This year was a bit different for me in terms of the holiday, as it was my first time celebrating Thanksgiving without my parents. In the past, my brother hasn’t come home due to living across the country or being with friends, but I have always spent the holiday with my parents. Before you whip out a tiny violin for me, let me point out that Thanksgiving is not a holiday my family balls out for (that’s Christmas). In fact, my family isn’t too big on holidays to begin with, due to our small family size. So for me, the highlight of the holidays is spending time with my immediate family, which is something I have come to cherish now that I have moved out and see less of my family.
In fact, awhile back I read this article that made me think and that I’d encourage you to read (and re-read). By the time you graduate from high school, you’ve used up 93% of your in-person parent time for life. That means from 18 until your parents pass, you will only have 7% of time left with them. Wait, are you serious?! I’m sure this differs for those who live at home during college, move back after graduation, or live next door to their parents. None the less, that’s a statistic that makes you want to put down your phone when you’re home for the holidays + maximize your time with your family. If you’re interested, here’s the full article: https://waitbutwhy.com/2015/12/the-tail-end.html.
Enough of my side talk, back to the main point here: my roommate and I decided that since we were home a month ago, it wouldn’t make sense to trek back to our respective hometowns for only a few short days. Luckily, my boyfriend’s family welcomed us with open arms to their 18 person Thanksgiving extravaganza. We spent almost 7 hours there and had such a blast, and it was cool getting to experience a big Thanksgiving in contrast to my usual intimate ones.
That being said, I found that there are a few ways to make a Thanksgiving away from home feel like you’re back in your childhood home:
- Offer to bring the dish that you associate with your family Thanksgiving. For me, that was cornbread. By offering to bring it, I was able to use the recipe my family uses as well, which was like brining a slice o home (literally) to the holiday table.
- Check in with your family on Turkey Day. I was able to FaceTime my parents as they were prepping the turkey and baking brussels sprouts, which transported me back to home - if only for a few minutes!
- Maintain holiday traditions even away from home. After a tough Turkey Day morning workout, I turned on the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade as soon as a I walked in the door. This was my favorite part of the day as child and I have distinct memories of watching the parade while drinking chocolate milk, getting excited every time there was a theatrical performance or when the Rockettes came on.
- Embrace new ways of doing the holiday. I realize that this will be the first of many Thanksgivings without my family, so while I maintained some traditions, I was open to new ways of doing it. One aspect of this year’s Thanksgiving I enjoyed was having randomly assigned seating, which was done by being given half of a card + finding the other half at the table. Then, under the plates were table topics, which provided fun and interesting stories all around the table during dinner. These were cool new traditions I would definitely incorporate into my own Thanksgiving when I eventually host (in like 15 years lol).
Thanksgiving was so much fun this year - one thing I enjoyed was having a larger number of people at the dinner which made for lots of people to get to know, fun conversation, and a high energy holiday. This made this Thanksgiving quite different from holiday’s past, but I appreciate both for their own unique aspects. I hope everyone had a fabulous holiday, whether you were with family, friends, or doing something totally different!