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Preparing for a Farmhouse Thanksgiving

Traditions flourish during the holiday season. What’s your favorite Thanksgiving tradition or memory?

I’m so excited! Thanksgiving is a less than 24-hours away, and it feels like I’m seven years old again and Christmas is just days away. My siblings have come home! Happy, happy, joy, joy!

As the only child in my family to remain planted in the Lehigh Valley, I’m the oddball. The holidays are a time of reunion and playing catch up, and I look forward to them more now than ever before.

Although most of my relatives are still local, my brother and sister have taken their families to new homes in Charleston, S.C. and Asheville, N.C. As it turns out, I really miss them throughout the year!

As an aunt to four nephews and two nieces, it’s sometimes hard for me to think about all the precious moments we miss with them living so far away. But it only makes the holidays that much more special. This is a week of family and tradition, so I thought I’d share a bit of our annual family rituals.

I’ve previously written about our special place – the farm, as we call it. Having grown up visiting there for holidays and summer breaks, it’s a part of me. Ask any member of my family and they’ll tell you how Thanksgiving just wouldn’t be the same if we couldn’t spend it at the farm.

Located in central Pennsylvania, just a few miles south of Bloomsburg, the farm has been in our family for a century. My mom’s side of the family still lives in that general area – aunts, uncles, and cousins – so it’s reminiscent of a Norman Rockwell illustration when we gather at Thanksgiving each and every year.

Over the past several years, my siblings haven’t been able to make it to the farm for Thanksgiving. Babies, jobs, and life have kept them in their new homes for this holiday.

But this year is different. Everyone will be at the farm! After a quick headcount it looks like we’ll have to find a way to squeeze about 27 adults and 13 kiddos into the kitchen and living room this year. If the cousins from "up north" decide to make a visit, we’re going into the 50 range.

Oh yeah, throw in a dog or two for good measure.

And then there’s the food. Have you ever been to Thanksgiving dinner where there were three turkeys, a ham, more side dishes than you could imagine and (I’m not kidding here) more than 25 pies and desserts? Talk about a smorgasbord of Thanksgiving goodness! I love the team effort that goes into the preparations.

But it doesn’t stop there! Part of the tradition is a group photo, perhaps a football game in the orchard, a nice long hike in the woods, lazing in front of a televised football game, riding four-wheelers, and a roaring bonfire to close the day.

For those of us brave enough, we squeeze into the three farmhouse bedrooms and on the living room floor to spend the night. Not sure I’m that brave this year, but we’ll see.

What I do know is that this will be one very memorable Thanksgiving, and I’m so thankful for family, health and all the happiness that we’ve been blessed with in 2012.

What are your family’s traditions? Is there anything you’re extra thankful for this year?

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