My Thanksgiving Week Blog Post

We are right on the verge of Thanksgiving week and I couldn’t be happier. I am a big fan of Thanksgiving and have racked up so many fond memories from the holiday over the years. Sure, it is Sunday and that means we must go back to work tomorrow but not for long. I think we will all walk into the office Monday morning with motivation to plow through the next few days and then get home to celebrate our blessings.

Over the years, I have written extensively about Thanksgiving via Don’t Blink. Today, to get us all excited for this special holiday, I want to re-share some of my greatest hits. If you read this post and the accompanied linked posts, I guarantee that you will be so fired up for Thanksgiving that you might host your own Macy’s Day Parade smack dab in the middle of your neighborhood streets tonight.

My mom and I both love Thanksgiving. Are you ready for another great Turkey Day?

The Official Start of the Holidays – When you wake up tomorrow morning, it just won’t be Thanksgiving week. Rather, it will be the official kickoff of the holiday season. In my book, I consider the Monday before Thanksgiving the start of the glorious winter holiday season. Starting tomorrow and lasting through New Year’s Day, we will all enjoy 42 days of festive fun. In this particular blog post from over five years ago, I give a preview of the joy and magic that await us all.

The holiday season is here!

Thanksgiving Eve Like it or not, Thanksgiving is associated with the biggest party day of the year. The Wednesday that precedes Turkey Day, AKA Thanksgiving Eve, is notorious for sleepy neighborhood watering holes transforming into party bars filled to capacity with eager college students and other people marking their triumphant returns to their hometowns. The excitement of the start of a long weekend combined with the nostalgia of being back at mom and dad’s brings out the party animal in many. Last year, I wrote about my own Thanksgiving Eve memories.

My brother and I out on Thanksgiving Eve in 2010.

Thanksgiving Traditions – Eating something sweet for breakfast, watching the Macy’s Day Parade, and enjoying ham with the turkey are all new Thanksgiving traditions that I enjoy with Sidney. Of course, before I met Sid I practiced some older traditions with my family. Days before I celebrated my first Thanksgiving in Myrtle Beach, I wrote about some of those traditions we held dear and how Sidney was going to try to incorporate some of them into our east coast celebration. We all have our own unique Thanksgiving traditions and they are a major reason why the holiday is so special.

We all have our Thanksgiving traditions. Growing up, my family would always have lasagna as part of the Turkey Day spread.

TURKEY – Turkey, turkey, turkey, turkey. What is the first thing that pops into your head when someone says Thanksgiving? If you don’t say turkey, I am calling you a liar. Thanksgiving is synonymous with this particular bird that is the headliner of any Turkey Day feast. How much do I love it? Quite a bit! In 2016, I wrote about my favorite holiday meats. How does turkey match up against prime rib and ham? You will have to read to find out.

You can’t have Thanksgiving without turkey.


Are you in the “turkey” spirit now? Let me be the first to wish you a joyful Thanksgiving week. If you happen to be traveling, please arrive at your destination safely. Thanks for reading Don’t Blink and have a great Sunday.

Thanksgiving Traditions

As I will be spending Thanksgiving away from my family in Spokane, Sidney has been too kind to incorporate my traditions within her family’s Thanksgiving celebration.

Take for example a popular side dish my mom always prepares for our Thanksgiving meal. To most people it is asinine to eat lasagna with your turkey and mashed potatoes, but to my Italian family it is as common as pumpkin pie. Sidney will be making her best version of my mom’s specialty for the Mathis family’s traditional Black Friday meal.

Some photos from our Thanksgiving last year. You can see my mom cutting up our signature lasagna.

Some photos from our Thanksgiving last year. You can see my mom cutting up our signature lasagna.

Another classic Reser tradition is the evening pilgrimage to the local theater to watch a movie. Every Thanksgiving and every Christmas after we have ate and relaxed for a little bit, we all go see a film at the movie theater. And it doesn’t matter how stuffed we are either, we always get popcorn too! This “Reser Ritual” has provided us many great memories and helps to kind of distinguish the holiday. For example, Christmas 2010 was when we went and saw “True Grit”. Thanksgiving 2012 was when we watched “Lincoln.”

In these shots from Thanksgiving 2013 you can see the lasagna both on the table and on the my plate.

In these shots from Thanksgiving 2013 you can see the lasagna both on the table and on the my plate.

I asked Sidney if this Thursday, long after the celebration has concluded at her sister’s house, if we could go to the theater and watch a movie. She said of course!

Last Thanksgiving was special for me. It was my first time at home since I moved across the country. We marked the holiday by going to see “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1.” I love the Hunger Games movies. They leave you on the end of your seat and the acting is superb. Naturally I asked Sid if we could see “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 2” this Thanksgiving. She agreed to that request as well.

Once again, the lasagna takes center stage during Thanksgiving 2012.

Once again, the lasagna takes center stage during Thanksgiving 2012.

Now we have to decide if we will watch the previous three movies over the next few nights to prepare us for the new installment on Thursday. With both of us busy over these next few days and the lack of an 8-hour window available to watch all three films, it will be tough. But if we do watch one movie per night starting later this evening, we can squeeze it in.

One final Thanksgiving spread photo. You guessed it...lasagna.

One final Thanksgiving spread photo. You guessed it…lasagna.

Regardless of whether we cram the movies in or watch the final film with no prep, I am thankful for one major thing: Sidney is sweet enough and thoughtful enough to honor some of my traditions this Thanksgiving. It will definitely be another blessed holiday. Don’t Blink.

Ready for Thanksgiving Break!

When you work in intercollegiate athletics, getting a single day off between August and mid-December is a rarity. In fact, since September 30 I have had a total of two days off. However, tomorrow will mark the first of 5 consecutive days off that I will enjoy. To be honest, to go from working long hours seven days a week to all of a sudden having a string of days off is a little overwhelming. But believe me, I am not complaining.

Thanks to the Griz football team playing lights out the last four games of the season and earning a first round playoff bye plus basketball schedules that have both the Griz and Lady Griz on the road, I get to enjoy an extended Thanksgiving weekend. Not since college have I had the opportunity to do absolutely nothing from Wednesday through Sunday of Turkey Week.

I made the trip from Missoula to Spokane after work today. I will spend my whole vacation at my parents’ house in the north part of the city. The last time I spent more than four days at my parents’ residence was when I was a college senior back home for winter break in December of 2008 and January of 2009. I am very excited to kind of put my bags down and enjoy some quality time in the house that I grew up in.

Food, football, and fun will be the “three F’s” I live by this Thanksgiving holiday. My partner in crime will be my younger brother, Glen. We look forward to spending a lot of time together and continuing to build on the thousands of memories we have already created together throughout our lives. My sister also has a brand new kitten that I am dying to finally meet.

I most likely will not be posting again to Don’t Blink until next Monday but there is always the chance that I might slip something in between now and then. Have a great Thanksgiving everyone! I am very thankful for my wonderful readers. Don’t Blink.

My Holiday Message Tradition

About 5 years ago I started a holiday tradition that I still carry on to this day. Fed up and annoyed with mass texts that people would send simply saying “Merry Christmas” or “Happy Thanksgiving” I wanted to do something that would distance itself from the superficial crap that other people were sending out while at the same time giving my friends and family something to look forward to, laugh at, and maybe even enjoy.

Many of the people who will read this blog post have had the honor (or the horror) of receiving a holiday text from me. Some of you have consistently gotten them over the years, some of you may have just gotten your first one this Thanksgiving, and some of you may have received them before but not anymore. I estimate that I probably send it out to 75% of my current contact list. I try to leave off people who I barely know, people who are easily offended, and people who probably don’t want to put up with my BS. But all in all, I try to share my holiday spirit with everyone.

So what exactly is a Brent Reser holiday text? Well, as I said, I completely despise the impersonal mass texts that people lazily send out during the holidays. So what I decided to do was still reach my friends and family with a holiday greeting but do it in a way that took a little bit of effort. Thus, each major holiday I started to dress up in some ridiculous seasonal garb that matched the specific holiday, choose a cool setting to be in front of, take a picture, accompany the picture with an over the top message, and then send the picture/message out to my contacts.

Although my holiday texts are very goofy and ridiculous, I do take them very seriously. I start thinking about what I want to do several weeks in advance of the holiday. Then, as the holiday draws near, I will go to a party store and purchase supplies for my costume and props. I always spend more money than I should on stupid things that I will only use once for the sole purpose of the picture but I don’t really care. After doing something for five years, you have to keep coming up with different gags and ideas. I usually always take the picture on the actual holiday although a couple times in the past I have taken it the day before for the sake of time such as if I was traveling or if I would be at a place where I could not get my desired setting. My two main photographers of my picture over the years have been either my mom or my brother. I have driven both of them NUTS with the numerous takes I have them do, making sure I get the perfect picture. I mean I am sending it out to 200 people, I got to make sure it is looking good!

I always send holiday texts out on Easter, Fourth of July, Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, and Christmas Day. In the past, I have also sent out holiday texts on New Year’s Eve, New Year’s Day, and Halloween. Everyone who has received my texts knows that each one will ALWAYS contain a couple of elements. I like to keep the integrity of my holiday messages within the friends and family that I send them to so I won’t disclose fully what those elements are over this blog but I will say it centers around a certain facial expression and a certain beverage. For most of the holidays, my messages will be on the goofier side but I do send out a classier one for the Christmas Day version.

Wow, I have not even got to the actual text part of the message. Accompanying the picture I send out is also a heartfelt, rather long, special holiday greeting from myself. Take the generic “Merry Christmas” text message and multiply it by a thousand to get what I put into it. Although the length of my message might be likened to a book and although many people probably exit out of the message after reading the first sentence, I just like to put the effort into it. As with the picture, there are a couple of constants that I make sure to always include in the text portion. Again, I won’t say exactly what those constants are but I always try to add some humor along with a genuine message. Oh yeah, I also like to include at the end a certain phrase that I am very fond of using…any guesses on that?

Over the years, my messages have evolved a little bit. With the amazing invention of the iPhone, no longer does it take 4 hours and a whole life’s worth of battery to send out my message to my contacts. The process goes much quicker now since the iPhone is much faster and I have the option to send it out to more than 10 people at a time. It is interesting to note, however, that I mostly still send my message out in groups of 10. With the ability of group messaging, I just don’t want to send out a message to 50 people and have a bunch of them replying back to everyone. Let’s just say that not everyone responds to my holiday cheer in an appropriate manner. In fact, the holiday message I sent out this Thanksgiving was the first one where I literally put a disclaimer at the very end reminding people that it was a group message they were receiving and to please take that into consideration if they decided to respond. One drawback of using the iPhone is the inability to insert music with my messages. In the past, I would always have a song/music accompanying the picture and text. It really added a lot to the overall message but unfortunately that option is no longer available.

I know many of you right now are wondering if I am going to include any past holiday message examples in this post. I am not. Again, these messages are reserved exclusively for my dear friends and family through their mobile devices. If you would like to see an example of one or if you would like to get on the list for future holiday messages, please text me to apply.

In closing, are there any other reasons why I continue to do these messages besides the fact that I hate the generic ones that people send out? The answer is yes. Believe it or not, many of my contacts who receive these messages actually enjoy seeing me make a fool out of myself. Many say that each holiday they anxiously await my special message…I am not making this up. Some say that it helps make their holiday. Others say they take it and immediately forward it on to their friends and family. As long as I can continue to add a little more joy to someone else’s holiday, I will continue to keep producing these messages. Don’t Blink.

The Holiday Season

Although I would prefer to have summer year-round, my second most preferred time of the calendar year starts tomorrow and stretches through the first day of 2013. I am talking about the fast paced, joyful holiday season starting with Thanksgiving week and running through New Year’s.

Let me just start by telling everyone to wake up tomorrow feeling rejuvenated and excited! We are entering a fun time of festivities, celebrations, days off, family, good food, and terrific sporting events. So hold onto your seats, get some discipline, and get your holiday game face on because it is time to get rolling!

Tomorrow is the start of Thanksgiving week. The work/school week goes by in a flash as many people just have to work Monday through Wednesday (including yours truly this year). The anticipation and excitement of seeing family and having a few days off is enough to put almost anyone in a good mood through the brief three days. After clocking out on Wednesday, it is time for the Turkey Day holiday to begin. Many people, especially the younger crowd, take Thanksgiving Eve to have a good time both reuniting not just with family, but old friends, as many community bars have celebrations that bring lots of folks together. Then of course Thursday comes and it is Thanksgiving! Definitely a great day to just relax, watch football, and partake in a great feast. I love Thanksgiving because it is just so relaxing and chill. I love the aroma that fills up the house and the peace that engulfs me.

I love Thanksgiving and I love my mom!

Then, in a complete reversal from the low-key, stress-free day of Thanksgiving comes Black Friday. Although I shake my head at the shameless commercialization of the day after Thanksgiving, I do usually find myself going to the mall just to be a part of the craziness and to kind of laugh at the people who really do treat it as if it was the last day in the world to ever shop again. Although I like to be part of the mania, I can only take so much of it before I become bored and irritated…thus the reason why my brother and I always find ourselves in one of the mall’s bars watching football while the rest of the family shops.

After Black Friday comes the holiday weekend. Most people just take this Saturday and Sunday to chill out, watch more football, and eat leftovers. This year, I will leave Spokane on Saturday morning so I can return to Missoula early enough to prepare for the men’s basketball game we have that night and then to work it at 7 p.m. Kind of a nice mix….spend half the 4-day weekend in Spokane with family and then the other half in the Zoo working Grizzly basketball and hanging with friends.

Once the Thanksgiving weekend concludes, it is time to enjoy the Christmas season. From late November to December 23, it is truly a special time of the year. Christmas music, Christmas parties, Christmas treats, Christmas decorating, and plain old Christmas cheer dominate the several weeks leading up to the actual eve and day celebrations. During this time, my brother and I take our annual holiday trip to Las Vegas. Nothing beats seeing Sin City decked out for Christmas! If you have never experienced Las Vegas during this time of year, I recommend it. The weather is cooler, the crowds are not as big, and everyone is just more chill. But let’s keep moving on, I can save this for another blog post.

Everyone should go to Las Vegas during December.

After all the Christmas build up, it is finally time for the holiday itself! Christmas Eve and Christmas are two very special days. Many people count Christmas as their favorite day of the whole year. Family traditions make these days so special and fun. But besides the unique things that go on inside each individual household, it is comforting to just sit back and realize that the rest of the nation is celebrating the holiday as well. The country takes a chill pill and shuts down a little bit and everyone takes time to enjoy the very special and meaningful day. I leave work on December 23 and travel to Spokane to my parents’ house. After hanging out with my brother and our old friends on that night, we travel to Walla Walla, Washington, on the morning of Christmas Eve and spend that day and some of Christmas there with our extended family. We then travel back to Spokane and open gifts on Christmas night.

For me, Christmas is all about family.

Many people take the week between Christmas and New Year’s off….well at least all of my favorite sports talk radio hosts do! Personally, I work that week but I am still in holiday mode! Besides working the Post Christmas/Pre New Year’s week, I watch A LOT of football. All of the less prominent bowl games are played on these week nights but I love the match ups and watch anyway. Also, many shows air that countdown everything that happened in the past year. The year of 2012 has been HUGE and I can’t wait to see all the recaps and lists that will commemorate it. This in between week is just nice because people take it a little easier, knowing that it is still the holiday season and a good time to recover from Christmas and to gear up for one last hurrah.

Finally, it is time for the New Year’s Holiday. I don’t have a set routine that I do for NYE or for New Year’s Day but I always make sure to have a great time. I don’t think I have done the same thing for New Year’s Eve once over the past six years but I always make sure to spend it around people who are special to me. When it comes to New Year’s Day, I just got one word for you: FOOTBALL. I love watching all the college bowl games that day, especially the Rose Bowl game, my all-time favorite college football game! I also use it as a day to diagram in my head what my goals are for the new year and to just feel fortunate for what I got.

So I hope I got you excited for the holiday season. I mean it though, enjoy these upcoming weeks. The holidays are a great time to create memories, do special things for others, enjoy family and friends, and to patch up any rifts you might have with others. I know that many of my readers (including myself) are fortunate enough to have a place for the holidays with people who love and support them. Let’s not take this for granted! Starting tomorrow, make 2012 the best holiday season ever. Don’t Blink.