Creating a simple and sentimental Thanksgiving

Some years we may feel we are facing the holiday season rather than embracing it. Difficulties of all shapes and sizes can make Thanksgiving a day we look to with some trepidation. One way to navigate these feelings is to create a Thanksgiving of simplicity and sentimentality.
Asking for help, adjusting traditions and reducing the number of side dishes are three ways to simplify the day and meal. If you always host, consider letting someone else play that role. Instead of spending hours in the kitchen, think about ordering the feast pre-made. As for creating a sentimental Thanksgiving, layer the day in shared memories and tributes to what your family has to be grateful for by sprinkling host and guest-given toasts throughout.


It’s easy to keep Thanksgiving wine simple and sentimental, too. Unoaked Chardonnay, Riesling, dry Rosé, Zinfandel and Pinot Noir are, without question, the wine heroes of the Thanksgiving meal. These varietals are ideal pairings because they either mirror the varied flavors of the meal – Pinot Noir and Zinfandel are known for their complex spice attributes – or, in the case of unoaked Chardonnay and Riesling, provide a palate-cleansing counterbalance. Leaning on one or two of these no-brainer varietal choices simplifies wine shopping.
In addition, I have two rules for Thanksgiving wines every year: affordable and versatile. With an eye toward sentimental choices this year, I’ll add a third rule: wine with a meaningful story behind it.
DeLoach Vineyards of Sonoma produces a Chardonnay and a Pinot Noir that help fight hunger. All net proceeds from the 2017 DeLoach Vineyards Russian River Valley “Vinthropic” Pinot Noir ($24) support Redwood Empire Food Bank in the winery’s home county of Sonoma. With a beautiful garnet color, ripe red berry aromas and subtle spice on the palate, the wine makes for a wonderful accompaniment to the varied flavors of a turkey dinner.
Stocking up on and serving West + Wilder’s wines is as convenient as it gets. The canned wine can be ordered from the label’s website in various pack sizes and varietal combinations. Its White Blend and Rosé would both be lovely for a chill-out Thanksgiving dinner. Pop the cans in a wine bucket filled with ice and let guests grab as they please. Each can holds the equivalent of a glass and a half of wine. As for a meaningful story, the vineyard is committed to donating 1% of sales to the climate protection organization 1% for the Planet.
ONEHOPE Wine has at its core a guiding belief that its business should do good. Profits from every bottle sold are donated to various charitable causes. Its wine selection is as stellar as its desire to help, which means you can choose with confidence one of its wines based on the charity supported should it align with a passion of your own. This Thanksgiving, I’m excited to serve ONEHOPE’s 29 Twelve California Dessert Wine V.II. The wine’s nutmeg and blackberry attributes will seriously amp up the yum of the pumpkin chiffon and chocolate pies my family traditionally serves at the end of our meal. An equally compelling reason to buy the wine is that my purchase will support prostate cancer prevention efforts.


Once you’ve chosen the ideal wine with which to raise a glass, think about a short toast you’d like to offer during the festivities. In advance of the day, invite guests to think of one, too. Funny, heartfelt or gratitude-laden toasts will introduce a sentimental element to your holiday gathering. The toasts given throughout the day can serve to anchor you and your loved ones to gratitude – regardless of the troubles we face, there is always something we can find appreciation for.
Just a quick search on the internet uncovered all manner of food and family quotes useful to be shared verbatim or as a jumping-off point for a tribute you’d like to make.Following are a few options from across the range of sentiments.
"We think we have to do something to be grateful or something has to be done in order for us to be grateful, when gratitude is a state of being." — Iyanla Vanzant.
“It’s not where you are in life, it’s who you have by your side that matters.” – Unknown
"An optimist is a person who starts a new diet on Thanksgiving Day." – Irv Kupcinet
“When you practice gratefulness, there is a sense of respect for others” – The Dalai Lama
“One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.” – Virginia Woolf
“Where there is great love, there are miracles.”  – Willa Cather
“Thanksgiving dinners take 18 hours to prepare. They are consumed in 12 minutes. Half-times take 12 minutes. This is not a coincidence.” – Erma Bombeck
“I am grateful for what I am and have. My thanksgiving is perpetual.” – Henry David Thoreau

(written for the Los Altos Town Crier)

Happy Thanksgiving Signage from Peterson Custom Design


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