Sunday, November 28, 2010


I wasn't going to blog about Thanksgiving. Everyone else enjoys talking about their own experiences and while pleasant, many start to sound the same. Then I realized how different ours was compared to the experience of others. Okay, now I'm suckered in to sharing.

Thanksgiving is about family for both me and my husband. More than that it is about community and friends. In the past we've enjoyed having the usual Thanksgiving afternoon with my family. Then the next day or very late that night we host our own Thanksgiving with my husband's mom and brother where we invite all of our wayward friends who didn't get one earlier.

Some of them don't have family in town and can't afford to visit. Others worked that day and couldn't find anything but leftovers at home. Whatever the reason for their lack of turkey we loved gathering people around our table.

When a family offers this to someone who mentions that they are without family for the holiday, it is usually responded to with a very polite no. People don't want to barge into another person's traditions. They won't get that joke that your father keeps making in reference to holidays past. They don't know to stay away from the oyster dressing that somehow still gets made every year.

That's why ours is only about them and we let them know that this isn't us adding another chair to the table, this is about filling the empty plate that we've already made for them. I love it when people are brave enough to come even though they don't know us very well and have no clue who else will join. They get plenty of pie and always have a great time.

This year was a very abnormal Thanksgiving for us. My husband and I recently moved out east, away from family and friends for a chance at some new opportunities. We didn't have enough funds or time off from work to return for the holidays. This year we were the strange ones out with nowhere to go and so Thanksgiving was spent with just the two of us.

Of course we got those very kind family invites. But we wanted to try it alone. Both of us are rather private people who usually avoid large groups. This year, we got to see the holiday from a different perspective. It was interesting to have a Thanksgiving without everyone else. Both good and bad surprises awaited us.

No huge prep work went into the meal, it was mostly boxed just-add-water or canned. For turkey we picked up a preroasted piece from the grocery store. Surprisingly the meal was very good. Not homemade stuffing with fresh mashed potatoes good, but considering what we had to work with, it was really nice. We didn't have to worry about when it would be done or if everyone had shown up yet. A half an hour after we decided to eat, it was ready to go and it took only a few minutes to decide what to watch afterward.

We missed being with everyone and I can't remember ever having a bad Thanksgiving with family but it was also nice spend the holiday with just the two of us. We only did what we wanted to do, which excluded a lot of the traditions that we are used to.

Of course we missed everyone and although I'm not a huge sports fan it was odd not to hear it in the background.

This isn't a habit that we want to make. I miss the family Thanksgivings. I miss hosting our little 'Island of Misfit Toys' Thanksgiving for our friends. Sometimes though, it takes the absence of something to remind you how important it has always been! Maybe now I'll even appreciate the green bean casserole, though it isn't likely.

No matter how you spent it, I hope that you had a great Thanksgiving! What about that odd one out though? Can anyone else share their own strange stories about a Thanksgiving that wasn't quite like the others?


  1. When I lived in Baker, MT, I was in my early 20s and I had a lot of friends that were my age or slightly older. We were young, professionals before "yuppie" had been coined. Anyway, we had a tradition of celebrating the holidays together with each of us bringing a dish. I'm not sure what I thought my specialty was -- probably potato chips -- but I remember the young extension agent bringing hot cross buns and they were delicious. To this day, that's the only time I've eaten hot cross buns was at our holiday potlucks in Baker, MT. Good memories. Thanks for sharing yours.

  2. Steve-I was sure you must have went through a few fun Thanksgivings. Happy to hear that I'm not the only one who would think bringing the potato chips was my specialty. Thank God I'm not the one who cooks at our house!