We haven’t even touched the leftovers of yesterday and I’m all ready canceling next year’s Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving, I’m over you! Totally! And due to this I think next year I will tell you to stuff your Turkey because I won’t be celebrating, or I’ll be celebrating in a totally non-traditional way that doesn’t involve me washing a single serving dish. Because even though I love the idea of a big, extended family sharing in the warmth and joy of each other — that’s just not what I have, and I am totally okay with it.
Growing up we had nice Thanksgivings. Sometimes. Sometimes we had Thanksgivings where no no one fought and holiday music was played and candles were lit and turkey was carved. But sometimes we had Thanksgivings where wine bottles were broken and doors were slammed and someone related to my mother may have attempted to smoke a baggie full of something they found in the freezer, which was actually catnip. I’m not going to bore you with my stories of my dysfunctional family, because some members are alive and they would probably kill me. And I truly believe my parents did the best they could at whatever stage they were in their life. My mother especially.
But yeah, a lot of us have messed up families and sometimes even the best of times could be the worst of times and that’s okay. Due to many different circumstances, my family, meaning me, my husband, and the children we gave birth to, usually celebrate alone. And every year I try and Norman Rockwell-ize the shit out of the holiday. We’ve had lovely Thanksgivings, my little family, but I think I’m done. At least until I have grandchildren.
Even though we purchased the majority of our food from the local foofoo market and everyone did the washing up, it was still a lot of work. I’m terrible at calculating how much food we need, and even though leftovers will get eaten I’m sure a lot of food is going to go to waste. We just don’t like leftovers that much. Tomorrow I’ll be throwing out a bunch of stuff simply because no one is going to eat it. And then I’ll feel amazingly guilty because so many people in this country don’t have enough to eat. Thanksgiving guilt, I can so do without you.
The highlight of our holiday was playing a new board game where you have to answer random questions based on what you feel the best answer would be. When my daughter was asked “What would be the two worst candy bar ingredients?” and she answered “Deer and tires” that was pretty much the best part of Thanksgiving. We can totally have board games as part of our holiday no matter where we celebrate it. The only other highlight was feeding the dog turkey scraps, because he acted like he had won the dog lottery and because we rarely feed him people food, I’m sure in his little dog heart he was truly thankful. It’s lovely to spend time with the kids playing games and eating and spoiling the dog, but it’s a far cry from a house full of people who all are related to each other sharing stories of past holidays and helping with the preparation and everything else I always wanted.
I think a lot of us try and work through our own personal childhood voodoo by creating the holidays we never had growing up for our own children. But I also think there comes a time when a lot of us realize that we will never have what we have seen in other families, whether it be our friends or whatever simpy holiday movie is playing on The Hallmark Channel. And sometimes it’s too much. And sometimes it’s too sad. And sometimes even though we can be thankful for what we have and grateful for our family and our health and all of our other blessings, a traditional holiday just ends up being a big reminder of everything that we are missing. Especially people.
I’m not sure what we will do next year but I have all ready decided to cancel Thanksgiving. I don’t know whether we will be volunteering somewhere or I’ll be lying on a secluded beach, drinking a cranberry margarita with my husband while we watch our kids play in the surf, but I do know that I’m ready to give up on trying to recreate a holiday that I know we will never have.
I know I have given my kids memories of Thanksgivings that they will cherish when they are older, but I think it’s time I give them some different traditions. I don’t know why I’ve spent so many years trying to art-direct this holiday into whatever I felt was missing from my own personal history, and as lovely as our Thanksgivings have been, and as much as I love spending time with my family, preparing a huge meal and setting out the good china is just something I’m ready to give up on. I think I’ll start my new tradition by sitting down with everyone today and making our plan for next year. All I know is as long as my family is with me and I don’t have to deal with a refrigerator full of plastic containers holding coagulating gravy, we will be happy whatever we do next Thanksgiving.