I really. really! despise how our Thanksgiving holiday has been overshadowed by "Black Friday" and even by Christmas itself. It seems like poor Thanksgiving just kind of gets shoved into the shadow of great deals on flat screen TVs, laptops for $200, and the like.
Thanksgiving is a uniquely American holiday; and it's a holiday specifically designated for reflecting on the blessings in our lives and for giving thanks for all the good things we enjoy.
Instead, many people just thing of it as a shopping holiday. And this makes me very sad.
I really do reflect on our blessing at Thanksgiving (and other days of the year too of course). I really treasure my husband, families, home, provision, freedom, and the peace and satisfaction I have with my life.
Plan A for Kevin and I this year was going to his hometown in Michigan to help his mom move into her newly renovated home; but the plan was nixed when she didn't get her occupancy permit in time for us to make the trip up. Ironically enough, she got it the Wednesday before.
Plan B was Thanksgiving with my Mom and Dad, who live locally. My sister Noelle was in from University for the weekend, and we got together on Wednesday to bake.
For me, Thanksgiving baking seems to always entail some disaster, accident, and general failure for some reason. I can bake successfully any other day or Holiday in the year with ease and success, but Thanksgiving has really started to be an issue for me. (You can read about my Pumpkin Pie failures here.)
This year was no different.
My sister came over for the baking: two pumpkin pies, a chocolate pecan pie, and a pumpkin cheesecake.
I made my pie crusts (I always make my own; they taste better) and filled my pies; and the darned pumpkin pies came out with black spots on the top. Drat.
So then we whipped up the pumpkin cheesecake, and that went in last. 10 minutes into the baking time, I went in to the kitchen to get some tea, when I noticed smoke billowing out of the burners on the stove. I opened the oven door and saw more smoke and FLAMES!
I yelled to Noelle that the oven was on fire, while I grabbed my oven mitts to rescue my cheesecake from the fire. I suppose I didn't even think about the fact that the flames could have caught the mitts on fire and burned me when I reached into the oven inferno to grab that pumpkin cheesecake. I snatched it out and plopped it on the counter.
Noelle had run out into the yard to get some dirt - but there was no shovel or bucket within reach so that wasn't going to work. Meanwhile somewhere in the back of my mind I remembered reading that you can use baking soda to put out grease fires so I grabbed the baking soda from the pantry and started tossing it into the oven. The flames went right out; and Noelle and I were standing there coughing and sputtering in disbelief.
She took the cheesecake home and finished baking it in Mom's oven, while I cleaned up the mess in mine.
Kevin got home and took one look at the whole mess, and me in it, and immediately said we were going to dinner and oven shopping. Which was really nice.
The cheesecake turned out fine, despite the filling slopping out all over the box I had sent it home in with Noelle. She and Mom scooped the slopped filling back into the crust to finish baking it. It certainly didn't look like Paula Deen's version on the Food Network. But it tasted heavenly - a new favorite!
Despite the fact that I hate the way Black Friday gobbles up Thanksgiving's attention, I was bored and lonely the day after Thanksgiving (Kevin had to work) so Noelle and I decided to go to town mid afternoon and see the damage....and believe it or not, it was like any other day of the week.
There was no heavy traffic; and there was no debris in the stores from the fighting masses of shoppers thundering through to get x-boxes and Wiis; there were no angry throngs of people shoving and pushing their way through the isles. We went to Sam's club and looked at books, and didn't buy anything. All we did was buy ice cream in the snack bar.
Then we went to The Gingerbread House (a favorite of mine - a small local shop full of floral decor, gifts, gourmet food, and general loveliness)and sniffed the Yankee candles, and ogled over their new accessories department, and I was greatly inspired by the Christmas decor! I fell in love with some cable knit sweater Christmas stockings.... so we went to the Goodwill nearby where I bought a couple of funky old sweaters to try my hand at making some myself. I did leave there with a few Yankee votives to try, and a few other little things from their cooking and baking gadget section. Maybe if I buy more cooking and baking gadgets, my Thanksgiving baking failures will stop. Heh heh. Not likely...
We rented a movie from the Red Box, and we went right back home to Mom and Dad's for leftover turkey dinners. And that was the extent of my participation in "Black Friday".