After spending the last three Thanksgivings with Lori's family at her aunt and uncle's place in Canyon Lake (west of New Braunfels), it was nice to stay at home for the holiday for a change. It's not that I mind traveling for Thanksgiving - I've done it many times before and I'm sure I'll do it many times again - but there's something to be said for not having to pack, not having to fight holiday traffic, being able to sleep in your own bed, not having to ask permission before you raid the refrigerator for leftover turkey, etc...
Thanksgiving festivities were actually held at my parents' house, which is two blocks away from our house. This worked out well for our out-of-town guests (mostly relatives from my mom's side of the family) because our house served as an excellent location for overflow accomodations. My cousin and her husband from College Station stayed with us, as did my brother (whose room at my parents house had been taken over by one of my uncles) and my brother-in-law, who thought that staying with us for a few days would be more fun than sitting by himself in his apartment in Midtown.
Guests began arriving on Wednesday, and that evening we had a crab and shrimp boil, which has become something of a Thanksgiving tradition at my parents' house. The house became even more crowded on Thanksgiving Day, when the rest of Lori's immediate family and some of my parents' friends arrived. There was plenty of food in spite of the large number of mouths to feed: we cooked three separate turkeys as well as a ham, and accompaniments included cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, egg noodles, green bean casserole, dirty rice, an assortment of pies, an incredible chocolate pumpkin cheesecake that our neighbor baked for us, and three separate trays full of stuffing. Needless to say, we all stuffed ourselves nicely.
Thursday evening several of us - Lori, Kirby, her brother, my brother, and a handful of my cousins - decided to see the Uptown Lighting Ceremony marking the "official" beginning of the holiday season. I was worried that we weren't going to be able to find a place to park, but there turned out to be plenty of parking in the Galleria's underground garages. We walked across Westheimer to a section of Post Oak Boulevard that had been closed to vehicle traffic, and waited along with thousands of others for the lighting of the trees along Post Oak and accompanying fireworks display, which turned out to be very nice. Let the consumerist frenzy begin!
This being Texas, Friday morning was spent watching the Texas - Texas A&M game on TV at my parents' house. One of my aunts (who also lives in College Station) and my cousins wanted the Aggies to win. One of my uncles, Lori and her brother wanted Texas to win. My father, my brother and I watched the game wishing there were some way both teams could lose. After the game was over most of my relatives departed.
Friday evening it was my turn to cook, and I did what any sensible Houstonian would do with leftover turkey: I made turkey gumbo. The night before I had boiled the carcasses of two of the three turkeys to create turkey stock, and this made preparing the gumbo a lot quicker than it normally takes. Everybody enjoyed it, and I was rather proud of my gumbo-cooking skills.
Saturday, like Friday, was spent in front of the TV watching college football. Lori and I had planned on doing some house-cleaning on Sunday, but we were still suffering from holiday inertia so we didn't get as much accomplished as we would have liked. But that's okay; we have plenty of time to clean the house this week and it was nice to be lazy and unproductive for a few days.
All in all, a successful and enjoyable Thanksgiving. I haven't stepped on the scales since last week, however; I really don't want to know how much weight I gained over the holiday.