We have this awesome tradition in my family: Anti-Thanksgiving. It's a party we throw every year, the day after Thanksgiving at my parents' house. My mother and I spend all day cooking the most spectacular meal (this year: herb-brined turkey, sausage stuffing, creamy macaroni and cheese, green beans with toasted almonds, roasted Brussels sprouts with pancetta and Gorgonzola, cranberry-jalapeno relish, crusty dinner rolls, pumpkin pie and brown sugar-banana spring rolls), my brother mixes martinis and my dad pours the wine (mostly from Cline Cellars this year). Some friends bring culinary contributions (this year I loved the horseradish-cranberry relish and coconut bars). Close friends pile into the kitchen, munching on Vietnamese spring rolls, cheese, and crackers while the turkey finishes roasting. We catch up (having not seen some of our friends since the last Anti-Thanksgiving), and the new additions are introduced. When we all sit down, it is a raucous, rowdy, hilarious meal full of toasts (some serious, some not so much) and jokes (some appropriate, most not).
This year, I had a moment, just before we sat down to eat. I was double-fisted with the end of one of Jeremy's custom martinis in one hand and a glass of Cline Zinfandel, sweetly poured by my father, in the other. I listened as one of my oldest friends in the world talked to one of my newest friends. I watched as my mother laughed hysterically at something my brother's girlfriend said, and my parents' neighbor conspiratorially giggled with one of my brother's buddies. As I took in the warm room, so full of love and laughter and good smells, I felt like the luckiest girl in the world.
We call it Anti-Thanksgiving, but I've never felt so thankful.