. I know they’ll be tickled! Cheers for making new memories and for kicking off a happy holiday season! Hugs, CoCo
I’m all about traditions but see nothing wrong with tweaking them as the family changes. As long as your together that’s what really counts. This dining room and tablescape is so gorgeous. I have a thing for Chippendale chairs and these are to die for! Wishing you and your family the best Thanksgiving. Cheers to food, family and fun!
So sweet of you to say about my parent’s table, Michelle, thank you! I can’t even tell you how many times that set and those chairs have traveled around with us. While we eat here for regular family meals we’ve never eaten at that table for Thanksgiving so it’s going to be a fun new experience. And you’re absolutely right, it’s being together that counts. I know you’ll have lots to prep and celebrate this week so I’ll be thinking of you and your family. Sending you hugs and wishing you a very happy Thanksgiving, CoCo
Coco, what a blessing it has been all of these years, and what a blessing it will be to get ‘off the road’ this year and start new traditions. By the way, that list of activities sounds wonderful! My family also lived all over the country, but could not afford to travel to be with extended family for holidays, so it was usually just the four of us. This year will be small, my husband, parents and I along with a dear friend, but it doesn’t matter how many, it matters that we gather.
You are so right, Chloe! Just being together no matter who is around your table is really the spirit of Thanksgiving. I love that you have friends that join your celebration too. My bestie S joins our family a lot because her family lives so far away. She’s always grateful to feel included. Other than being together, we’re really looking forward to not having to rush from one event to the next. I know it won’t always be that way but this year, we desperately need it. Sending you hugs and prayers for safe travels this Thanksgiving and throughout the holiday season, CoCo
Here’s to making new memories and traditions, CoCo! May you all have a wonderfully cozy, family time that your mom and all of you will treasure for years to come! Your table is lovely, especially that transferware; swoon!
I really appreciate it, Lora, thank you so much! I think my parents are getting excited about hosting all of us at Thanksgiving for the first time. They’ve been married almost 49 years, so it’s been a long time coming. Wishing you and your family all the goodness and joy that comes with Thanksgiving and the holiday season. Hugs, CoCo
CoCo, I love this post so much! It’s true, we stress ourselves out this time of year, and it’s hard to change traditions. As our family has grown and become more extended, I’m thankful that my siblings, parents and I have become more flexible, as have my in-laws. Your table and dining room look absolutely stunning in this post (as always!), but your message is just as beautiful. Happy Thanksgiving, my friend!
You’re so awesome Crissy,thank you! We are very thankful to have such a close family and have appreciated their support for a change this year. They all live in the same town and while it’s nice to be able to see everyone in the same trip, it can definitely be tough to be the family that is expected to be the most flexible and accommodating every holiday. While I know change is not a permanent one, I’m excited to see what it feels like to finally have a Thanksgiving at home. Wishing you and your family the happiest Thanksgiving, CoCo
What a heartwarming post.
As a child my Thanksgivings were always crowded with so much of our family living close by. I was sad when things changed as we grew up and people moved away. One year Steve and I took the kids to Mexico for Thanksgiving and I realized later that it broke my father’s heart to no have us with them.
Our children live in separate parts of the state and we tend to go with one or the other. This will be our 6th year with our daughter-in-law’s family. They live 1/2 mile from us and it’s just 7 of us, maybe 8 if her brother has a new girlfriend. And our son has decided that we should add the tradition of going to a movie on Thanksgiving night.
Have a lovely Thanksgiving
It’s been so much fun to hear how people celebrate Thanksgiving Carol! I went to the movies for the first time on Thanksgiving night 2 years ago and we had a blast. Although it’s going to be a big change for us this year, I think my Mom is excited to host us all for the first time ever. All of my grandparents have passed away now and I think she’s excited to pick up the torch. Even my Dad who has the personality of Rambo is getting in the spirit. I hear he’s been watching videos of how to make pecan and chocolate pies, as well as cinnamon rolls ha ha. Sending you big hugs for a warm and happy Thanksgiving with your family, CoCo
So glad you shared this post! Your family will have such a special Thanksgiving! I love your table and those gorgeous dishes and napkins. Pheasants are one of my favorite things to to decorate with in Fall! Love yours!
Thank you so much Kristin! I will let my Mom know, she’ll be so excited you like the transwerware and pheasants. I swear they’ve traveled all over with us so it would be weird to not have them out at Thanksgiving. I hope you and your family have a special celebration as well. It’s in the 70s in Florida but I know crazy weather is probably heading your way. I’ll be thinking of you! Hugs and Happy Thanksgiving, CoCo
Cheers to your mom for wanting a change…and kudos to you all for supporting her. As a family that always had to be the travelers – as we always lived out of town, we totally get it. By the time we organized, packed, pre-made food, got stuck in holiday traffic, etc…it was exhausting. Not to mention the fact that all we did was make beds, cook, clean and plan for the next meal. There was no real quality time together. We think this may be your best Thanksgiving yet! Much love!
Oh my gosh, YES, to everything you just said! That’s exactly how Thanksgiving has been for us in the past because we’re always rushing from one event to the next. You never really feel like you’re fully present because you’re tired from all the travel and having to watch the clock at the same time. We are beyond excited to be able to spend Thanksgiving at my parents house for the first time in over 40 years. I think my parents are getting excited too. I hear Rambo has been watching videos on how to make the perfect pecan and chocolate pies 🙂 Sending you both love and light for a very happy Thanksgiving weekend, CoCo