It is GO time in the burbs.
Sure, it is before Thanksgiving- but the Dahl holidays will launch on Saturday with a Faux Thanksgiving to honor our patriarch, Steve Dahl, on the occasion of his birthday. I am not a fan of the day dedicated to cleaning, cooking, serving, eating and cleaning. It is just too much. I AM a fan of the notion of being with family, and giving thanks. And I am a BIG fan of my husband. He loves Thanksgiving, and is hard to buy a gift for, so I am giving him an early feast as his gift.
It is selfish, because my kids will be scattered here and there for the real Thanksgiving and to cook the full meal for two is silly. It is also the best possible way to accommodate our best birthday gift, Henry. At 4.5 months, he is learning to go to sleep at 6ish, but the progress is fits and starts. Having a crib on site is a feature that no restaurants offer.
Because it will not be a true Thanksgiving, I am going to avail myself of every short cut I can- Trader Joe's has seduced me with their flyer. I have printed out my shopping list, and it includes their brined bird, brussell sprouts, frozen pre-mashed potatoes, turkey gravy, cranberry sauce and stuffing mix. The truth is that I have only cooked a turkey twice in my life. There are no guarantees. The Trader can boost the odds.
To give the family a fall back position, the kids will be bringing pie, bread, wine and nibblers. No one goes hungry if there is bread and pie.
On Sunday, Steve's real birthday, I will start decorating the house for the holidays. I have to get in front of the curve, because my family will be spending the first week in December in Chicago for a bridal shower, our Joliat Christmas and a girls' blitz of the One of a Kind Christmas show at the Merchandise Mart. I always decorate my house to an overdone, glimmering state, but this year I have added motivation. Someone will actually see it besides Steve and me!
I will be posting my progress here. I will have pictures and explanations of how and why I do things. I will try to be honest about all the junk I hide, and all the short cuts I make. I'll admit I am all about the top surface for me from November to December.
My first challenge is that my Boy Scout has retired from active duty. For 10 years, I have purchased wreaths and garland from the same troop. I believe that it is time for me to go faux for the door. Last year I went all Pottery Barn and put hundreds of ornaments on my door decorations. Extricating them was really a pain in the cold of January. I will post my progress, decision and results.
One very scary step I have made is to return to a habit my Mom had- of decorating concrete geese in outfits. Steve is cringing BIG TIME. They have lost their Halloween costumes, and are currently a turkey and a hunter. I have their Christmas costumes. Steve has a room reserved for me at the asylum. I will decorate it.
My tip for the day: My main tree is artificial, and I bought it with no lights. Ironically, it cost more, but it frustrates me less. I buy the LEDs for the tree, in lines of 50. Winter White. They do not create heat, and are reliable. If a string goes bad, it is easier to find the offending line. They are easy to stuff in a jar full of ornaments (one of my favorites) and do not overheat. For outside, buy the cheapest 1.99 strings of 50 lights. It is not tragedy to pitch them if they go bad or if they are frozen to the greenery. Shop now for LEDs, and store them in the garage. Last year, the LEDs sold out before Thanksgiving.
I have many other short cuts and easy tips. But trust me- at my house, nothing is simple or easy. You will be the witness.