There’s a scene from the wonderfully cheesy, Drew Barrymore movie Ever After that has stuck with me. Angelica Houston’s evil stepmother relishes the thought that her daughter just won over the prince. She brags, “Paris at Christmas, can you imagine?” Yes, Angelica, I can. It may not have been Christmas in Paris, but I’ll take Thanksgiving if I can get it.
Most of my Thanksgivings have been pretty typical: a large, boisterous family; a homemade feast spanning several countertops; a minimum of six desserts; and a TV viewing of Gone With the Wind between chopping and mixing. This year, Thanksgiving was intimate, elegant, and ended with a bang.
While the French soldier on with a regular work day, Thanksgiving is celebrated by ex-pats all over the City of Light. The streets of Paris are already decorated with Christmas lights, and we few Americans get to enjoy our little holiday behind closed doors. Butcheries are busy with unusual requests for turkeys, and relatives from the states smuggle in holiday speciality foods from US-based stores. And just a few lucky Parisian’s are invited to celebrate Thanksgiving for the first time.
Naturally, there was champagne before dinner, red wine (or in my case rosé), and the smell of two-days worth of cooking, wafting through the house. Then, it was turkey as usual, with stuffing, sweet potatoes, brussels sprouts, and cranberry sauce.
It all looked slightly better than usual however, because my mother-in-law has the most gorgeous table settings. Blue and white Royal Copenhagen china, sat atop crisp white linens accented with sparkling silver cutlery and wine glasses.
Candles and soft light made dinner extra cozy and warm. It all felt as pretty and joyous as a shoot from a magazine, and the food wasn’t too bad either.
Great conversation in both English and French filled the room with happiness and laughter.
With plates scraped clean and glasses drained to the bottom, we were ready for something sweet. Dessert was light: apple tart or a French interpretation of charlotte cake.
Or perhaps a Corsican clementine?
Stuffed and sated, we finished conversations around a toasty fire.
But my night didn’t end there on the warm couch. To our surprise, we were invited to tag along on a MessyNessyChic adventure! An exclusive, secret party thrown at this Liberace inspired apartment.
We danced late into the night surrounded by fountains framed with naked Greek statues. Spinning under a ceiling of cloud frescos, it all felt ripped right out of Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo + Juliet. What a way to end Thanksgiving – it sure beats falling asleep on your Grandma’s futon.