A time to celebrate

As we usher in the holiday season, we are reminded of the fundamental simplicity of this time of year.  Family.  Community.  Gratitude.  Celebration.  All central tenets to how we choose to live our lives, every single day.  But no time of year beckons these sentiments quite like the holidays.  Maybe it’s the joy of connecting once again with family and friends.  Maybe it’s the nostalgic memories of childhoods spent enjoying the sights and sounds of the season.  Or maybe it’s the comfort that we find when we’re all bundled up and warm inside, eating delicious food and toasting the great events of the past year.  Whatever the case, the holidays are cause for celebration and, in true Life and Wine fashion, we are always ready to partake in such fun and excitement.

All decked out and ready to feast.
All decked out and ready to feast.

Like many American families, we find that Thanksgiving is full of traditions.  Some traditions are newer concepts, while others have been employed again and again over the past few decades.  In our world, we know the following to be true:

  • Fresh air and exercise.  Thanksgiving morning always, always(!) starts with a run.  Be it an organized Turkey Trot or a family run, we never start our day without getting up and getting outside to enjoy the crisp fall air.
  • Games for all ages.  Thanksgiving always includes a few (read: many!) vocal and energized rounds of charades.  This is a Thanksgiving “must.”  It allows all generations of the family to interact, sparking good jokes and many laughs.  (Picture your grandmother trying to figure out the song: “Shake that ass for me.” Yeah.  Awesome.)
  • Record your thanks.
    The board o’ Gratitude.

    Gratitude.  Write it down.  Thanksgiving always includes a “Grateful Board.”  Everyone takes a paper leaf and uses it to express their gratitude.  Once everyone has written something, these cards are read around the table before they are fashioned to the board of gratitude.

  • Homemade. Everything is from scratch.  Thanksgiving always includes the following homemade items (we are fortunate to count a pastry chef among our immediate family!):  cornbread stuffing, candied sweet potatoes, roasted turkey, deviled eggs, prosciutto wrapped breadsticks, veggies galore, mashed potatoes, biscuits, vanilla bean ice cream, chocolate meringue pie, apple pie, pumpkin pie, cherry pie, and many, many other delicious dishes.  It’s the quintessential feast.  De-licious!
  • Films and fun.  Thanksgiving evening is always capped with a marathon film session with the cousins.  Holiday movies are cracked open and everyone gathers to re-watch these films from childhoods long past.  Although by now, everyone can nearly quote the entire film, the act of watching them together is a long-held tradition and one that everyone looks forward to every year.
  • Drink it up, sweet cheeks.  And finally, it wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without a few good libations to add to the festivities.  As such, in addition to our standard wine fare (I believe that this year’s winner was when someone pulled out a bottle of Opus One and said, “Let’s drink this with Thanksgiving dinner.  Is it any good?”), we decided this year to add in some fall-themed cocktails.

Holiday Sangria

  • 1 pomegranate seeded
  • 6 ounces fresh cranberries
  • 1 pear, cut into small pieces
  • 1 small green apple, cut into small pieces
  • 1 bottle red wine
  • 3 cups ginger ale
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • dash of allspice

Sparkling Sangria with Cranberries and Oranges

  • 1 pint fresh or frozen cranberries
  • 2 oranges, sliced
  • 2 bottles sparkling wine
  • 1 cup cranberry juice
  • ½ cup fresh squeezed orange juice
  • 2/3 cup Cointreau or Grand Marnier
  • ½ cup cinnamon simple syrup

Cranberry and Rosemary White Christmas Sangria

  • 1 granny smith apple
  • 1 braeburn apple
  • 1 heaping cup of fresh cranberries
  • 1 large sprig rosemary
  • 1 bottle pinot grigo
  • ½ cup white grape juice
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 can club soda

And with that, we wish you and yours the most loving, joyful, fun, beautiful, memorable, and joyous holiday season yet.

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