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Commentary: Try these tips to help deliver a memorable Thanksgiving

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Jodi Rall, Columnist

Jodi Rall is a Brentwood resident and writer. 

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. While celebrating the bounties of the harvest have always been special, the day is extra special for our family, as the youngest of our children was born on Thanksgiving. 

I have shared this story before, but it is too funny not to share again. 

I was on the phone with my mom asking for her help with my stuffing and felt a contraction. Then I realized my water had broken as I stood right there in the kitchen with my apron on. 

While still on the phone with mom, I told her what was going on. My mind racing, I went to the family room to sit down. Surely this is not happening. Our other three babies were under 6 and we had no family in town to help. 

Just as I sat down, my hubby yelled, “Don’t sit on the leather chair, you will ruin it. And what are we going to do about the stuffing?”

Stuffing? Well, I’ll just let you imagine my response.

The end to this story is a bouncing four-week-early baby boy, who, much like a Butterball turkey, came in weighing over 9 pounds. Neighbors took our food, and our dearest friends picked up the three other children, who joined their family for the day. 

What helped me that year was being organized. Each year, I map out our meal and try to plan as much as possible. 

As I sat down today to begin making my list for our meal this year, those memories flooded my mind. You see, with so much negativity around us, I am feeling a little overwhelmed. Like many of you, I’m trying to figure out if our adult children should even come home.

I found this great checklist online, and it is helping me stay focused in planning for our meal. I’m trying to do as much as I can ahead of time so I’m not stressed on the holiday. 

Something else I did this year is order some items from local businesses. I supported local, and it took the pressure off me. 

Here are a few tips from my kitchen to yours:

First, begin with a checklist so you have all the items you need. There’s nothing worse than realizing on the day of that you are missing something. 

Second, ask family members who will be attending Thanksgiving dinner what their favorite items are. Why make vegetables that nobody is going to eat? There is no rule that says you must serve traditional items just because. 

Third, if possible, cook side items ahead of time. Why spend your holiday in the kitchen? 

Fourth, ask your adult children or guests to bring something. Assigning each a task can help on the day of, too. Maybe it’s getting help with setting the table, getting the special dishes and serving pieces out. 

Fifth, have fun and enjoy every moment of your day. It may look a little different this year, but do try to focus on the positives. 

My last tip: If the weather is nice on Thanksgiving, get outside and take a family walk. While we will not be holding our usual Turkey Bowl flag football game, we can take a walk together.

Thank you for taking time to read my columns and stories. I am honored, humbled and, most of all, thankful to get to do what I love and share the journey with you readers.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Jodi Rall is a writer and Brentwood resident. 

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