Over the years, Thanksgiving has become my favorite holiday, but when I was little I was unsure about the whole thing. Unlike Christmas and Easter, which we spent with my huge posse of cousins on my grandparents' farm, Thanksgiving was spent with city relatives we only saw once a year. They were incredibly gracious hosts, but I was shy and there were no baby goats to play with. Anyway, the thing I loved about Thanksgiving was helping my parents decorate our own house — and I was always in charge of the tiny pilgrim candles.
Of course, my duties included more than just making the crucial decision of where to display the precious candles, though that was obviously a very important job. Even though we ate Thanksgiving dinner elsewhere, my parents always set a beautiful autumnal table for us to eat at the rest of Thanksgiving weekend, and I helped put on the tablecloth, fold napkins, carry silverware, and so on. And since my mom had me baking by age 3 (not using the oven, obviously — don't worry!), I had cornbread and rolls to take care of. Oh my goodness, the coziness. Even when I came home from college, it was all the same: a gorgeously laid-out table, rushing around, and cornbread to be baked.
But all of that, for me, is captured in those little pilgrim candles. I remember having to practically climb in the cupboard to find them, as they were always tucked away at the back behind tablecloths, candlesticks, and other grown-up-seeming finery. They always smelled so waxy — more than other candles — and their delicate coloring was a bit smudged even then.
Whenever I see similar Thanksgiving candles, all those memories come flooding back. But I also think, "What a terrible design for a candle! Who wants a flaming, headless pilgrim lurking on their holiday table?!" Clearly, they're not burnin'-candles — they're savin'-candles, and I hope my parents still have them. Is there an object that brings Thanksgivings of yore rushing back to you whenever you see it?
(Image: Thanksgiving People from A&G Merch)