Thanksgiving dinner is now just a gastric memory with the wishbone drying on the kitchen windowsill waiting for two people to make a wish. (I'm still waiting for my horse.)

It's fun to hear about people's holiday traditions and stories.

This year, Thanksgiving at my house was a little out of the norm. Harry was in Maine on a hunting trip. But Harry was also sitting at my table. Now how could that be, you ask?

Becky and Jim have become good friends with their next door neighbor, who lives alone and had no where to go this year for Thanksgiving, so they invited him to join us. His name is Harry.

Cheryl Dorshimer Heffelfinger of Danielsville says she's stuck in the perpetual Kids' Table at the Dorshimer family Thanksgiving Dinner held at Bob and Brenda Dorshimer's house (her parents) in Kunkletown. Cheryl's 39. She wonders when she'll qualify for the Adult Table.

"When we were kids, we couldn't wait until we were old enough to sit at the Adult Table. But they keep up-ing the age. It's up to 55 and older now! But if someone new comes for Thanksgiving, they automatically get to sit at the Adult Table. Not fair!" she says.

This year there were 10 adults and 12 children. I wonder if maybe some adults just aren't ready to give up all that fun at the Kids Table. What do you think?

Brenda Sheckler of Palmerton says that Thanksgiving Dinner was always at her mother-in-law's home, with her mother-in-law and her husband's aunt, sharing the duties. Her husband, Ryan, has three brothers and as they grew up and had families of their own, it became too much for the older ladies. So one year, Brenda volunteered to have Thanksgiving dinner at her home.

That first year, everyone arrived for the 12 p.m. dinner. But, the turkey wasn't done. She made sure the oven was working. It was, so she turned the oven temperature higher.

At 1 p.m., it still wasn't done.

"People were standing around the stove, staring at it," she says.

By 2 p.m., everyone was really getting hungry and starting to eye each other up. Flustered, Brenda took the turkey out and carved enough off the top to begin dinner and put the rest back in the oven to get done.

"Now I make sure the turkey is done an hour before everyone gets here but it has become a Thanksgiving family tradition to ask, 'Is the turkey done yet?' I'll never live it down," she smiles.

Joyce Fusner of Kunkletown has the best memories of her grandmother's mince meat pies.

"We use to help Mom-Mom Dutt make them. She made 50 of them at a time. They were just the best. They were filled with beef, pork, raisins and apples. She'd use whiskey, rum and cream sherry. Sometimes she became a little tipsy from taste testing them. She ran out of whiskey one time and used Old Grand-Dad bourbon whiskey. Whew! One year she overdid it and used too much alcohol. We were warming up the pies for Thanksgiving dinner and the alcohol smell was so strong we had to open up all the windows. We were all a little too happy that year. That story comes up every Thanksgiving," says Joyce with a laugh. "We had the best times when we all got together."

As part of our Thanksgiving tradition, we exchange our Christmas Wish lists, in case any of us are nuts enough to go shopping Black Friday. (Which some of us are.)

Some of us spent the day decorating our homes for Christmas. (How come it takes me a whole 3-day weekend to do what I use to be able to do in one night?)

I think it should become a national law that Christmas commercials and Christmas stuff in stores should not be out until the day after Thanksgiving. (Gosh I hate that Target woman already!)

I use to only become stressed out a couple of weeks before Christmas. Now I start stressing it back before Halloween! By December 24 I'm a nervous wreck.

Every time I talk to someone who says they're finished Christmas shopping, I want to bop them on the head. I had one person tell me she's already finished shopping and has everything wrapped! (Bet she was labeled as an "overachiever" or "anal retentive" in school.)

Last year, instead of going to bed and having visions of sugar plums dancing in my head, I kept having a re-occurring nightmare that I woke up Christmas morning realizing I hadn't bought all my Christmas presents! No lie!

I'm beginning to wonder if picking this time of the year to try to lose a few pounds was a mistake. (-25 so far. I miss my daily Coke the most. That was my stress-reliever. By Christmas, I'll probably have gained it all back!!!)

How do you cope during the Christmas season? I'd like to hear from you about how you get through the holidays and if you have any special Christmas traditions. Email me at lkoehler@tnonline.com [1] or call me at 610-826-9641.