Next year we’re having tofurkey!

Though I don’t like to eat them, I can still appreciate turkeys. The one my dad made this year was gorgeous. It was one of the prettiest ones I have ever seen. It had that beautiful golden brown skin that everyone tries so hard to get. How is it, though, that the only one who doesn’t eat turkey happened to be the one in the kitchen when he needed help carving it? I got to hold the platter while he wielded around the eletric knife. Um….awesome. Yeah.

I realized that the holidays are, overall, a lot less exciting as an adult. I still get excited for Thanksgiving, but I think a lot of that is just looking forward to getting off of work!  I love the baking and cooking involved. I love spending time with my family. Something this year, though, felt like it was lacking. I couldn’t put my finger on it until about 5:30pm last night. That was the moment that my niece and nephew arrived at my parents’ house.

My niece and nephew had already had round 1 of Thanksgiving at their Granny and Pop-Pop’s house, so they weren’t all that hungry and they weren’t super excited about the day in general. Neither had napped and a certain little girl was quite crabby at the beginning. I had anticipated this though, so I asked the kids if they wanted to help me make butter.

I wasn’t sure how this idea would go over, but I thought it could work. I had brought a pint of cream and two small mason jars with me. I put the cream in the jars with a bit of salt and got the kids started on shaking them. They quickly grew tired and passed the jars to S and their dad. We kept passing and shaking and passing and shaking and passing and shaking. My niece’s jar soon became pretty hard to shake. I took off the lid, and she got so excited when she saw that there was butter inside. My nephew said, “Me see!” and promptly stuck his finger in the jar and licked off the butter. My niece did the same. Then S. Then my brother. We all did. All of us stuck our less than perfectly sanitary fingers in the jar of freshly made butter to sample the delicacy that the kids just made. The kids were really excited and proud to have made something that everyone really liked.

We finished up the jars and put them both in the fridge. When it came time for dinner, we put the butter in a pretty little dish and placed it on the kitchen table. When the kids didn’t want to try their cauliflower, we made it “special” by putting their butter on it. (As Dad pointed out, it was the one dish that he made without butter or cream in effort to save some calories, but we fattened it up anyway!) They ate their veggies – most of them, at least – with that addition.

It’s moments like that that make the holidays special to me. The little things. Yes – Dad’s dinner was great. My cupcakes were awesome (had to say it). The wines – yes, plural – were terrific. But the memory that will stick with me the longest from this holiday will be the simple act of shaking cream in a jar with my family. We made something awesome out of seemingly nothing. We didn’t need anything fancy. We didn’t need stress. We just needed to take 20 minutes out of the evening to sit around, talk, and shake some jars.

Kids just add something special to the holidays. They find something exciting in almost everything. They remind us of how simple things can be. They give kisses and hugs (and smacks and attitudes) that only they can give. My nephew’s giggle makes me laugh. My niece’s sassy attitude makes me realize how much she’s growing up. The love they show their daddy makes my heart melt.

On the way home, I told S that without kids, holidays just aren’t the same. They are nice holiday gatherings with a bunch of food. With kids, though, there is excitement and wonder and unabashed emotions – including love and tantrums. We are hoping this is our last Thanksgiving without a child. Hopefully next year there will be another set of small hands to help with the shaking, and an extra little finger to stick in the communal jar.

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