Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Can we talk about Thanksgiving?

I realize Thanksgiving is over two months away, but it's already on my mind. Over the last 3-4 years, my family has the tradition that we switch between my parents' house and our house for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Last year I hosted Christmas, which means this year I'm on Thanksgiving.

Let me see if I can make clear my feelings about Thanksgiving. It's not that I hate it, but I do not like it. I think my issues date back to the meal we had every year that I don't happen to enjoy. I enjoy turkey, but the stuffing recipe my grandmother followed year in and year out was not a favorite, and I don't even want to talk about her giblet gravy. Please, just don't even say giblet to me.

Thankfully, as I began having my shot at cooking one of the two big meals of the year, I began to branch out and try new things. Ham with a raspberry glaze...prime rib...cream cheese mashed potatoes...cranberry couscous -- you get the idea. I'm also lucky to have a genius bbq chef in the house, and he actually bbq's whatever meat is on the menu. Everything always comes out perfectly tender and juicy. Even the turkey, which I understand is not as easy to do. It's worth keeping him around just for that.

Changing the menu has helped, but it doesn't really solve the other half of my problem: I don't particularly enjoy spending most of my day preparing, cooking and cleaning up after a meal. The men watch football, and we have a long tedious day. (Hubby can't count the bbqing as "work" because he genuinely loves it.) What's fun about that? It's not much of a day off if you ask me. I know there are lots of people out there who love this yearly experience Hi Mom and that's great for them. I say do what you love! So why can't that apply to me?

Here's what I DO love:
Eating out at a nice buffet on Turkey day. Our family used to go up to the Presidio in San Francisco, have an amazing lunch, and then spend the afternoon all dressed up at Pier 39. (This was and still is my favorite store there. We never leave empty handed.) We've talked about seeing if this is an option again -- I know I would love it. This was actually something we did on the Thursday because our larger family would actually get together on Saturday. I never got out of the giblet nightmare. This was great for my brother and I -- as we got older, we could spend Thursday with our boyfriend or girlfriend's family, and never had to choose between one or the other.

Travelling somewhere new. How about a mini-vaca? One, two or three nights somewhere unique as a family -- preferably a cottage or house where we relax, take walks, read by the fire, play games, etc. I don't' know why, but we never do those things at home.

Would you out there, reading this blog, share with me your favorite Thanksgiving traditions? Even if you love the big family meal, what makes it special for you? And if you have any suggestions for a different way to spend the day, share those, too.


The Mom Jen said...

If T-Day ever falls in my lap then it will totally be Buffet or Dinner out night! We go to my brother's and eat each year, my dad cooks turkey and ham sometimes we bring soda and rolls. It's a big to-do for those hosting...I prefer Christmas Eve duties so we made a pact on it (i think). I would love to try something new and different, but it would end up just being the five of us, some are just traditionally-based.

Ranch Girl said...

T-day brings up bad feelings for me - my evil ex-SIL always complained to my face that I didn't do enough to help when we had our day at my mom's. So, even though she's an 'ex' SIL I still have those feelings come up every T-Day. I'd prefer to go to someone else's house (I don't love hosting this event). Ah, I could go on and on, but I'll spare you. I love the idea of a "day of thanks", but I'm not sure have a tradition I love (yet). Aren't ya sorry you asked?!

queen foodie said...

We enjoy Thanksgiving, but wouldn't be opposed to something different. We just love eating and watching football. Getting up at 5ish and putting in the turkey isn't fun, but the rest of the day is. If we could, we'd go to Tahoe for the holiday and do Thanksgiving there along with skiing...now that would be a fun "tradition". SIL and MIL seem to enjoy doing Christmas, which I actually don't enjoy doing so it seems to work out.

Ali said...

Thanksgiving around here is pretty traditional. Last year was the first time I ever hosted but my mom prepared half the food. I liked being able to take that burden off my mom's shoulders. She's never liked Thanksgiving because she always missed the parade on tv!

Jamey said...

I don't mind thanksgiving now that it usually just involves us. I can't say I ejoy hosting a big family event, which I did our first year married. I do like just hanging out at home and maybe this year we might try something other than turkey, but it usually is so cheap thta time of year it is too hard to pass up.

Sarah said...

Thanksgiving. Mmmm. There's so much I love. I love the cooking (it's the one morning I don't have to set an alarm)and the smells. I love the parade and the dog show. I love the pie. But I love that the next day I do the annual family cookie bake. All the Christmas cookies for the firemen and the mail lady and the neighbors. With my mom, my sister and now my daughters. Aprons and all. Wow. Is it here yet?

Rochelle said...

Ok - I can't read this post - the title is already giving me heart palpitations. My parents are coming to our state/house this year and I am giving myself extra stress by declaring that my life will be perfect by then. Lose weight, fill hole in wall on stairway, weed flower beds, train the dogs to have manners, train the kids to have manners, etc. etc. My quest for perfection is to avoid any and all criticism from my mother. "I'm just trying to help, dear". Ugh. Wow, we should start a Thanksgiving support group...

Merrie said...

Wow! Interesting all the feelings this day brings up!

Jen -- I'm with you - I'd rather host Christmas every year.

Ranch Girl -- Another reason for me not to love that ex SIL! I'd also like to find a tradition I love and do that.

B -- I'm so glad you like hosting! That works wonderfully for you and Jen. :)

Ali -- I'm glad your mom had a better day, and glad you enjoy celebrating it!

Jamey -- I like the low key-ness of your day.

Sarah -- the cookie baking sounds like fun! What a fantastic tradition! Enjoy!

Ro -- I like you just as you are, and she should, too. Don't wreck yourself trying to be too much. (I say this and then I do almost exactly this!)