Before I knew him, my husband had reconnected with various friends from different stages of his life. They all came together frequently for parties and gatherings to hang out and have fun. He kept up the tradition for years, and we started executing them together once we became a couple. Even through marriages and children, his friend group has remained cohesive and consistent in their dedication to spending time with each other.

One of the events traditionally held each year is Thanksmas. Some people do Friendsgiving, usually held on or around Thanksgiving. We do Thanksmas, which is between Thanksgiving and Christmas. It effectively serves as the “friend’s holiday” for the group, including a formal dinner. The host generally provides the turkey, and the meal is potluck style.

With practice and many stumbles along the way, the food has vastly improved over the years. Before my time, there was apparently serious drama with the mashed potatoes one year. Some people are very protective of potatoes now because of that incident.

Probably splitting off a kid’s table next year to stretch the seating a little further.

We hosted and did the turkey this year. I think our Thanksgiving turkey was slightly better, but we have gotten pretty good at it. Our trick is the dry-brine process beginning about a day and a half to two days before the event. I get the seasoned salt under the skin to help the flavors seep all the way through the meat. If you generally dislike turkey because it comes out dry, I recommend trying out dry-brining.

The second trick to our turkey is the Big Easy Cooker. It is a relatively inexpensive appliance we use for a number of things, but it is the best for getting a nice crispy crust or skin on whatever you are cooking. The Big Easy is billed as an oilless deep fryer and infrared cooker using propane and done outside. They have not sponsored me to say this (though I would be willing to entertain offers!), and it is a pain to clean, but I love everything we make in it.

Despite how crazy I look here—or maybe that is a contributing factor—I have also gotten pretty good at carving the turkey.

I hope everyone is having a wonderful holiday season!