Contributed by Hairee Lee
This November, in observation of the holiday, we decided to put together a pre-Thanksgiving Thanksgiving for some friends, before the in-laws show up. View more photos on our Flickr, read the recipes, or read more about the table setting.
Thanksgiving: the most American of holidays. More than the Fourth of July even, because it’s more personally ritualized, rooted in familial tradition. It’s a conspicuous marker for many American’s individual histories and their annual schedules—the temporal and spatial orientation of their lives, and a reminder of their mortality. And what better way to celebrate these bonds of love and the past and our hopes for the future than to sit and eat together, almost as if you’re taking into your belly love and past and hope to digest and make into a part of your material self? But I digress.
This Thanksgiving dinner takes place at Andrea’s beautiful home. Andrea, a writing instructor at Harvard University, completely renovated the previous “crap hole” of a house. Where there used to be black encrusted floors, now lie gorgeous wooden floors the color of a fine cognac. Where the ceilings were lowered, the original vault ceilings have been restored. The rooms are sparingly furnished with pieces carefully chosen and deeply personal. Like her dining table from William Henry Furniture, Andrea’s first piece of furniture that is entirely her own, not something passed down by relatives or picked up second hand. But rather something she found, chose, and brought into her home. It means, for Andrea, a declaration of independence. Her home. The size and its central location in her house gives it a symbolic resonance that is the perfect (secular) alter for giving thanks.