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September 30, 2017
Thanksgiving has to be the most perfect of holidays. Families and friends get together to share their happiness and hospitality on a day dedicated, quite simply, to giving thanks.
It is a longstanding tradition to take a moment to be mindful of all that we have, long before mindfulness ever entered our vernacular. It is a joyous, peaceful holiday, lacking the specters of Halloween or the fireworks of Canada Day. Being non-denominational, it is also entirely inclusive.
Our own celebration has changed along with the times. We've had tofurkey instead of the traditional fare, we've celebrated indoors, outdoors and with a wide variety of friends and extended family members in a number of different countries. Though our traditional dinner used to be the full on, white linen tablecloth with multiple courses, I'm beginning to love paring it down in favor of less formal but equally gregarious affairs.
It begins with a change in decor. I've switched out the white linen tablecloth for table runners. Instead of running lengthwise along the table, they run across the width of the table, covering two place settings and leaving room for serving dishes in between. The repetition of three or even four runners side by side down the table creates a very ordered aesthetic but it still shows bits of the table underneath. What I scale down in some areas, I ramp up in others. I can't bring myself to use something other than the elemental beauty of pure linen, but I do like to balance the simplicity of roughly textured linen table runners with the glam of beautiful crystal and an abundance of candles. Group them in uneven numbers, float them in bowls of water, and surround them with greenery and gourds in earthy colors. Having a magnificent centerpiece tells your guests that you went all out to make the table beautiful for them. Another way to make people feel welcome is to do handwritten place cards so each guest knows you were thinking of them specifically in planning your celebration.
If the food is delicious and our guests are comfortable and happy, then we tend to linger at the table for a long time, recycling favorite family stories, ribbing each other and, in so doing, practicing the very thing that we are there to celebrate. I believe a well lived life has a rich portfolio of those kind of moments.
We have so much to be thankful for in our very peaceful, and exquisitely beautiful little piece of paradise that is the west coast of Canada. We hope you enjoy every precious moment of your special day to give thanks.
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