How Thanksgiving won me over.

by , under personal

I thought that since my posts this week have been a little short, and often a bit rushed, I’d try to put together something a little more thoughtful for today.

My family was never big on Thanksgiving. The highlight of the meal was never the turkey, but always on the side dishes and desserts. During the years our family was vegetarian, we basically just served sides and dessert. Thanksgiving was always an intimate thing, just the four of us.

Then I went off to college, and got a job at Disneyland. I know I’ve talked about how great working for Disneyland was- and it was, but there was a huge downside to the job. Disneyland is open 365 days a year, and unless you’ve worked there for decades, odds are good you’re going to have to work every single holiday. The first Thanksgiving I missed wasn’t such a big deal. I got to have leftovers at my future in-law’s house, and I’d had a Thanksgiving sandwich (openfaced turkey sandwich with cranberry sauce, gravy and mashed potatoes) with my dad the day before.

Suddenly a holiday I hadn’t regarded as important became important- just because it was something I was missing out on. (This wasn’t true for every holiday I had to work. It made me downright loathe New Year’s Eve, a holiday that I never really enjoyed to start off with. Our NYE parties are quiet, and usually involve lots of hors d’eorves. NOM)

After I left Disneyland, we drafted a formal holiday agreement with our families, so that nobody would get more holiday time than the other. We split the holidays. Thanksgiving with my family one year, Christmas with his. It’s worked out well.

Thanksgiving with my parents prior to food allergies meant either a small get together (two years ago, it was a small dinner at my parents with my grandma!) or a new experience (four years ago, we dined at a restaurant near Disneyland, having pumpkin ravioli and turkey). This year, the cards didn’t quite line up for dinner with my family, so I’m doing double holidays with TheBoy’s family this year (and spending the day with my parents on Sunday).

I’ve always loved cooking. Food, as I’ve mentioned before, is a way to spread love in my family- so making a big holiday meal is magic to me. There’s a poetry in trying to coordinate dishes, in making sure you offer something for everything- those dishes that they associate with the holiday. I’ll admit, my family is much more up to experimentation than my in-laws- two years back, we tried a different bread, stuffing and even a different yam recipe than usual. Which is fun, and that’s part of what I love about time with them. I love holiday meals with my in-laws because of the tradition. A long table filled with lots of people (their meal is for MIL’s family and FIL’s family) and lots of food.

Apparently you take the food is love philosophy and combine with with being cheated out of several Thanksgivings, and suddenly a holiday that didn’t mean much to me other than pecan pie became important.

As I do every year, I give thanks for my friends and family. Not just the people I know in the “real world”, but the people I’ve met through Facebook, Twitter and G+ – proof that you can make real connections in this digital world of ours, even with people who have completely different points of view (some of my best internet friends aren’t liberals!). Thank you for reading my blogs, and giving me support to keep writing. My life is crazy, but you keep me sane. Thank you all.

Day 24 of NaBloPoMo, haven’t missed an update yet!