Thanksgiving Plans

JULIA SPENCER-FLEMING: I know retailers like to name the day after Thanksgiving as the start of the holiday season, but for me, it’s always been the Monday before Turkey Day, mostly because traditionally I’ve either been 1) cleaning the house like Cinderella on amphetamines because we’re going to have twenty-some guests or 2) planning for a 12+ hour drive to Northern Virginia to celebrate with family. If you’re hosting, today’s the day to get your shopping done, and if you’re traveling, better make sure those tires are properly inflated and the oil is changed.

Of course, the last two Thanksgivings have been different for most of us. In 2020, the kids and I all managed to be together - including Youngest’s Handsome Boyfriend and the Sailor on leave - but, of course, no other guests. Last year was the smallest celebration I’ve ever done; the Maine Millennial and I shared the day with honorary Red Celia Wakefield and her delightful husband (and two Shih Tzus who were in ecstasies about the cooked turkey meat mysteriously falling from the sky into their mouths.)

This year will be another change-up: with Victoria headed for the Red-Headed Boyfriend’s parents’ and Spencer and his sweetheart staying in Virginia, it was just Youngest and I. We’ve accepted an invitation from a good friend, so this year, all I have to do is make a dessert and drive forty minutes! 

How about you, Reds? What are your Thanksgiving plans?


RHYS BOWEN: I always have it easy at Thanksgiving. I’m in Arizona. Clare hosts and usually it’s warm enough to sit outside. Clare lays lovely tables by the pool. We play outdoor games. And all I have to do is make the dreaded green bean casserole. I don’t like it but it reminds Tim of his childhood so I grit my teeth and open mushroom soup. This year I’ve found Trader Joe’s portobello mushroom soup which tastes better and I’ll try to find fresh green beans.  Apart from that I bring wine. 


We will have 11 family members which will be lovely. Kids coming home from college, Dom and Mer flying in. Anne driving with dog. Can’t wait!


LUCY BURDETTE: We’re going to be very low-key this year with two friends coming over for dinner. I’ll make turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy and I’m going to try a chocolate peanut butter pie for something different. We’ll see a lot more relatives over the month of December so we don’t mind something smaller for now. 


HALLIE EPHRON: I’m so looking forward to sharing Thanksgiving with my daughters and grandkids. Turkey, Pepperidge Farm stuffing (made to package directions, please), mashed potatoes, green beans, a vanilla custard pie and an apple pie. I’m waiting to be assigned my duties (probably pies) since we’ll be at Daughter #2’s house.

We never had a tradition of sweet potatoes and marshmallows OR of green bean casserole, but I’d be happy with anything in return for family time. 




JENN McKINLAY: I’m on deadline so I’ll be buying dessert instead of baking (tragic!) but it’s mini bundts from Nothing Bundt Cakes so I’ll still be welcome at my MIL’s. To help out, Hub is deep frying the turkey and my SIL is bringing sides. Hooligan 1 is breaking bread with his Plus 1’s family and Hooligan 2 is working but will pop in. Weird to have these 20-somethings with lives of their own! But truthfully, I’m not a big Thanksgiving fan. Turkey is okay. Stuffing and cranberry sauce (must be in the shape of the can) are awesome but otherwise…meh. My ideal Thanksgiving is being on vacation with my people somewhere tropical with the flag up on my chair, a good book in my hand, and a tasty surf breaking on the beach in front of me :) 


DEBORAH CROMBIE: Ouch, that’s a bit of a sore subject at our house. The kids want to go to my aunt’s, which is our traditional Thanksgiving we haven’t done in three years. I would love to see my aunt (who’s in her eighties) and my cousins and their kids. Rick, however, thinks we still should not be doing any gatherings. So maybe we will be home with a Stouffer’s chicken pot pie… Not cooking for two people, I can tell you.


HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN: Well, two kids and two grandkids coming. I am so devotedly happy to see them (and we might get a glimpse of the girlfriend!!), but it’s still a tad scary. But I am eager to make a turkey, it’s easy and smells SO good, and stuffing stuffing stuffing and fresh cranberries and champagne and many pies and encouraging people that the brussels sprouts are REALLY GOOD JUST TRY ONE. I will conquer the gravy this year, I have all the faith.


JULIA: Now it's your turn, dear readers. What are your Thanksgiving plans?