It was a fine Thanksgiving weekend for the B’s.

As I mentioned last week, we hosted the family get-together this year. We had 16, which for our family is small, but still takes some work to prepare for. I did the bird and stuffing. I narrowly avoided disaster with the bird. My thermometer wasn’t working correctly so I guessed on when to take it out of the oven. Turns out I left it in a little too long. Fortunately, I’ve always cooked my birds in oven bags, and that saved me. The meat literally fell off the bone, and the dark meat was too done. But the rest of it was fine, thanks to the bag. Remember, kids, before you put your bird in the oven, put a bag on it. And Giada’s stuffing1 was a huge success. Instant add to the holiday go-to list.

All the rest of the food was great and we had a fine little gathering. It was a gorgeous day, pushing into the mid-60s, so the girls abandoned the parade to play with the neighbors for awhile. They made it back inside in time to see Santa, though. Which initiated a long argument about whether that was the real Santa or not. M. and C. insisted it was not, as his beard wasn’t long enough. C. added that he was busy making toys and couldn’t make the parade. I tried to convince them otherwise, but they weren’t having it.

It’s become a bit of a tradition in our house to watch Elf on Thanksgiving night, mostly because USA has shown it the last 2-3 years. USA no longer has the rights, and ABC Family isn’t showing it until next week, so we popped in the DVD after dinner. I’ve probably said this before, but the “Pennies From Heaven” scene, when Buddy first hits New York, is one of the great scenes in all of American cinema. Everything about it is perfect. I’m sure we’ll be watching Elf many more times over the next month.

In an odd twist, my other traditional Thanksgiving viewing event always gets pushed late into the evening. So, as in the recent past, I watch the “Thanksgiving Orphans” episode of Cheers after I had watched my first Christmas movie of the year. Even after 26 years it’s still my all-time favorite TV episode. And as much as the parade or Thanksgiving dinner or watching Elf, my holidays officially begin when I pour some scotch, or Jameson this year, and sit down with the gang from Cheers for half an hour.

Friday was tree day, and we ran to our local nursery shortly after it opened to claim our 2012 Christmas tree. As usual, we went with the 9′ Frasier Fir, and it’s a beaut, Clark.

I have no idea why, but we never test our lights a few days before Thanksgiving to make sure they’re all working and so we can replace any that don’t light. Naturally of our four strands, only two were 100% functioning. We swapped some bulbs around, got a third one to light, strung them around the tree, and when we plugged them in, that third string was now refusing to work. Great.

I decided to run up to Lowe’s, thinking it would be less crowded than Target or Wal-Mart. That was true, but the lights section was also very picked over, as I feared. I found four packages of plain, clear bulbed lights, checked out, and raced back home. I pop open the package and saw that while I checked the bulb color, I did not check the cord color. And I had four packages of lights with white cords. Greater.

So I explained to the girls we wouldn’t be decorating the tree until Saturday, when Target calmed down and I could get the lights I wanted. That all worked out fine and the tree was done by lunchtime on Saturday. We got our modest outdoor lights up, the rest of the house decorated and now we’re good to go for the holidays.

That was the extend of our shopping over the weekend. Well, the UPS truck brought a bunch of packages on Friday, which was about as close to Black Friday as we ever get. Several other orders were placed Sunday night, and I believe our shopping is done.

We had some big news for the girls, and I did not know if we were going to save it for Christmas morning or not. We decided not to wait, so Sunday, at the dinner table, we told them we had a surprise to share with them. M.’s eyes lit up and she shouted, “ARE WE GOING TO DISNEYLAND?!?!”

S. and I looked at each other, smiled a little, and said, “No,” together.

“Because we’re going to Disney WORLD.”

M. started shrieking and C. and L. looked around, blinking, not sure what the difference was. But yes, we’re finally taking the Disney leap in late January. I’m sure it will be great. And I’m sure I’ll need blood pressure medication before our three days there are complete.

The girls barely made it through a five day school break. Or rather the parents had trouble tolerating the noise and activity our three girls created over five days. I’m not sure what’s going to happen over Christmas break, but I better schedule some playdates and outings if we all want to make it to 2013.

Another important moment when I know the holidays have begun: the first time I play air drums to Phil Collins’ parts of “Do They Know It’s Christmas.”

The weather here crashed Friday morning, so after spending some time outside Thursday, I pretty much stuck to the living room TV the rest of the weekend. With all the rivalry weekend games in college, I got to explain the concept of rivals to M.. I’m pretty sure she didn’t get it, but she was interested and asked several questions.

Finally, by the time you read this, I will likely be done putting my Holiday Ale into bottles. I’m looking forward to being able to taste it in a week, but I really can’t wait to reveal the name I’ve chosen, and the label I’ve created, for it. I’m pretty proud of my work!

I hope your Thanksgivings were excellent, too.

  1. I learned that putting the words Giada and stuffing in the same sentence gets a positive response from most men. But that was probably obvious.