A Thanksgiving tradition that has been part of my family for many years is the beautiful cornucopia that is baked and stuffed with fruits, nuts, and chocolates and made available early in the day for nibbles to be had all day long!
I grew up overseas away from relatives and the traditional holiday gatherings. My parents, missing their relatives and a house full of people, invited many young, single military personnel to our home for Thanksgiving. The scene at the table, with everyone squeezing over to make room for one more chair and clenching elbows tightly at our sides so as not to jab the person next to us, recreated what we all seemed to have been missing: fellowship. It must have worked because no one ever left feeling lonely. A touch of homesickness, maybe; but, never lonely!
When my children were younger, I again didn’t live near family, and we would save the extended family gathering for during the Christmas holiday when we all had a longer vacation. So, the Thanksgiving holiday would pose a set of challenges to me to come up with something that would be special for my immediate family, but not leave me feeling homesick for my parents and siblings. Camping was the answer for us. We spent many, many Thanksgiving weekends exploring the beautiful state parks of Florida and experiencing family bonding that has carried us through many changing family dynamics. Seeing the manatees, listening for owls, hiking in the woods at night with the special lights so not bother the animals’ eyes, and talking quietly around a small camp fire late into the night imprinted the love of the outdoors and the appreciation of nature into each of us.
A special tradition that was always present was the Cornucopia. Even when we were camping, I would bake individual ones in the box oven. (Yes, they work – each briquette of charcoal is 40 degrees.) I would then fill them with each person’s favorite things. Everything disappeared including the horn of plenty!
Since that time, I have been making and giving them as gifts to friends at Thanksgiving. It helps the holiday feel more special to me when I share something I have made with a friend. I have also been told that they, “Make the table complete and give everyone something to talk about!” This year they are available for order through HeartFelt. Stop by the shop to see (and smell) one close up and personal. ~Pat