“probably my favorite thanksgiving ever,” rates one enthusiastic participant

The secret? No turkey.

It’s a little more than that. One thing you want — crafts. A number of crafts. This is a secret craft which you will see here in a few posts. it’s not in my wheelhouse, but as you can see, for others, it plainly is.

Crafts for everybody, though! I had just finished knitting a hat for Tucker and my next attempt at learning something new — which I had hoped the kids would learn along with me — is nålbinding, a needlework that is the Viking precursor to knitting. Nålbinding is done with a single needle, and that needle would historically have been made with wood, or bone. Tucker, knowing his hat would shortly be done, had taken some of his copious free time (I really couldn’t figure out when he had done this — he had done it, at times, while walking to and from the subway) and carved this nålbinding needle for me, out of a deer bone he has had since he was in his teens.

So soon, we will all be nålbinding. Or at least giving it a try. Both kids are perfectly good knitters, with good tension, although neither purls yet. (They could have by now, sure. But they’ve been enjoying working in the round and Béla is still dropping stitches regularly. Claudia will probably start purling very soon — but, nålbinding first.)


The night before Thanksgiving, knowing we had a whole extra couch in the room where we put the Christmas tree — plus, a kitten — we thought we should maybe give assembling the tree a try and see how she… handled it.

Marble is really a cartoon cat. There is no wondering, ever, what Marble is thinking about anything. And she made an immediate enemy of the tree — and also would not be separated from it, climbing it’s center and making it impossible for us to get to her. We knew that we had NO chance of putting up any of our delicate family ornaments this year. Claudia was particularly worried about her black ballerinas. Nope — not a chance. We were not sure we could leave home and come back to find an upright tree — we still aren’t really sure, we’ve only tried it once or twice.

So — at least until Marble gets fixed on the 16th and is a little less likely to wreak havoc — handmade ornaments it is. This is no problem — a little more work, but fun. I have a Russian site that I use for all my favorite craft tutorials and I found some great ones — who, for instance, would have thought that balling up little bits of colored tissue into pinecones would make such beautiful ornaments?!


So. We got most of the crafting portion of Thanksgiving down. Then we woke up that morning to a lovely surprise — a preview photo of The Philadelphia Tribune’s weekend section cover:

Who! Is! That! Beautiful! Dancer!  And the look on her friend Tallulah’s face next to her… such a lovely photo. It’s taped to our front window right now, South Philly-style pride. Most of our holiday weekend is focused around this production, and even though we new it was historically significant, for the company and for Philadelphia, this was really unexpected.


So back to that “no turkey” thing. This secret may not work for your family. Heck, most things that work for our family don’t work for others’. We had decided last year not to make a turkey either — no one here likes it — and, so, had made all the other side dishes common to the holiday (at least for us — yeast gravy, anyone?) but had replaced the turkey with a few hours at our favorite Mongolian Hot Pot restaurant. That was fun — but also more food than we needed. (It’s more fun to have hot pot if you’re REALLY hungry.)

This year, we were more reasonable. “No turkey” still meant “more than enough food at home”. We had a cheese and paté plate, and more types of canapes than seemed possible to “pace ourselves” with (face it — this is the best food at any meal, so why not just make it more of the meal?) Also, Béla had a pretty clear “personal best” goal of watching more “Schitt’s Creek” he had ever watched in one sitting, dedicating himself particularly to David and Patrick’s romance.

Tuck had also gotten a notification that the Sims expansion pack that made holidays happen (literally — it makes holidays and seasons) was on deep discount, so we got it for Claudia, who was nice enough to not disappear entirely into a vortex of simulated holiday, but to continue to participate in the actual holidays with us, while playing her game (and reporting on its capabilities by text, gleefully, to the friend with whom she plays it IRL at our house).

Thanksgiving looked a lot like this, from one of my vantage points throughout the day (as I stuffed colored tissue into pinecones.) We did not watch the Parade. We did not watch the Dog Show. We did not eat turkey. And we did not miss anything. It was peals of laughter, food comas, and browsing the web for old-timey paper crafts that wouldn’t break our hearts if a kitten destroyed them.

Black Friday… what says Christmas like a Ferris wheel, a Masonic Temple, and Mel Tormé?


Here’s Tuck in the hat (design by Steven West) that is the prequel to nålbinding.

And who’s on that Ferris wheel? Not me or Claudia!

We went to the Christmas Village and this is the most exciting thing we saw today — this chocolatier with some amazing molds indeed. Skulls!



Double-decker buses! These are all chocolate!

And maybe this wish wall just hadn’t gotten its feet under it yet, but as far as we can tell the little heart on the right wished “For my nana to stop makin us go to church”.

This ought to set you up for some of the things coming our way this season, beginning with a LONG weekend of the Ogun and the People 50th anniversary extravaganza with Kulu Mele, heading into more crafts (even harkening back to one of the crafts that was one of our very first homeschooling activities three years ago this week!)

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