Thanksgiving will be here tomorrow. Am I the only one who thinks this year just simply flew by? It seems like years ago that I was a college graduate, working as a long term substitute, and planning my very own wedding. Craziness. But here we are.
When most people think of Thanksgiving, , they think of being at Grandma’s, an aunt’s, or even having people over to their house. Smells of turkey, dressing, and pies filling the house. Sitting down at a huge table with lots of relatives and plates piled high with food. Lots of fun family time. Maybe you watch the football games. Maybe you just socialize. Maybe you go to stores at midnight as something fun to do. Whatever it is, there’s a tradition to it.
Well my family has its traditions, but Thanksgiving might be the most untraditional tradition I’ve heard of.
First of all, since before I was born, my parents and brother did Thanksgiving with my mom’s family. Even when I had arrived and before my parents divorced, we still did it with my mom’s side. In 24 years, I have NEVER spent Thanksgiving with my dad’s side. Ever. Thanksgiving is the only time during the year that we get to see everyone from my mom’s side unless there is a wedding or a funeral. And while I got to see a lot of them at our wedding in May, I was so busy and hanging out with friends and my new husband, that I didn’t get to see them as much as I wanted to. So I’m so very excited. And as I said in yesterday’s post, there are new babies to play with and cuddle.
I should also mention that my mother is the youngest of 7. Her oldest brother is 20 years older and she has a nephew that is older than her. I have a second cousin that is only a couple years younger than my mom and much more like an aunt than a cousin. Needless to say, we have a HUGE family. Probably 50-75 people, if not more. Which means no one has a house big enough for everyone.
So what do we do?
We rent out most of a floor of a hotel in my mom’s and her siblings’ hometown. We get the same suite every year that has plenty of room to set up food tables and it’s more of a potluck type meal. Everyone brings something and there are tons of snacks and desserts and delicious foods.
Even better? We don’t have traditional Thanksgiving food. Sure, someone brings some turkey, and usually there is some version of dressing and some sweet potato dish. My mom makes pumpkin pie, and beyond that, who knows! One aunt makes some delicious Italian beef. Someone usually brings a lasagna or a baked spaghetti dish. Pasta salads, casseroles, Texas potatoes, spicy queso dip, and just about anything and everything has made an appearance at one point or another over the years. The first time I brought Mr. A with me, he was so excited that there was lasagna. Ever since, he always asks if it will be there or not. I think he likes that it’s some different foods so he doesn’t get burnt out on the usual suspects.
And to add to the traditions, a lot of the cousins go to a movie that night, since our events usually don’t start till 4pm. This might not seem like a big deal, but when I was growing up, you had to be a certain age in order to go. It wasn’t for the kids and I couldn’t wait till I was old enough to go. And since I am 7 years younger than my brother, and he was one of the younger ones in the group, it took a long time to get to go. I probably went to my first one when I was 15 or 16. This tradition continues today, however, most of the cousins now have kids. A couple years ago they decided that some of the kids could go. And as expected, it was terrible. I mean, most of my cousins are in their 30s or 40s and seeing a kids movie and having to keep track of the kids was annoying. I was also irked because I had to wait 15 years to go. There was never an option of me going before then. But luckily, it went terribly and we’re back to no more kids.
Which means we pick movies that are usually at least PG-13 and the parents get to leave their kids with the grandparents and aunts for a while and get to relax. My husband also loves this tradition. He really likes my cousins and thinks this is such a great time. Except this year, I don’t get to go. I have a stupidly early shift on Friday at work, and I will need to get back so I can sleep before the work day from hell begins. But I can’t wait to go and to see everyone.
And no, I didn’t leave out Mr. A’s family. They do things a little untraditionally as well. Since so many of the aunts and uncles have grandkids and people have multiple families because of in-laws and such, they don’t do the holidays on the actual holiday. So their Thanksgiving is on Saturday. Luckily, I’m working the morning shift, so I can go and I should only be about 30 minutes late. And more new babies!!! Can you tell I’m excited about this? We’re then going to stay the night at my MIL’s house. I have to work again Sunday, but not until the afternoon, so he will get some time at home.
I hope you all enjoy this holiday season. What are you and your family doing? Are you a traditionalist or does turkey never touch your table? (I don’t even like turkey so I’d be okay with not having it. Blasphemous, I know.)