We’re talking Homemade Magic today.💖 Do come along, won’t you? MUSICA!

Thought I would talk about the magic of this season . . . We’re all going to be making some this next week (and month)!

We’re cooking up some magic at home and taking it to a friend’s house for Thanksgiving this year! I’m making my heavenly Pumpkin Cheesecake (you can make this gluten free by making one change in the recipe, use gluten-free ginger snaps for the crust, and voila!)I’m also making my Sweet Potato Casserole ⬆️ a wonderful recipe which I sometimes serve in mini pumpkins . . . 

But this time I’m just baking it in a casserole dish so it’s easier for travel. (Like my apron? Quite the garment! No mistaking the holiday!)🎃

I’m also providing the cranberry sauce which I almost force them to let me do because I love this simple recipe so much, to me it sparkles ~ plus I’ll make extra for my must-have-for-the-holidays, Christmas Jam. Both recipes are below:I get to jump over it this year, because they are making the turkey!
And we’ll taste someone else’s “idea” of stuffing 😱 but we’ll be brave, it’s good for us, makes us better people. But Joe has gathered the ingredients to add some extra gravy to the general good.

I’m not making Rainbow Jell-O this year because we’ll be all adults (and one new baby!) but if you’re having kids at your table, this is a wonderful recipe for them to put in their forever memory banks. It’s kid food, and they know it and I believe, feel grateful for it. But trust me, big kids like it too! 

This was our dinner last year, the leftovers looked almost as good as when we put the dinner on the table! We tried to make enough for every one to have leftovers to-go!

I thought you might like a few photos of Holidays-passed, of some of my decorated table ideas . . .

This was a casual dinner we had at the kitchen table using my old mix-and-match pottery collection, and the antique black-iron candlesticks I found somewhere along the way. (No marks on the bottom of these, I’m sorry to say, would love to tell you where they come from!)

Candlelight makes everything look better! More romantic, prettier colors, softer light, the food even tastes better in candlelight! And a little poem or a prayer written on a menu stand helps to set the tone. Because Thanksgiving is so wonderfully about gratitude and memory.

Cookbooks, wooden spoons, and recipe boxes (with mom and grandma’s handwriting on recipe cards) make evocative Thanksgiving table decorations. I love using stuff I have around the house. A table with lots of little framed photos works too. Makes for lots of happy conversation. Also, you can make placemats out of old photos (enlarge on copier), that’s fun too ~ you can even use them as place cards, “find your photo and that’s where you sit”. (I’ve forgotten to take pictures of my table settings in the past, I try not to let that happen anymore!)

Pile together a few of your favorite things, collections, or family memories, interesting things to look at that relate to you and yours . . . the little shoes, remember from my book? I wrote how I found them in the attic at Holly Oak, left behind by Agnes, my secret guardian angel. Now there she is, on our Thanksgiving table.

More found objects . . . Leaves and pinecones make perfect place cards!

Small low vases of flowers are good too, you can see over them! See the candlestick with the star bobeche? I found those bobeche years ago and LOVE them, I bring them out any time I need a starry night!🕯

I always use them for the holidays, but in the summer too, under the stars . . .

I looked for them for years to put in our web store, but never found them. Off and on, I’ve managed to get people to make them for us, but they’ve been very hard to get. See how you set the bobeche on top of the candle stick?⬆️

And then the candle slips through the hole and into the stick ~ 🕯 

Voila! Anyway, I finally found a new manufacturer! And this time I had them made from lightweight acrylic, just like the ones I found so many years ago. In case you need some starry light on your holiday tables!🕯

Bobeche! Here’s how they look without the candles. And, something special, to celebrate this wonderful season . . .For YOU! YES, leave a comment at the end of this post, and we’ll have a drawing, and see who is going to be the winner of this pair of starry bobeche!

I love it when they play Little Women on TV on Thanksgiving. It’s such perfect background “music.” Reminds me of simpler days and the things that really matter. The smell of dinner cooking is enough to set the entire mood of the day. And isn’t it wonderful, it’s not about gifts?! Only the little ones that really count. Like home. And P.S. Something special for PLU (people like us) . . . LOOK what’s coming this Christmas

Because magic can come in very small packages. It doesn’t have to be fancy. All this decorating is nice, if you have the time, and are in the mood, but there are no rules. Just one little pumpkin on a porch or a kitchen table is lovely and festive and says it all. That, a roasted chicken, a baked apple, a little candle, and a prayer is all we need.And the day after Thanksgiving, while filled to overflowing with gratitude and contentment and pumpkin pie, and blessed by everything we have, feed your soul in nature on Green Friday. I fear we are teaching our children greed by celebrating consumerism the day after Thanksgiving. Instead, teach magic, take your spirit and your kids to the sky . . .

Because God made the dirt roads, the woods, and the critters and gave them to us has His gift. And it’s our job to take care of them for Him. Honor them for Him.

Quiet places with wind and bird sounds fill your heart with thanks and wash the stress away. (Would you like to read my Love Letter to Martha’s Vineyard? In your spare time!)

A wonderful gift from the sea, free! And we didn’t have to stand in line under klieg lights to get it!

The pause that refreshes. The sound of snowfall is good for you!The gift that keeps on giving. Other things to do besides hugging trees that cause magic: have a turkey-sandwich, pumpkin-pie picnic outside, or surprise the lady down the street and have your whole family go to her house and plant bulbs. (I’ll give you my address!) Bring someone who’s stuck inside OUT, and take them to nature. Adopt a new petty pet! 💖 Or,

Cuddle in front of a fire . . .

Dreaming of a better tomorrow? Let it show in everything you do.💞 We are so lucky!

Here’s a Thanksgiving Prayer bookmark, for you to print out, just click there. I’ve memorialized the childhood prayer Joe “sang” to me when we first met. (Suzy, Nosey, Inky, and so on, were his family’s pets!❤️)

And don’t forget to leave a comment for the starry bobeches. Blessings on you and yours darling friends! Have the MOST wonderful Thanksgiving.🎃 

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  1. Sara J. Harrison says:

    Thank you so much for your Thanksgiving gift to all of us, even though I am a Canadian & ours is in Oct. I always think of you all on your special day as my husband is American as well as my best friend. I especially love your comment on how God left us the woods, dirt roads, trees & all the critters as a gift for us to take care of, I so agree, I have 2 cats & try to take care of all the wild critters outside our house, they delight me every day. I bought your new calendar from Eng. & can’t wait to begin it, my daughter & family live in Eng. & I will be spending Christmas with them in a few wks., it is a magical place! Happy Holidays!

  2. Barbara L. Seman says:

    Hope your Thanksgiving was wonderful!

  3. Joy says:


    The warmth, coziness and love you bring into my heart and life fills me up to overflowing.


  4. Debbie Boerger says:

    Hello all you Wise Women, and maybe a few men who enjoy ‘Lurking’,

    We had a very nice Black Friday. The Lovely Tom put up a ceiling light fixture for my oldest and dearest friend. He was on a ladder, she was hanging onto his belt loops while standing on a very low step stool, and I was hanging onto her!! I did take some time to sit on her big porch and play with her very loving, very huge yellow kitty. Then check out some of her blooming orchids.

    Then it was on to a local business where we have bought all our appliances and mattresses over the years. Sadly, it was not crowded, as most folks swarm the big box, National Brands. My stack washer/dryer is very tired, and keeps losing various functions, in a similar way that I have. I don’t agitate or spin with as much vigor as I once did 😉 So we did go buy a new washer/dryer. I needed a translator to explain all the new functions…some of them I am not too sure of. Oh, well, they will be great, and being full size, I can wash my comforters and throw rugs.

    Off to the beach on Longboat Key tomorrow. Lying on our backs on the dry sand, and naming the stars and constellations. Making S’mores over their fire pit. Sunsets and early morning walks on the beach. Stopping to greet other walkers and pet their dogs. Going to be quite cool the mid part of the week, which I dearly love.

    Another huge thank you, Dear Lady, for the daily dose of Reminders of the Beauty of Life. We of a “Certain Age” have all experienced grief or very difficult times. You are a living proof that you can be happy again. It’s easy to say that to a younger gal, but reading your story makes it easier to Believe.

    Mucho Love,
    Debbie….packing for a week of Paradise

    • sbranch says:

      Happy New Washer and Dryer. I know, remember when the radio in your car had an on and off button and a scroll thing for the channels? Life was good! Have fun Debbie, hugs to Tom!

  5. Shay says:

    Most loving, kind and generous Susan,
    May you, Joe and Jack have a perfectly loving and magical holiday season♥️
    I’ve loved your magic wand 🌟🧚🏼‍♀️ for years and wondered if you have any information on it or have any plans to find someone to make some for your store?

    Thank you, Shay

    • sbranch says:

      I’ve looked, but I wouldn’t want just any old magic wand, and finding that one, that brass one with the star hasn’t born fruit so far. But I will continue to look!

  6. Marianne from South Haven says:

    Being with family…..it’s the best! Happy holidays!

  7. Anna says:

    Happy Belated Thanksgiving!

  8. Ethel J Craig says:

    Hi, Susan, with 1,463 comments already, I am not able to see how you choose a winner! I would like to win the star bobeches. Once I had one that was like a tear drop. A star would be delightful. It is the emblem of a Woman’s organization that I belong to. Thank you. EJC

    • sbranch says:

      There’s something that comes with the blog called a “Random Number Generator” … it picks a name at random. But I have renamed it, I call it Vanna, after Vanna White . . . Vanna “draws” a winner . . . and that’s how it’s done!

  9. Cheryl Freeman (Northern VA) says:

    Thank you Susan for your lovely message. Warms my heart and soul. For several years now I do a mini version of a Thanksgiving meal a day or two afterwards for my husband and me. This is because we travel by car to his and my family on the holiday. Ever since I discovered your cranberry sauce recipe I have made it for our mini meal. It has now become tradition and favored by my husband. Blessings to you and Joe.

  10. LeeAnn says:

    I was in your “neck of the woods”for Thanksgiving. Solvang, Ca. Lovely rain finally! Happy December, Susan. Thanks for all you do to brighten our days. Always uplifting😊

  11. I so enjoy this time of year. Mother Nature showing off with all her beautiful colors. Then right into winter with it’s blanket of pure white snow. What a wonderful way to end the year.

  12. Mary says:

    The loveliest part of our day is feeding the squirrels, doves and many little birds that come to our yard. Of course, we have named them all and they have become so tame that some of the squirrels will take the walnuts from our hands. We see ourselves as caretakers of them and of the giant oak tree in the back that we try to protect against all of the people with chainsaws who would butcher it! Happy Thanksgiving!

  13. Andrea Nunley says:

    Hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving! I love your blog and your books (and calendars, and well, everything!) 🙂

  14. Rosemary from Texas says:

    Many beautiful things are written here to emphasize what is important. We people of like minds are drawn to your beautiful words. How do we get the rest of the people to listen and read? and think? Yes, the day after Thanksgiving where we give thanks for all of our blessings…and then run out to buy more things that we think will be blessings but are burdens.
    Sorry to be a little grumpy. I am happy to read your posts. It helps.

    • sbranch says:

      It’s always word of mouth, always has been for me, girlfriends telling girlfriends, sisters, moms, grandmas, aunties . . . that’s how we found each other, organically, kindred spirits. Close the door for a while Rosemary, light a candle, put on Dean Martin Christmas, and think of all we have. You’ll feel better, I promise. Sending big love. xoxoxo

  15. Rosemary Lang says:

    Dear Susan,
    I love your blog and I always learn something new. Those little bobeches- I didn’t know they had a name. I always called them candle chandeliers. My Great Aunt Mae always had them at Christmas.

  16. Joyce Fowler says:

    Love the idea of no shopping. Happy Thanksgiving week and now December. Does not seem possible.

  17. Kathy says:

    Dear Susan,
    Thank you for always being such a sweet blessing!

  18. Kathleen Williams says:

    As winter arrives on the Island and across this great land of ours … sending wishes for Happy Days ahead to you and Joe.

  19. Jane Grayson says:

    Although we don’t celebrate Thanksgiving in England, it’s lovely to be able to share yours through the magic of the internet!

    Love Jane

  20. Lindsay says:

    Hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving! I just turned the page in my Susan Branch calendar and am so excited for this special month.

  21. Debbie Boerger says:

    Rabbit Rabbit right back. So much to look forward to.

    I just wanted to let anyone who would be interested know that there are many, many programs through Road Scholar, from just a few days to a week. They come in all price ranges and all interests….our neighbors in Maine do them with Grandkids, such as sailing through the Straights of Juan De Fuca (sp?), or rafting down the Snake River. If I hit the lottery..the money kind…I’d take one to Italy for cooking in a Tuscan Villa!!! Some folks I met in New Mexico, RVed from one to the next all over North America.

    Almost out the door to Longboat Key. You’d think we were going on Safari,,bags and bags of food, seasonings, and well, you know, dear Sue.

    Mucho Grande love to all,
    Debbie on the West Coast of Florida

  22. Judy Ann Barrett says:

    Loved your post. Always have to check it to get ideas for my home. Happy Thanksgiving to everyone and let’s get ready for Christmas. May God bless you all. Let’s get decorating and let’s get to cookin!
    Judy Ann

  23. Linda L Chase says:

    My first time posting on your blog and I have been following you since your 1st cookbook….I have them all and so do love them. Had the pleasure of meeting you and Joe in Denver, CO on your book tour. It was definitely one of the highlights on our trip to Denver. Since 1990, My Thanksgiving tradition is to make your Sweet Potato Casserole every year. We love it…but must admit, I do add a few more splashes of dry sherry. (wink-wink) Love reading your blogs….Thanks for being such a Special LADY!!!!

  24. Lisa Loch says:

    Green Friday is the way to go! After working over 47 years in retail, I am very happy to see that chapter behind me. I retired in June. I enjoy each and every blog article you write. Thank you for sharing your positive outlook on life. It’s needed more than ever now.

  25. SuzyQuilter says:

    Love your back to basics of good food, comfy decorating, embracing nature, family and friends.

  26. Rebecca Mercer-Ward says:

    Oh Susan..you really do feel like an old, trusted friend or dear cousin. I’ve been watching your journey for so many years and you never disappoint me with your lovely tales and yummy recipes. Thank you. Thank you for bringing a smile to me and reminding me of the simple joys available to us all if we will only slow down and open our eyes and hearts. Blessings to you and yours this holiday season.

  27. Lori Filips says:

    Susan you are such a gift and we are so grateful. Your blogs are so inspiring and warms my heart. I love rereading your archived blogs. It would be lovely if they were all in a book format (in your freetime 😉…lol). Have a joyful holiday season!

  28. Jan Jasper says:

    Whenever I see your blog pop up in my email, I know I will have a wonderful day! Thank you for blessing my days and weeks, Susan!

  29. Ruth HOWARD says:

    Happy Belated Thanksgiving!

  30. Mary says:

    Thanksgiving is such a beautiful holiday. A thankfulness journal or daily practice is a warm and heart full way to enjoy that magic year-round and savor our blessings.

  31. Wanda Susanne says:

    Love your blog, dear Susan! This October I was on a bus tour to the beautiful New England states. We were scheduled to go to Martha’s Vineyard, but the weather would not cooperate. I was so bummed! Oh well, we had a wonderful bus tour and did major leaf pepping!!!
    You have a wonderful December 1st!
    Wanda Susanne

  32. Ginny Evans says:

    It’s taken me a while to respond, sorry, we were back in So. California visiting family for Thanksgiving. I wanted to tell you that what you do DOES matter (as you mentioned in Willard)–to all of us too! You enrich our lives. You take me “home” and remind me of all the years I had a little house with sweet eastern atmosphere, seasons, country curtains and old-timey touches. At Thanksgiving, I am thankful for YOU!

    Blessings, dear girl,

  33. Wende Taylor says:

    Hi Sue… Happy December! I have little bobeches (didn’t know this is what they’re called) but without the cute danglies. Loved your blog, as always.

  34. Charlene says:

    Susan you are so sweet with wonderful ideas, delicious recipes , and special treats to share with us. Thank you

  35. Lynne aka the heart girl says:

    It’s such a delight to read your blog each and every time! Your style is just my style! I loved it when all your stickers, cards, tins etc. were flourishing in the little shops. That’s how I found you and all your happy things. I’d love going to the nearby shop and trying to decide which of your treasures I would buy. Wish this was still true today and the shop that carried your treasures has long since vanished but I delight in the finding of new shops and what they may have of yours. I do find some of your beauties now and again in person and I do a private happy dance. Loving your pictures and stories about Thanksgiving and looking forward to all your lovely posts yet to come.

  36. Lynn Braha says:

    Thank you, Susan for sharing your Thanksgiving with us! And all the awesome recipes!

  37. Maureen Graham says:

    Happy Holidays!

    Thank you for all you do. Our lives are better to have you. My daughter and I took a nice long walk in the park on the Friday after Thanksgiving. We saw a muskrat swimming and Mr and Mrs Mallard were out for a swim and a bit of fishing.

    I love Green Friday!!!

  38. Willemien says:

    Dear Susan,
    Hoping you ‘ve had a very Happy Thanksgiving with your loved ones. As Always I love your posts! Sending lots of love to you from Holland!
    xxx Willemien

  39. Willemien says:

    Dear Susan,
    I cant find my comment so I’ll try again…
    Hoping you’ve had a wonderful Happy Thanksgiving with your loved ones. As Always loving your posts Sending lots of love from Holland.
    xxx Willemien

  40. Victoria says:

    Hi Susan. I am thankful for many things and one is your Willards and blog. Just makes me happy. Thanks. Happy holidays to you and Joe.

  41. becky says:

    Susan, You make me want to do Thanksgiving all over again! Such a wonderful time of year; and spending it with family is just heaven! Thanks for your inspiration!

  42. Lorri Hernandez says:

    Happy Holidays from Arizona!!! ❤️

  43. Sally says:

    Thinking of you and the myriad of ways you make life richer, sweeter and more beautiful in so many ways. You are a blessing!

  44. Gail Tomei says:

    I finally was able to take a moment to read your blog. I so look forward to every word you artfully create. We missed Thanksgiving because we moved into a lovely little home and spent the day unpacking. We did give THANKS for all our blessings but without turkey. Christmas will be different. So, your words and pictures and the bobeche were my Thanksgiving meal. Delightful!
    Thank you for every word you print, especially in your books. I have almost all of them.

  45. Sylvia says:

    Enjoying the season just as you are!!! As always thank you for sharing your beautiful insights and photos!!

  46. Shelley George says:

    I just LOVE ALL you do Susan Branch!! Thank you for sharing your gifts with us.

  47. Deanah Greene says:

    I just slowed down to read this post and it was right on time. My heart is refueled for the day!

  48. Toni from Sylvania OH says:

    Dearest Susan and Joe…Jack included:-)))
    May you have an very blesses Christmas and New Years.
    Toni Moriarty
    Sylvania OH

    • sbranch says:

      Thank you Toni… letting both of these go so you can see that they do go, even if they look like nothing happens! xoxo

  49. Toni from Sylvania OH says:

    Dearest Susan and Joe…Jack included:-)))
    May you have an very blesses Christmas and New Years.
    With love, Toni Moriarty
    Sylvania OH

  50. Mary Ann in mid-Missouri says:

    I just have to share my bobeche story. Several years ago I told my husband that I wanted a bobeche from your store for Christmas. His response: “I have no idea what that is, but if that’s what you want, order one.” Such a romantic. 🙄 But, I got it and that’s all that matters.

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