Monday, November 21, 2016

Writing About: Thanksgiving



Thanksgiving is a holiday that doesn’t get a lot of play in stories, because there’s not much build-up to it like there is with Halloween or Christmas that have decorations and fun activities. Since Thanksgiving is smack dab between these holidays, it gets even less attention. But this holiday can get fair play in your story if your character stresses about cooking a turkey dinner, traveling, or having the family together.

Since this holiday is all about food and family, you need to utilize both.

1. Food

Cooking Thanksgiving dinner is an all-day thing. The wife (usually) has to get up early to start the turkey. Then you have to prep the dressing and mashed potatoes. As the day goes on, more food needs to be prepared. Your character can dish our orders to her kids and husband to help her. Or she can stress over the turkey, have a meltdown in the kitchen, or even burn something.

Image from Pixabay

Foods – Turkey, ham, Tofurkey, salmon, stuffing, mashed potatoes, macaroni and cheese, collard greens, green bean casserole, candied yams/sweet potatoes, crescent rolls, cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie, brisket



2. Entertainment

The Thanksgiving Day parade, National Dog Show, and football games are the three main sources of entertainment on Thanksgiving. You can describe the kids anxiously waiting for Santa at the end of the parade, and the guys cheering over the game while your heroine slaves in the kitchen.

Image from Pixabay

Or maybe your characters have a tradition to watch a movie on this day like Gone with the Wind (couples) or The Santa Clause (a family).



3. Family

This day is all about family coming together. Let your MC spend time with his/her loved ones. You can even add in some family drama. We all know every family has plenty of drama to go around, and on Thanksgiving things can get heated.

Or you can use this opportunity to show a happy family truly thankful to have each other after the obstacles you (as the writer) put them through.

***

Thanksgiving got a little blimp in Seismic Crimes, but I think I did a good job including the highlights of this holiday while making it fit my characters.


EXCERPT:

Thanksgiving morning, Donovan woke to the smell of coffee and French toast, the aroma of vanilla and cinnamon was having a love affair with the fragrance of Colombian coffee beans. Beth made breakfast in his high school basketball jersey with the Thanksgiving Day parade on in the background.

Since neither of them had to slave over a feast, Donovan watched the football game with Beth, and he was pleased to learn she was fluent in the ways of football. She knew what first down meant, understood a referee’s call, and knew the main players by name.
“I had no idea you were a fan,” he said during halftime.

“Yup,” she said as she took a swig of soda. “I had to find some way to bond with my dad, being an only child and all. I wasn’t interested in fixing up cars, which in hindsight would’ve saved me a lot of money on my piece of crap car. So, I started to watch football with him when I was eight. I fell in love with the game.” She shrugged as if it didn’t matter, but Donovan thought it was amazing.

When it was time to eat, they put together a simple meal and sat down to eat. In the middle of the table were two cornish hens, a box of turkey dressing, a can of cranberry sauce, and instant potatoes with a glob of garlic butter to make up for the bland taste. It might’ve been simple, but it was better than what Donovan did last year when he ordered Chinese takeout.

***

Later in this scene, they even share what they are thankful for. 


To read more:




QUESTION: What do you eat on Thanksgiving? I’ll add it to my list. :)


42 comments:

  1. Happy Thanksgiving, Chrys. AS we don't have it over here in Europe, I'll have to wait for Christmas for some delicious Turkey :) Hope you have a lovely time with family and friends.

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    1. Happy Thanksgiving, Nicola! Turkey is perfect for Christmas. :)

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  2. Hope a great Thanksgiving is had at your sea. Yeah, the food is always a big one and the amount of family that gathers.

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    1. I hope you have a great Thanksgiving at your sea, too!

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  3. What a wonderful insight to Thanks Giving Chrys, It was great to read. We don't have that holiday here but I will be thinking of all my American friends.
    Yvonne.

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  4. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving! This year, I'm grateful we don't have to travel as my MIL now lives in town. We're doing the typical feast, but the next day, we're doing a friends' feast, and one of our friends is allergic to fowl, so we're making a brisket instead.

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    1. Not having to travel in holiday traffic is definitely something to be thankful for.

      Happy Thanksgiving, Christine!

      I'll add brisket to my list. :)

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  5. Thanksgiving is all those things. I look forward to it every year. I also like to take a little time to reflect on me and be thankful (instead of hard on myself) for how I've grown or any small detail I might have accomplished earlier in the year. Congrats on the book!

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    1. Being thankful for ourselves is a must.

      Thanks, SA!

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  6. As a Native American ally, I have a lot of issues with Thanksgiving (called Day of Mourning by the Native Americans), though I have no problems writing about my characters celebrating it. I know the average American celebrating the holiday isn't doing it in happy commemoration of genocide against the Native Americans, though if I ever have kids, I personally won't be celebrating it in my home. Since my little brother isn't against the holiday like I am, I might be getting together with him to do something on that day this year. It's no skin off my back to help people or join in with their celebrations just because I don't hold by the holiday.

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    1. I know all about Thanksgiving and what happened to the Native Americans. I don't condone that and truly hate it happened. What I celebrate is family and good things. :)

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    2. I share your sentiments Carrie-Anne, and have been researching what really happened at that time between the early colonists and Native Americans. Just written a re-imagined early encounter where the Europeans are kept i their place...

      However, spending first Thanksgiving in US so step-family want to celebrate...but might be told what really happened.

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    3. I truly don't think people in the US who celebrate Thanksgiving do it in any bad way. Many may be naive about the facts, but we aren't celebrating the horrible things that happened. Instead. we use this day to give thanks and to spend time with our loved ones.

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  7. Great post, Chrys. The only hype we see for Thanksgiving is the food store ads. As far as food goes, I love candied sweet potatoes. Mom used to make this the easy way (pour maple syrup over sliced canned yams, dot with butter, and bake). Hubs' aunt and I were the only ones who ate this dish. Now that she's gone, it's only me. :( Have a great Thanksgiving.

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    1. Mm. How your mom made candied yams sounds good. I've only ever used canned yams.

      Happy Thanksgiving, Diane!

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  8. Happy Thanksgiving Chrys. Enjoy this special time with your family!

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  9. What a marvelous excerpt! Your attention to detail is artfully evocative and makes me all the more excited for one of my favorite days of the year. Thanks for the peek at your book and an excellent example of atmospheric settings.
    Happy Thanksgiving, lady Chrys!

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    1. Thank you, Diedre! I couldn't pass up the chance to share that excerpt. Although it's short, I had fun writing it. :)

      Happy Thanksgiving, Diedre!!!

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  10. I like the idea of a story taking place during food preparation for a holiday feast. So much can happen in those few hours between characters, and I imagine them winding up in tears or fights, then hugs and all kinds of emotional scenes. Thanks, Chrys and Happy Thanksgiving.

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    1. So do I. There is so much that can happen.

      Happy Thanksgiving, C Lee!!

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  11. My mother would be up at the crack of dawn to start our turkey. Me? I set dinner at 7:00 pm so I can cook at a civilized time. LOL

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  12. Food, family, and stress are definitely elements of Thanksgiving that need to be included! We usually play games after everyone's finished eating, and we have friends for company, too.

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    1. Play games as a family is a great idea.

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  13. We're traditional when it comes to Thanksgiving. Well, traditional and bland. We're picky, so lots of things that everyone else has we don't.

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  14. Instant potatoes? Good Lord! That was a nice excerpt Chrys. Really showed how the two of them got together for Thanksgiving.

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    1. Instant potatoes was all they could manage. lol

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  15. I think Thanksgiving is my least favorite holiday. When I was little, I wasn't a fan of turkey or football. And I definitely have no desire to get up early for Black Friday! LOL

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    1. Being in sales, it's hard to enjoy Thanksgiving if you have to work Black Friday.

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  16. Great excerpt. I miss those days of family get together. My family is so scattered, we just don't do it anymore. Some of us will be together, but we're eating out. Happy Thanksgiving to you, Chrys.

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    1. My family doesn't get-together for Thanksgiving anymore either. I miss it, too.

      Happy Thanksgiving, Beverly!

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  17. Happy Thanksgiving, Chrys. I think anything excuse to gather around a table full of feed is an awesome idea. But you're right, it's more about giving thanks for all the blessings we have. Hope your week is full of wonder and delight.

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  18. You're so right about three. For a thankful affair, sometimes a whole lot of giving thanks is missing.
    Never wrote about Thanksgiving but do have a short about a Communion party and the table ladened with food is very detailed. Features a lot of my favorite Haitian dishes.

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  19. Hi Chrys - lovely post ... simple and true - as too sharing Thanksgiving with Donovan and Beth - hope it doesn't go wrong.

    We have Christmas ... so the day after tomorrow I'll be eating whatever's around - normal supper, I always do salad for lunch ...

    Enjoy and cheers, with a happy year ahead ... Hilary

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    1. I'm glad you enjoyed the excerpt, Hilary! This isn't my last post for the year, though. I'll be around a little longer yet. :)

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  20. You reminded me of The Accidental Tourist by Anne Tyler. It has a wonderful section about Thanksgiving that leads to two people falling in love.

    Love,
    Janie

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    1. I'll have to look for that book. Thanks, Janie!

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Please tell me what you think. I love to chat! :)

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