The way I spend Thanksgiving is so different from those holidays of the 1950's and -60's as I grew up! Different in numbers of people, location of dining, and so much more too. I remember the old holidays with great affection and cherish today's quieter celebrations just as much as I loved the old ones.
Yesteryear, aunts/uncles/cousins traveled to my aunt/uncles house for an overnight super family gathering. There were 2 special Thanksgiving Day meals: dinner at 2pm with formal table settings (linen cloths and napkins) and more casual buffet supper at 8pm. Incredibly friendly with lots of laughter and hugs. Fourteen of us spent the night there as guests, so there were 19 of us plus any of my older cousins' visiting friends there for breakfast (buffet style with made-to-order waffles 'when you're ready' plus fruit bowl, quiche, ham, rolls from the night before) and turkey soup and sandwiches for a late afternoon lunch... and then everyone packed up and went home. My aunt/uncle had a large house so no one was sleeping on the living room couch and it wasn't crowded. Didn't appreciate that while growing up. Just took it for granted that it was a nice big house with a lot of stairs. lol When younger, five of us close in age probably drove the parents up a wall as we ran through the house playing hide 'n seek and changing our hiding places.
These days, the guest list is small and the celebration more local. My parents are the only remaining relatives of their generation on either side of the family, and the cousins and their children live here and there throughout the country rather than all within 1.5 hours drive of one another (when only highway speed limits were 55mph, other roads 30mph or 40mph, and roads were not as smooth or streamlined.
And these days we don't dress up in our Sunday best. While the table is still set and dishes still passed around, the linen is in the cedar chest, perma-press tablecloths work just fine with paper napkins, the side dishes are less buttery, less salty, and healthier. There are fewer unhealthy carbs, no piles of home-baked dinner rolls; no bread other than stuffing. The food of days gone by was soooo good, but I leave the table without guilt which I'd surely feel if eating that wonderful menu of yesteryear.
What the old and current celebrations have in common is that we are thankful for all we have in family caring, in personal advantages however large or small, and we still begin dinner with prayers of thanks that include those less fortunate throughout the world.
Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.