It’s official – the holiday season is here. Driving around Rocklin and Roseville this past weekend, it’s obvious the hustle and bustle of the holidays has began. Grocery shoppers were flocking to the meat section to purchase their Thanksgiving turkey, stores at the Galleria had “We’re open” signs, welcoming patrons to their shop after it was closed from the Galleria fire, and the streets were packed with people starting their Christmas shopping. This Thanksgiving will be full of many firsts for me. As I play host to a dozen people, I will be cooking my first Thanksgiving bird, baking my first apple pie and trying out some other new, festive recipes. I enjoy cooking, so I’m excited about these endeavors in the kitchen, but that doesn’t stop a little bit of nerves. I’ve heard horror stories of people who have dropped the turkey on the floor, of the family dog getting to the turkey before the guests, of the bird being too large for the oven and others. Luckily I’ve enlisted my mom’s help and am hoping for a near-flawless dinner. But not only is Thanksgiving a time to devour home-cooked food, it’s also a time to reflect on the good in one’s life. For the last few years, prior to Thanksgiving, my husband Alex and I meet up with friends for a weekend in Lake Tahoe. It’s our pre-Thanksgiving feast and it always gets me thinking about what I’m thankful for. This year, I have a lot to be thankful for – a supportive husband, my family and friends, and to have a job. One of the things I’m most thankful for is a close family. Although we’re spread across the state, I have managed to remain close to my parents and sister. For some, the holidays are a time they dread because of the drama and awkwardness some families face. But for me, I always look forward to the time I get to spend with my parents and sister. It’s not often we can all get together, so when we do, it’s extra special.