Thanksgiving, Al Fresco

Thanksgiving, Al Fresco

Thanksgiving table set for dining outside, like the first Thanksgiving – only much warmer!

Here in Encino, we discovered a few years back that it’s warm enough to enjoy Thanksgiving under the stars. I have always loved eating outside, especially at a big, old, wooden table with enough room to gather everyone together.

This year we started a new tradition that I read about on Gather: Each place setting contained a few kernels of popcorn. Throughout the meal, the kernels were transferred from plate to tabletop as we each counted our many blessings, some aloud, some silently. At the end of the meal, after dessert, after the dishes had all migrated indoors, we gathered the scattered kernels, blessed them with wishes and tossed them into the fire to pop into reality!

What Thanksgiving traditions do you enjoy? We have a relatively small family with distant aunts and grandparents, so our table always includes friends, travelers and those who would otherwise be celebrating alone. It’s funny isn’t it, how it seems to be the same amount of work to prepare the meal whether it’s for four or forty, pot luck, one cook or catered! Our Thanksgiving meal always includes stuffing of one kind or another, sometimes more than one kind, but I never serve it at any other meal during the year.

When preparing for Thanksgiving Al Fresco, not much decoration is needed beyond setting the table and perhaps a string or two of twinkling lights. The velvet of night covers the yard and invites the imagination to connect with those who celebrated the first Thanksgiving. Before we had the table pictured here, we used an old door on sawhorses. We draped the “table” in a table cloth to disguise the legs and topped the tablecloth with a discarded mirrored door cut to size. The mirrored surface brought the stars from the sky to the table and reflected the candlelight providing one of the most magical holiday meals I can remember. Wishing you and yours a holiday filled with gratitude and joy.

Photos by: Lisa Keating

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