Thanksgiving Prep

In just a few days, it'll be time for turkey and stuffing and all the good things about a holiday dedicated to eating! I'm looking forward to it. This year, I'm not cooking (much as I enjoy cooking). We're going to the in-laws. For years now, I've made a particular stuffing that everyone always asks for. My MIL did not ask me to make it, and my hubby is kind of beside himself at the prospect of not having it I think. (There's always Christmas, honey.)

I'm pretty sure, now that I think about it, that this is only the second Thanksgiving we will have ever spent with the in-laws. So many years of military moves and living in vastly different places meant we never got together before. We had a couple of unofficial Thanksgivings, where we celebrated a week or two early because we happened to be together. Last year, they came here. This year, we're going to their place, though it's about a 9 hour drive. Since I've never actually spent the holiday with them in their home, I don't really know what their traditions are.

We always had the Macy's parade on, but I'm pretty sure they don't do this because Hubby frowns every year when I want to listen to it while I cook. Maybe they watch football — which will, I must admit, not thrill me. But I'll have books and my laptop, so I'll find something to do if the MIL doesn't need help in the kitchen.

What are your traditions? Do you like being the one who cooks? (I do — see the Food Snob post about Velveeta and you'll know I like being in control of the ingredients.) Or do you prefer to let someone else do the cooking? Ever gone to a restaurant instead? (We did once; it was okay, but I like the smells in my house and the leftovers.)

Decorating for the Holidays

I know it's too early, but walking into stores and seeing all the Christmas decorations has me thinking about decorating. I'm going away for Thanksgiving, so must think of these things now. Plus, it's the first time hubby and I will have a tree in years. There were reasons we never put one up — a terminally ill cat, a new kitten, spending every Christmas with my parents, going away over the holidays, etc — but this year there is NO excuse. My parents live 17 miles away, and I'm sure we'll get together, but this year I'm decorating.

I've already hauled the hubby to the store and pointed out decorations. He didn't frown or grumble too much. I want to put lights on the house too (make that I want him to put lights on the house), but I'm not sure we'll get to that part. But oh yes, my tree is going up, cats be darned. And I have a mantle for the first time in years, so that's getting decorated too.

Once we return from our Thanksgiving trip, the fun begins. I plan to buy some things in the next couple of weeks so I don't have to worry about it. But come December 1, decorations are going up. And the Christmas music will be playing too. It's odd to walk into stores and hear it now, but after Thanksgiving, I'm going to enjoy tuning my radio to the local station that plays Christmas music 24/7.

Do you like to decorate for the holidays? When do you start your Christmas decorating? What's your favorite holiday tradition at your home? Does it annoy you to see all the stuff in the stores now? Would you prefer they wait until after Thanksgiving? Real tree or faux?