If you know me well, you know that holidays really aren’t “our thing” in this house. Jim and I like holidays, sure, but we don’t decorate for any of them except for Hanukkah, and even so we do that one very minimally these days. We don’t make a big deal over the holidays regarding family gatherings; while we enjoy being with family on holidays if it happens to work out that way, we’ve always stressed that there is great enjoyment in appreciating any random day during the year when our family is all together. On those days there is the absence of perfection pressure and, frankly, we don’t need a nationally recognized holiday to appreciate being together. We’ve always told our sons that they will never be pressured to visit us on holidays; we’d rather avoid drama (and potentially, “competition” with the families of their significant others). We’re so laid back about holidays that it’s…weird.
More specifically, Thankgiving has always been an odd day in our family. We’ve got stories of extended family drama, hospital visits, and other such things that make us want to escape it all rather than abide by standard American traditions. Over the past bunch of years with just a couple of exceptions we’ve headed out to Texas de Brazil to have “meat on a stick” (family term) for Meatsgiving (another family term) instead of turkey and all the trimmings.
This year, in a time like nothing we’ve ever experienced, our Thanksgiving is also unprecedented. I’m fairly certain this is the first Thanksgiving Jim and I will spend totally alone in more than thirty years. We’ve always spent it with our kids and sometimes extended family, and before the kids were born we spent it with friends or our parents.
It’s an odd feeling, it being just the two of us today, but I don’t mind. Perhaps, in making it clear to our boys that we don’t enjoy holiday pressure and will never perpetuate that when it comes to them, we gave ourselves a gift as well. I’ve been watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. We’ve got Zoom calls scheduled with my parents and sister (who are just ten minutes away but celebrating over there) and our sons and their girlfriends. Later we’ll enjoy a turkey breast that Jim will cook on the grill. I’m making my Grandma’s onion rolls (that my mom makes today), along with my mother-in-law’s sweet potato casserole and pineapple cream cheese pie (with pecans only sprinkled on half, for me: Jim doesn’t like pecans!). We’ll eat dinner on my Grandma’s plates. We’ll probably watch “The Crown” and “The Amazing Race” like we do on any other night. It’s going to be a great day. We won’t be in the same room as everybody, but we’ll be together in spirit and thankful for all things including our health, especially this year.
I hope you and yours have a lovely day, however you’re spending it. I hope you make some new traditions in this non-traditional year like we are. If you’re celebrating away from family physically, make the effort to reach out and connect. If you have empty chairs at the table due to loss, especially if it’s the first time, go easy on yourself and be wrapped in the warmth of those who love you.
Stay safe, everyone! Happy Thanksgiving.