The Year Santa Came For Thanksgiving - The Vegetarian Who Loves Bacon Blog at Allrecipes.com - 134529

The Vegetarian Who Loves Bacon

The Year Santa Came for Thanksgiving 
 
Nov. 3, 2009 9:47 am 
Updated: Nov. 14, 2009 6:34 am
I’ll never forget the year when my Mom told me Santa was coming for Thanksgiving. I couldn’t have been in double-digits yet, and obviously, I still believed in Santa.
I grew up in a small community on an island in the Pacific Northwest, with two parents who had a knack at making friends and welcoming them into our home.
Santa just happened to live nearby, in his off-season, of course. He was an older plump gentleman who went to our church, everyone knew him as Shorty. He had a twinkle in his eye, the whitest beard I’ve ever seen, and a smile for everyone all the time. His sweet wife, Hazel, matched the part of Mrs. Claus perfectly, and the two played the part of Mr. and Mrs. Claus for as long as I can remember.
It wasn’t long before the word got out to my parents that Shorty and Hazel didn’t have anywhere to go for Thanksgiving. And before I knew it, I was passing mashed potatoes, gravy, and cranberry sauce over the turkey to Saint Nick himself.
As a vegetarian, Thanksgivings had less to do about the bird for me, and became more about who was coming—always the more the merrier. As a little girl, I loved to set the table for dinner—especially for special dinners. All of the fancy plates came out, as did the lace tablecloths and cloth napkins. Glasses we weren’t supposed to use the rest of the year were brought out too, and I took great glee in making the house look like a fine dining establishment. Of course with all these extra people in the house, we usually didn’t have enough room in our sit-in kitchen. Sometimes we made one big table in the living room, which was exciting because we never ate in there!
In preparing for the upcoming Thanksgiving, I’ve been thinking about the past few years, and how I’ve incorporated those same principals in my own celebrations. I love Thanksgiving—a holiday where I don’t have to find, buy, and wrap gifts—I can focus on what I do love, spending time with my family and friends, and making and eating great food!
A few years ago, I had asked a friend what she and her husband were doing for Thanksgiving. She told me they were doing an “appetizer” Thanksgiving. She said they were making a small feast all of their favorite foods and spending the day together with family, watching football, and eating their favorite foods.
While I don’t plan on doing an appetizer Thanksgiving, I do plan on adapting the menu to some less “traditional” items. Friends who don’t have holiday plans are always invited. The last few years I’ve had Costa Rican, Puerto Rican, and Russian guests join our family—making it an international celebration of sorts. I can’t wait to see who comes this year—or to figure out the menu! Being the sweet tooth that I am, I’m ditching the traditional pumpkin pie for the Double Layer Pumpkin Cheesecake instead!
Of course, thinking about these memories sent me looking for photos of Shorty, and I managed to find a few for everyone to see! In memory of Shorty and Hazel, and in memory of my Dad and Grandpa, I hope the coming Thanksgivings are a day to remember, less about the food stress and more about spending time with the people I care about.
P.S. Feel free to suggest items for the menu, anything goes! What is a non-traditional item you serve for the holidays?
My Mom titled this photo "Gosh, I wish I had wrote down what I wanted."
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Jenny and Santa, I still don't look entirely sure of the situation!
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Jimmy and Jenny with Santa
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Jimmy and Jenny with Santa, I don't think this was the last photo we have with him either!
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Comments
Nov. 3, 2009 12:52 pm
What a lovely memory. You are a lucky girl. Mag
 
Nov. 3, 2009 1:33 pm
We always have crab breads at Christmas and Thanksgiving...a family favorite. Use cocktail rye bread, mix 1 can crab meat, 1 block cream cheese, a dash of Worcestershire and a dash of hot sauce, plus 1 tsp seasoning salt. Spread on bread, top with shredded cheddar and bake about 10 min at 350... until bread is lightly toasted and cheese is melted! Enjoy and I love your Santa pictures :)
 
Nov. 4, 2009 1:45 am
What a beautiful way of life!
 
Nov. 5, 2009 8:56 am
My mom's birthday sometimes falls on Thanksgiving and when it does we always have Mexican food! Yum! I love non-traditional
 
Nov. 5, 2009 5:39 pm
What special memories--and such a great reminder how to be happy with less stress. Love the Santa photos! My mom and dad's birthdays were in November and since they've passed away, it's a hard month for me. I just bring out my mother's crystal bowls (they were my great grandmother's) and just try to have that little bit of my parents with me..remembering all the hands that passed those dishes for holidays!
 
Nov. 6, 2009 7:15 am
I really enjoyed reading your story! I love Thanksgiving too, and spending time with my family and friends! A non-traditional meal at Thankgiving is awsome. The holiday is all about being thankful anyway, so eat whatever you want! Wishing you many more happy memories!
 
Nov. 6, 2009 1:23 pm
How neat! I bet you were so excited to have Santa at your house especially for Thanksgiving! What island did you grow up on? How about having a Mexican theme or Italian Theme? Or if you are having a bunch of different nationalites how about a different item from each other's personal holiday favorites?
 
Keri 
Nov. 6, 2009 1:33 pm
What a great memory! At my house, we always received a phone call from "Santa Claus" a couple of weeks before Christmas. To this day, my parents won't tell me who it was that made those phone calls!!
 
Nov. 6, 2009 5:13 pm
I loved reading your blog! Thanks for sharing that memory with us. Our non-traditional Thanksgiving dish (when I was still living with Mom and Dad) was pancit, a Filipino noodle dish. Everything else was typical Thanksgiving fare...but the pancit was on the table, too. Deeeelicious!
 
mominmichigan 
Nov. 6, 2009 6:55 pm
Italian. Always gnocchi and red sauce at Thanksgiving dinner!
 
mominmichigan 
Nov. 6, 2009 6:57 pm
This would be a great veggie non traditional Tday meal. Look up the recipe for: Quinoa and Black Beans
 
Nov. 7, 2009 4:27 am
What a beautiful blog! Thank you for sharing this memory and the pictures of it with us.
 
LAH46XX 
Nov. 7, 2009 9:37 am
So sweet, thanks for getting me in the spirit of Thanksgiving!
 
Nov. 7, 2009 11:05 am
So important to look back and remember and to pass on the traditions , this yr for my sideboard display a have gourds and fall stuff and then I added in silver frames my inlaws that have passed away and my dad who has also passed away and its going to be something to have all the "family" here if only in our hearts. Thanks for sharing Have a great holiday =)
 
sparkiej 
Nov. 7, 2009 5:51 pm
The year my Mother passed away, it was too close to Thanksgiving--I couldn't bear to make the traditional meal--so we made chicken enchiladas, guacamole, and various other mexican dishes. It made a sad time bearable, and we enjoyed the meal and being together.
 
Nov. 8, 2009 9:36 am
Thank your sharing your story, those are awesome pictures that I know you treasure. I too am a fan of non-traditional. My family sounds a lot like yours, we go to Fl to Mom and Dad's but you never know who will be there...they've had as many as 30 ppl for dinner :-) Mom cooks for an army anyway so it's fitting to have a lot of friends (new or old) for dinner. I'm officially in the holiday spirit...I love Thanksgiving too b/c you get all of the celebration w/o the stress....I love your non-tradional "tradition"!
 
Dawn 
Nov. 8, 2009 11:19 am
I love the traditions that the holidays bring throught out the year. I especially love Thanksgiving and the weekend that follows. There are just four in my immediate family but with the inlaws, outlaws and all others that are invited and that come to dinner, we have sometimes standing room only. I didn't think my son appreciated any of the traditions or memories because he's just that type of kid and acts like he can't be bothered but the other day he said he loved Thanksgiving because of all the company and the food that I made. It made me cry. So thank you for your wonderful story. This goes to show all the everyone out there that even though we don't think anyone notices, they do. Happy Holidays. P.S. My son (yep, he is really surprising Mom this year), daughter and I have already started our "Christmas" baking. I love the holidays...
 
Nov. 8, 2009 10:09 pm
that's so sweet! I wish santa would come and eat with us for thanksgiving. but, yeah, being a vegetarian never really bothered me although people often wonder how we did thanksgiving it is still a great holiday with out meat cuz as long as there's food (and lots of it) I'm happy, lol
 
jtill 
Nov. 9, 2009 3:05 am
only santa thing I remember is when i was about 10. my grandmother lived in a highrise senior home. and she called us about 10pm christmas eve. and told me and my sister she was sitting on santas lap and she made out with him. i still remember some random old man saying ho ho ho on the phone. it was quite tramatising for me
 
sueb 
Nov. 9, 2009 5:49 am
Although I loved to visit my grandparents for Thanksgiving, there was a time that we went to Plymouth Plantation. Another time we invited a neighbor and her mother, a lady with lots of stories about growing up in another country. Our appetizers included (and I still make) stuffed dates (dates with a walnut or pecan half inside, which are then rolled in powdered sugar), crackers and cheeses, and mixed nut with raisins gorp.
 
Jenny 
Nov. 9, 2009 10:46 am
Wow! So many great stories and traditions out there, as well as great suggestions! Kerstin, I grew up on Whidbey Island. :)
 
Nov. 9, 2009 11:46 am
Thank you for sharing this story! I really needed a kick to get into holidays this year. Can't believe Thanksgiving is right around the corner.
 
 
 
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Jenny

Home Town
Langley, Washington, USA
Living In
Seattle, Washington, USA

Member Since
Apr. 2005

Cooking Level
Intermediate

Cooking Interests
Baking, Grilling & BBQ, Stir Frying, Asian, Mexican, Indian, Italian, Middle Eastern, Mediterranean, Healthy, Vegetarian, Dessert

Hobbies
Sewing, Hiking/Camping, Camping, Biking, Walking, Photography, Reading Books, Music

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About Me
I love to cook and bake. I live to eat, not eat to live. I love eating out and trying new things! I’ve been a vegetarian for my whole life, but I do sneak the occasional slice of bacon or pepperoni.
My favorite things to cook
My favorite things to cook are usually vegetarian; Indian, Vietnamese and Thai cuisines are a few of my favorites. I also have a sweet tooth; cheesecakes and cookies are my specialties!
My favorite family cooking traditions
People often wonder where I get my love for cooking; my Mom cooks out of a box and my Dad was always too busy to cook. Perhaps I am a foodie at heart and it was an instinct for survival?
My cooking triumphs
I enjoy cooking for large groups, but it’s such a big task! Lots of planning, shopping, cooking and cleaning! I always feel a great sense of accomplishment once everyone has food on their plate!
My cooking tragedies
Most recently I dropped an entire quiche on the floor. I was trying to move it to a different rack in the oven, and I dropped it upside down. What a mess!
 
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