And now, we nap…


We’re stepping out of the crazy a bit and taking a few days off over Thanksgiving.  You should do the same.

Be thankful.  Be restful.

We’ll be back here on Sunday, which is the first Sunday of Advent.

Pairing Virginia Wines with your Thanksgiving Meal


You have the plan for the turkey, and the stuffing, and grandma’s cranberry relish recipe.  But what about the wine?
Here are some posts that offer suggestions on how to pair Virginia wines with your Thanksgiving dinner.
This post is from 2014 but there are some great suggestions.
Alison says, “There’s no one right wine to pair with Thanksgiving, but some choices are better than others! Whether you prefer red, white or rosé, you’ll want to pick a wine that plays well with others to complement the huge array of flavors found on many Thanksgiving tables. Acidity is also a great feature when selecting a wine for Thanksgiving as it balances out the richness in many traditional holiday dishes.”
“Holiday wine matches aren’t so much about the food that’s on the table, but who is around it.”
“We pop the cork on our American Thanksgiving wine picks.”
“The Thanksgiving table is bursting with flavors: sugary sweet potato casserole, spicy cranberry sauce, smoky sausage stuffing, rich gravy. All these tastes need to be considered in making your choices.”
Again not exclusively Virginian, but Holley Simmons at The Washington Post offers The best beers and wines to pair with your favorite Thanksgiving dishes. “Thanksgiving is a day when no indulgence should be denied, so we present fool-proof wine and beer pairings for four common Thanksgiving dishes.”
The bottom line?  Sure, take the suggestions, but drink what you like.

Five Thanksgiving Posts We Love


It’s Thanksgiving week. All across America folks are finalizing travel plans, or cleaning the house, or searching Google for “how long does it take to defrost a turkey?”

There are many different Thanksgiving. Here are five Thanksgiving blog posts we thought you’d like.

Thanksgiving: Not Just a Day, But a Season
Rev. Dr. Mark D. Roberts says “There is a danger, I believe, in identifying one day a year as Thanksgiving Day. It’s the danger of implying that thanks is due on this day, but not on others. We face a similar danger, for example, when we designate the second Sunday in May as Mother’s Day. Shouldn’t children honor their mothers more than once a year? Similarly, shouldn’t we be thankful more often than once a year on the fourth Thursday of November?” Read on.

Tiny Buddha offers 7 Simple Ways to Create Thanksgiving Every Day.
Arvind Devalia says, “Thanksgiving Day will be gone all too soon, but there is no reason why you cannot continue the spirit of Thanksgiving all year around.” Read on.

CBC Music serves up a Thanksgiving Playlist. Sure, it’s Radio Canada, and Canadian Thanksgiving is a different day of celebration, but the music is good.

The Galveston Blog offers 10 Ways to Ensure a Happy Thanksgiving. It’s a short and simple, but helpful, list.

Finally, it’s what Thanksgiving is all about. What Christians Want to Know lists 10 Great Thanksgiving Prayers.

Have a favorite Thanksgiving post? Tell us about it in the comments.

Behold, the cranberry


What is it about cranberries?

While Virginians know that there were likely no cranberries at the real first Thanksgiving at Berkeley Plantation, it is believed that cranberries were among the bounty that Native Americans shared with the pilgrims.

Cranberries are a fruit that grows on long-running vines in sandy bogs and marshes. They are one of only three fruits native to North America. They grow mostly in the Northeast and the Pacific Northwest.

Cranberries are of course associated with Thanksgiving and Christmas. In the movie Shadowlands about C.S. Lewis and his relationship with Joy Gresham (whom he later married) there’s a seen with Lewis and young Douglas Gresham who is missing being home for the holidays. It goes like

Lewis: You wish you were at home, don’t you?

Douglas: We always have a turkey for Christmas at home.

Lewis: Well, we’ll have turkey here too.

Douglas: With cranberry sauce? – My dad loves cranberry sauce.

Lewis: Does he?

(To Mrs. Young, the Housekeeper)

Lewis: We wouldn’t happen to have any cranberry sauce, would we?

Mrs. Young: Cranberry sauce? What’s that?

Lewis: Well, my guess is it’s a sauce, made from cranberries.

Mrs. Young: Well, Mr. Lewis, if you can find me some cranberries, I’ll sauce ’em.

He did, and she did, but it wasn’t what young Douglas was hoping for.

Cranberries are a must at Thanksgiving, and there are many ways to serve them. Rather than pick
out a handful of recipes we found several sites that offer a variety of cranberry recipes.

Spectacular Thanksgiving Sides from Southern Living
There’s something for everyone in this special collection of Thanksgiving side dish recipes.
Find familiar favorites, along with tempting new creations to try on your Thanksgiving menu.

Fresh Cranberry Recipes from Martha Stewart

The Best Cranberry Desserts You’ll Ever Make from Huffington Post
No Thanksgiving feast would be complete without the requisite cranberry sauce. And they’re
pretty much the best part of any Thanksgiving leftover sandwich. But cranberries can do more
than accompany turkey — their unique tart flavor and ruby red color turn any standard dessert
into a stunning one.

Top Cranberry Sauce Recipes from The Food Network
Try new ways to make cranberry sauce with recipes from Food Network chefs.

21 Cranberry Recipes from Coastal Living
Don’t get bogged down thinking cranberries are just for traditional sauce. There’s way more to
this tart treat.

I Love a (Thanksgiving) Parade


If you’re like us, you grew up with a tradition of watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on Thanksgiving morning, and dreaming that one day you’d be there to watch it live.

In our household, the parade was always on the local NBC affiliate. All these years later it’s hard to watch it on any other channel.

The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade began in 1924, the same year America’s Thanksgiving Parade in Detroit, but four years after the 6abc Dunkin’ Donuts Thanksgiving Day Parade in Philadelphia.

Watch the Macy’s Parade and you’ll see floats, balloons, the Radio City Music Hall Rockettes and snippets of current Broadway shows.

The Macy’s Parade is also a signficant part of holiday classic Miracle on 34th Street, the 1947 version, not the remake. Face it, classics don’t go out of style.

These days there are parades all over the country including Walt Disney World.

The Macy’s Parade doesn’t have to be your favorite.

We just think it’s the best.

The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade begins at 9:00 a.m. EST on Thanksgiving Day and is broadcast in full on NBC.

Hymns of Thanks


When the English settlers gathered to give thanks to the harvest they shared a common faith, a common bond. Through the years Christians have continued to give thanks and some wonderful hymns have come out of that tradition of worship and thankgiving. Here are the first verses of four of the most loved Thanksgiving Hymns.

Come Ye Thankful People, Come,
Words by Henry Alford, Music by George J. Elvey

Come, ye thankful people, come, raise the song of harvest home;
All is safely gathered in, ere the winter storms begin.
God our Maker doth provide for our wants to be supplied;
Come to God’s own temple, come, raise the song of harvest home.

Count Your Blessings
Words by Johnson Oatman, Jr., Music by Edwin O. Excell

When upon life’s billows you are tempest tossed,
When you are discouraged, thinking all is lost,
Count your many blessings, name them one by one,
And it will surprise you what the Lord hath done.

Count your blessings, name them one by one,
Count your blessings, see what God hath done!
Count your blessings, name them one by one,
And it will surprise you what the Lord hath done.

Now Thank We All Our God
Words by Martin Rinkhart (translation Catherine Winkworth), Music by Johann Cruger

Now thank we all our God, with heart and hands and voices,
Who wondrous things has done, in Whom this world rejoices;
Who from our mothers’ arms has blessed us on our way
With countless gifts of love, and still is ours today.

We Gather Together
Netherlands folk hymn, translated by Theodore Baker

We gather together to ask the Lord’s blessing;
He chastens and hastens His will to make known.
The wicked oppressing now cease from distressing.
Sing praises to His Name; He forgets not His own.

Have a favorite Thanksgiving hymn?  Or a favorite post about Thanksgiving?  Share in the comments!

Why the Cornucopia?


Origins of the cornucopia go back to ancient mythology. It was the attribute of several Greek and Roman deities, most of all those associated with the harvest or spiritual abundance.

Here in America, the cornucopia has become associated mostly with Thanksgiving. The display usually consists of a hollow, horn-shaped basket filled with an abundance of fruits and vegetables.

Want to make a cornucopia of your own? Check out these resources.

Martha Stewart offers instructions to make a handmade cornucopia from raffia. Then she recommends filling it with wheat stalks, squash, apples and pears.

Make it a family project. KidzWorld gives instructions to make a cornucopia from breadstick dough that’s edible when you’re through with the display.

Favecrafts walks you through the instructions for making a cornucopia including suggestions for how to modify a craft store cone-shaped basket.

LilyShop offers instructions for three different types of cornucopia, including making one from pizza dough.

Artists Helping Children suggests several ways for kids to make a cornucopia. Check out the felt one made for holding silverware or a cornucopia wall hanging.

I am grateful for what I am and have. My thanksgiving is perpetual.
– Henry David Thoreau