Once upon a time Thanksgiving meant 4 days off.  And I usually took Wednesday off to cook, so it was a 5-day holiday. Friday after Thanksgiving was our Christmas Decorating Day.   None of this shopping at 3 ayem junk.  A good nights sleep, and then we decorated until we dropped.

Then we moved east and I changed professions.  That luxurious 5 days off is a thing of the past.

But while the days off may have changed, the decorating hasn’t.  We still get up early and start hauling out the bins.  That’s “bins” as in plural.  Many.  A lot.

Merging Christmas Decorations was fun.  17 years of buying even more has been even more fun.

And making Turkey Soup on Decoration Day is the final part of the tradition.

I do not understand people who throw away the turkey carcass!  Turkey soup is the whole reason for roasting a turkey in the first place!  It is the best part of the feast.

Thanksgiving evening, I break out the stock pot and into it goes the carcass, a couple of onions – skin and all – plus celery, garlic cloves, and carrots – also unpeeled.  The skins and peels add flavor and color to the stock.  I usually add a bit of gravy to the pot, as well.  I make a lot of gravy.

I let it simmer overnight – it’s a big pot and not about to boil dry – and the following afternoon I strain it all and have the base for several batches of soup.  I portion it up and freeze some and the rest is for the leftover soup.

Leftover Soup.  I call it that but could just as easily call it clean out the refrigerator soup.  Same concept.  Everything goes into the pot.

Today’s batch included the leftover risotto from the appetizers, stuffing, spinach, and turkey, plus leeks, carrots, celery, white beans, red-skinned potatoes, mushrooms, peas, green beans, and a bit of salt and pepper.

Clean out the ‘fridge, indeed.

We’re slowing down a bit with the decorating.  The number of bins has continued to grow and it’s taking us two days now to get everything done, but the soup just continues to get better with age.  Of course, it doesn’t take any effort.

And speaking of decorating…

About 5 years ago we finally went out and got an artificial tree.  I know…  I know…  We thought the same thing.  No Way!  Travesty!  What we finally figured out, though, is the tree really is all about the ornaments.  Virtually every ornament on our tree comes with a story…  We have handmade ornaments, ornaments bought on our travels, family ornaments, beautiful gifts from friends, and the first two ornaments we exchanged on our first Christmas – that always go on the tree first.

Some of the ornaments really are priceless to us and we just wanted to take as good care as we could with them.  It works for us.

And I don’t miss cleaning up the needles…