April Jeppson: See the blessings in your life this Thanksgiving

Published 8:03 pm Thursday, November 15, 2018

Every Little Thing by April Jeppson

April Jeppson


Sandwiched between two holidays that are far more commercialized, Thanksgiving gets kind of a raw deal. There is no Thanksgiving tree or Thanksgiving lights, kids don’t dress up or go door-to-door asking for stuffing or pumpkin pie. I’ve never heard someone say their house is all decorated for Thanksgiving. I don’t believe this holiday gets the love it deserves.

Email newsletter signup

I kind of dig that this holiday is less commercialized. It’s simpler and more about family and traditions. It has nothing to do with the decorations you purchase. You need a turkey. If you have a turkey, you can hold a perfectly good Thanksgiving. I mean, a pie would be nice, too.

So, since we’re talking about pie — as a kid I never cared for pie. I didn’t like the crust and the mushy insides that kind of tasted like apple or pumpkin — it just didn’t do it for me. Then I discovered pudding pies. Banana cream, chocolate — anything in a graham cracker crust, basically. Oh man, my eyes were opened. We have friends who visit us every fall, and they bring a giant pumpkin pie with them. It takes up half a shelf in our fridge and is worth every inch of real estate. My pallet has adjusted over the years, and I’ve also discovered that enough whip topping pretty much makes everything taste amazing.

Do you still dress up for Thanksgiving? I remember putting on some of my nicest clothes before we’d head over to my grandma’s house. Back then, my nicest clothes consisted of a pair of dark jeans or corduroy pants and a nice flannel shirt. Oh the ’90s. I’m pretty sure I tucked in my shirt and the coordinating flannel that went over it. I might have even had a beaded choker. Anyway, it was kind of fun to get together with my cousins and sit around the table enjoying this food that only came around once a year.

I think everyone has their favorite side dish. Candied yams, stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy, cranberries — mine is green bean casserole. Please don’t make it fancy, either. I like my beans French cut from the can; actually just make it like the back of the cream of mushroom soup tells you to. Add an extra splash of soy sauce and a few more fried onions, and hot dang I’m already salivating! In fact, if I can get a piece of turkey, with a little stuffing, some gravy and some of my casserole — this literally must be what heaven tastes like. If heaven has a taste.

Another thing I don’t like messed with is my cranberries. Slide them out of the can onto a dish and cut them into smooth little circles for all to enjoy. If you offer me something with chunks or actual cranberries, no thank you. To quote the late, great Anthony Bourdain, “Thanksgiving is not the time for innovation … Give the people what they want, and make sure it’s consistent with what they remember.” Yes. 100 times, yes.

We also have this tradition of going around the table and saying one thing we are thankful for. As a kid it was sort of awkward. You’d make eye contact with your cousin and start to giggle, or you weren’t sure what you should say. As an adult, it’s more of a moment to look around the table and realize that everyone sitting there is a blessing. The roof over my head. The fact that we have warm, delicious food to eat. Instead of not knowing what to say, I’m now daunted with the task of limiting it to just one thing.

As the next week approaches, I hope you’re able to enjoy some traditions of your own. I hope someone makes a dish that takes you back to your childhood. And I really hope that you’re able to look around the table and see all those blessings in your life.

Albert Lean April Jeppson is a wife, mom, coach and encourager of dreams.