Reinventing Thanksgiving

A couple of weeks ago, my son and I got into it.

The bone of contention? Thanksgiving.

This has always been my favorite holiday of the year–a time to give thanks and spend time with your loved ones without all the glitz of Christmas and piety of Easter.

Thanksgiving is its own thing. An all-American own thing, celebrated (inconveniently) on a Thursday, causing all manner of air-traffic jams and making way for the most American of all things American–Black Friday!

But I digress.

Thanksgiving has always been special to my family. Not in small part because when we (my husband and I) first immigrated to this country, we spent it all alone, in a small corner booth at Denny’s. Just the two of us, with our neat slices of turkey and (what looked like seagull poop) gravy.

Feeling terribly sorry for myself (remember, I come from India where holidays are celebrated with all the energy and enthusiasm of a flash mob), I vowed to never again spend Thanksgiving by ourselves, and most certainly not in a rear booth at Denny’s!

So began the extravaganza that is Thanksgiving at my home.

The following year, I invited all my neighbors and coworkers to our home–pretty much anyone who didn’t have somewhere to go, was an honored guest at our house. I bought dishes and baked bread and cut cheesy turkey name places from construction paper. I had traditional Thanksgiving and Southern Thanksgiving and Martha Stewart Thanksgiving. I brined and fried and Turducked until the family groaned with bird.

This was MY Holiday, dammit!!! And I was going to do it My way.

Until, my son.

Affectionately known as “The Golden Child” in our household, this boy (man) is one of the most easy-going human beings on the planet. So imagine my surprise when he turned to me and asked, can I go out on Thanksgiving night?

No, I said, returning to whatever stack of papers I was grading at the time.

No really, he persisted, I’d really like to hang out with my friends on Thanksgiving.

Uh, no.

Mom, you’re not listening. I’m only here for a couple of days, and I’d really like to spend at least a little time with the bro’s (okay, so he didn’t actually say “bro’s” – that was just what I heard).

Wait, what? You’re going to go out on Thanksgiving? Like actually leave the house? With your bones and flesh and everything?

I guess so.


The Thanksgiving of yore no longer fits the shape of my family.

I felt bereft, betrayed. What do you mean you don’t want to spend Thanksgiving with us?!

There I was, again, holding on to what-used-to-be as it slowly glided past–like the carriages at the Haunted House in Disney land . . . Always moving . . . And you, trying clumsily to jump on and fasten yourself in . . . .

Time for a new ride.


So this is Thanksgiving 2.0. Where our children “stop by” for dinner on their way to the rest of their lives.

Not sure I’m ready.

But it’s here, so I’d better saddle up.

This year, then, we are going to do Thanksgiving a bit differently. For one, we have family visiting from out of town, so that should be fun, but we’re also going to be traveling around the local area and doing some sightseeing, so that should be fun. Or weird.

It is literally going to be weird not sitting around in my pajamas all day with a bloated belly, drifting in and out of sleep, wishing I hadn’t eaten quite so much for dinner.

It’s also going to be weird being out and about for the weekend–a time usually reserved for hanging out and getting ready for . . .

. . . You guessed it! Christmas!

Thanksgiving weekend is usually when we pull out all the lights and decorations and get to spiffing up the place for Christmas.

I’m not a fan of the lets-leave-the-lights-up-till-epiphany school of thought; I’m done with Christmas the minute the sun sets on Boxing Day.

Also, it’s fun to pull out the Christmas boxes and rummage through them, telling all the old stories, the remember-when’s.

But not this year.

This year we will cook and visit and eat. Then Thanksgiving will be done.

And, I suspect it will be so next year and the year after, until I pick up the courage to say,

Let’s go to Paris at the end of November!












Categories: Reflections

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2 replies

  1. Lovely! Really good one, from the heart. God bless

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