While it’s incredibly fun to plan for Thanksgiving and the Holidays when you live Downtown, it is also incredibly easy – because, well, basically, it all gets done for you.
This past week, just in time for a quick visit from my Dad, they hung the holiday lights. The timing was perfect—my Dad was only here for one day, but he got to enjoy the blue, green, and red ribbon of color that runs all along Woodward. And, better yet, we got to appreciate the effect without hours of untangling a single strand or worrying about a single burned-out bulb—you know, that one that can cause an epic holiday light fail. This wonderful sight was simply a win.
My Dad also got to see the 60-foot Tree at Campus Martius Park when it was all decorated.
Given that ‘putting up a tree’ used to mean accompanying my Dad into the snow-filled woods to first choose the perfect tree, cut down the tree and drag it back out of the snow-filled forest on a sled…only to get it home and be reminded that dragging a tree tends to affect its symmetry. And then it has to be decorated. While I used to think Eggnog was a treat for my little brother and I in this process, I now realize it was a necessity—and not straight Eggnog—for my parents….
So, when my Dad looked up at the immense, symmetrical, straight, and fully decorated tree , with its 19,000+ lights (thank you DTE Energy!) last week, nodded, and said, “They did a good job” his typical mode of understatement was the voice of experience—and that he was packing a lot of appreciation into those five little words that it was not his job.
Unfortunately, he wasn’t able to stay for the tree lighting on Friday night. But that’s okay, I’ll send him a picture of it from my window, because I can see it from where I live. It’s a beautiful bird’s-eye view, just like the one I’ll have of The Parade Company’s 89th Annual America’s Thanksgiving Day Parade presented by Art Van on Thursday!
When I woke up on Sunday morning to take Little Dog out, the Detroit Parade Company people were already setting up the grandstands right across from my front door where WDIV will be filming the broadcast of the parade.
On Thursday morning I will get to see all of the performing acts rehearsing when I take Little Dog outside. The acrobatic clowns, singers, and dancers are always an unexpected joy to Little Dog. Her morning walk is not usually so celebratory.
Then around 7:30 a.m. a bunch of turkeys will show up. Literally. We will get to see the Turkey Trotters, many of whom are literally in turkey costumes, run past on the corner of my block. The Strategic Staffing Solutions Turkey Trot is technically called a race, and it is my understanding from family and friends who have run in it that it is timed. However, the top three placers are probably the only ones who pay attention to that fact. Almost everyone in the ‘race’ cheers back at the people lined up on the street to cheer them on. It is a little weird to be cheered at for ‘standing’ in front of your loft. Oddly, Little Dog seemed to find this perfectly normal. Apparently she thinks this is the level of attention she should always receive for just ‘being’ there.
Living on the Parade route, the fact that the parade is televised means very little: except that you will continuously get texts and messages from far-away friends saying “I see your house!” In any other circumstance this would be creepy. On Thanksgiving Day it is a fun way to connect with people you’re thankful for having in your life, but you’re too far away from to get together with.
During the Parade, you can easily pop in and out of your loft to watch the performers and floats from street level or from your windows. And this means people are going to want to show up at your house not for Thanksgiving Day dinner, but for breakfast. No problem. The Hudson Café (just downstairs) not only has coffees, specialty coffees, and hot chocolate for quick fuel-ups, they also deliver ‘room service’ to our doors: which means I get to serve my guests a delicious homemade breakfast…that they choose off a menu. And I don’t have to do dishes. Adding one more Thanks to my Thanksgiving.
Here’s another Thanks I get to give on Thanksgiving Day. The Detroit Lions play Philadelphia Eagles this year, and, as usual, I have a number of friends who will Downtown for the game. While I have spent many a Thanksgiving gathered with family and friends in front of a TV while a turkey roasts in the next room, it is even more fun to see those same people at Ford Field.
Before and after the game tailgaters dot the city: and there will be a lot of Midnight Green mixed in with Honolulu Blue. But just like the original Thanksgiving feast, there will be a lot of sharing and celebrating because no matter which team you root for, everyone loves and shares their deep-fried turkeys and awesome turkey-versions of Gameday food.
Yes, much like the depictions of that first Thanksgiving, regardless of whose jersey people are wearing that day, there is a lot of sharing and mixing. Because everyone is thankful to be there.
And I like everyone else will be thankful to be Downtown on a day when there is so much going on—so much you can suddenly decide to do and so many great people to see—that the only thing you really need to plan is that you’re going to have a great time.
So, on a day when I don’t have to make any plans except to simply be here, in the place I call home, this planner who lives by the motto “I love it when a plan comes together,” sends out a Bigger-Than-The Turkey-Float “Thank You Detroit!”
Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!