Thanksgiving eve open thread

Are you having a holiday meltdown?

Are you currently two hours into a three-day car ride?

Do your parents expect you to sleep tonight in your childhood bedroom, which still has a twin bed, a Snoopy comforter, and a Marky Mark poster on the wall, plus your dad’s enormous elliptical machine that now takes up most of the floor space?

Are you dreading encountering your uncle and his offensive political beliefs?

Do you worry you may commit a crime against a relative? Have you already committed a crime?

Share your holiday angst (or your holiday joy) in this special Thanksgiving eve non-work open thread.

Posted in Uncategorized

{ 638 comments… read them below or add one }

  1. ThatGirl*

    My inlaws moved out of state two years ago so we’re driving a few hours to a friend’s, actually her brother is hosting and it’ll be mostly her family. I don’t know what to expect besides lots of food and lots of booze, but I’ll keep a wine glass in hand and play with the dogs for distraction.

    Good luck to all of you avoiding crazy uncles. Grateful mine lives across the country so I mostly avoid his homophobic and anti Semitic rants.

    Reply
  2. Christy*

    Blessedly I don’t have to travel but I do have to cook two things tonight, ugh. (My wife is the cook.)

    But I did have a very productive afternoon! I installed our new bookcases FINALLY. The shelves are still raw wood but at least they’re up right now!

    Tip for intolerable family—just make different plans next year! We stopped going to my mom’s family after the 2016 election. We go to a friend’s house now and it’s THE BEST. There’s zero loathsome politics, the food is better, and I still bring the sauerkraut and kielbasa that makes it feel like thanksgiving. You don’t have to subject yourself to shitty people (unless you’re economically dependent on them, I guess).

    Reply
    1. A tester, not a developer*

      Gotta be honest – I had never considered kielbasa and sauerkraut things that make a meal feel like Thanksgiving. Apologies if it’s a dumb question but do you serve them as sides with the turkey? Appetizers? Have kielbasa instead of turkey? (I could totally get behind that!).

      Reply
      1. Raised by Poles*

        Late to this, but it would be a side at a Polish-American or other Eastern European Thanksgiving. A turkey would still be a side.

        Reply
  3. Amber Rose*

    Oooh, Happy Thanksgiving Americans! My Thanksgiving was in October so this weekend is a normal one.

    This is your friendly, gentle reminder that “but faaamily” is a crappy reason to make yourself miserable, and you are absolutely able and allowed to say No and set boundaries with blood relations, or with the blood relations of spouses, or with those people’s various spouses and significant others.

    You have Internet Stranger permission, the best kind.

    Hugs to you all. <3

    Reply
    1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

      Hear, hear to the shunning of the “but faaaamily” idea.

      I have casually disowned people who share a family tree with me since I was a young child.

      You hit my mom? Bye.
      You are homophobic? Bye.
      You are racist? Triple Bye.
      You’re rude to my brother because he dared to be born? Get out and stay out.
      You don’t like me because I like those “people” you hate for no real reason? Feeling is mutual, why do you think I blocked you on Facebook? Byebyebye!

      Yeah…we have a really small circle now but it’s blissful and we don’t have any dead weight hanging out being a negative bunch of jerkwads dragging us down with them.

      Reply
    2. General von Klinkerhoffen*

      +1 ladleful of internet stranger endorsement.

      If someone pulls the faaaaaamily card, they’re proving themselves unworthy of your consideration in their own right and therefore you can choose not to give it.

      Reply
    3. Fikly*

      Yeah, I have never bought into the being related is permission/makes it acceptable to treat someone worse than you would treat someone you are not related to.

      That pissed my parents off. Now I no longer speak to them, and am much happier.

      Reply
    4. Elenna*

      This.

      Also if going full shunning is yoo much, you have Internet Stranger permission to go for a walk or to a hotel or basically anywhere that is Elsewhere so you can take a breather for a bit.

      Reply
  4. Princess Deviant*

    Happy thanksgiving to all those who are celebrating it :)

    I just wanted to say – I have been swimming today, got yoga tomorrow, am volunteering at a donkey sanctuary on Saturday, and visiting a choir on Monday!

    I’m feeling much better. Thanks to everyone who have me advice and encouragement, not to mention ideas!

    Reply
    1. Iron Chef Boyardee*

      A donkey sanctuary? Who knew there was such a thing? Well, I didn’t, anyway.

      Sounds like the ideal place to channel your inner Gordon Ramsay. :-D

      Reply
    2. Princess Deviant*

      ha, I’ll come back and tell you more about the donkey sanctuary (there are some rescue horses too), but I suspect it’s mostly mucking out stables and refilling hay bales and water troughs, rather than petting and grooming the animals :)
      It was that or volunteering at a cat shelter, where I knew I’d just end up bringing cats home every week! Can’t really do that with a donkey.

      Reply
      1. WonderingHowIGotIntoThis*

        Can’t really do that with a donkey Then you’re just not thinking big enough! :-D :-D
        I’M KIDDING!!! Please don’t take home a donkey!

        (In all seriousness, I’m sure you’ll find it theraputic and/or soul-cleansing (whatever is your preferred wording). There’s a donkey sanctuary near where I live and it’s the most amazing place (staff are a bit weird, but the animals really raise your spirits))

        Reply
        1. General von Klinkerhoffen*

          Yeah, my grandparents ended up with two rescue donkeys, and they’re firmly on my lottery win shopping list. Best, best, best.

          They do need a reasonable amount of brushing. Fingers crossed that’s involved!

          Reply
    3. RecentAAMfan*

      Now I know there are actually (at least) 2 donkey sanctuaries! Cuz the is (or at least WAS when my kids were little) one here in Ontario. Go figure.

      Reply
  5. yeine*

    GOT OUT OF SEEING FAMILY FOR THANKSGIVING *AND* NEW YEARS THIS YEAR. Horray! (I went for Rosh Hashanah this year). Free to hang out with the friends and not have weird judgemental family asking me 1) if i have kids yet 2) if i have a boyfriend yet 3) if i am a lesbian yet. Almost always in that order!

    Reply
    1. Mid*

      But, do you have kids yet? A boyfriend?

      (Sorry! I jest! I still remember the reaction when I showed my new pixie cut off at Christmas all those years ago. My grandmother asked “Are you one of those lesbians now??” It’s funny in hindsight, but 16 year old me about died on the spot.)

      Reply
      1. Ali G*

        While no one ever said anything directly to me, I remember the “is Ali G a lesbian” years. I was approaching 30, single, working in a quasi-blue collar male dominated field, had a dog in agility trials, and my gawd who knows what else. I had to take a day off to move (I was moving into a condo where you had to reserve a move in time on a weekday), and my boss said “we have to find you a man, you shouldn’t have to move yourself” and this was a woman.
        I’ve been through all of it too and it sucks.

        Reply
        1. yeine*

          i’m just sort of generically annoyed by the press to coupledom on all ends. just recently a friend of a friend who was in my city to be with her partner was complaining about how she had to be in this city because of her partner! and then she was like “you should get a partner! you’re super eligible! men would be into you!”

          i was thinking “wait.. you want me to find someone… who… i should then move to a city i hate for… like you?” although i restrained myself.

          Reply
          1. sunshyne84*

            My cousin did this to me. Apparently painting is for lonely people. But staying with your aunt across the country for a month because your husband is being unbearable is something to aspire to.

            Reply
        2. Yeah yeah yeah*

          I’ve been through it as well. When I let my parents know I was getting married years ago, they let me know that they spent the money that they were saving for my wedding on vacations years ago because they thought I was a lesbian. I am reluctant to ask why they saved for a wedding and not college.

          Reply
          1. Elenna*

            High zero to you too! (since pansexual =/= lesbian, although i doubt the people asking about kids, etc actually know what the word “pansexual” means…)

            Reply
  6. Chilly Willie*

    Just went to a family wedding that was outdoors with weather in the 40s. We weren’t told it would be outdoors, so no one was dressed properly. We were asked to arrive 3 1/2 hours early for the rehearsal, which took about 15 minutes. There was also a one-hour wait, also outside, before we could get in to the reception. The appetizers ran out halfway through the line. I could go on, but I’m still trying to get my core temperature back up!

    Reply
    1. General von Klinkerhoffen*

      Ugh. I hope you stopped for burritos or similar on the way home. Honestly, what most people remember of a wedding is if the couple looked happy, was there enough to eat, and could they get a seat in comfort. Bare minimum. So what if it looks lovely on Instagram?

      Reply
      1. Kuddel Daddeldu*

        A friend of mine was invited to dinner with the Queen (of England).
        Went to McDonald’s afterwards, in a tuxedo, as he was starving…
        Turns out that guests were seated and served in pecking order, and when the food arrived, the Queen was already mostly done withthe course – and once she puts her fork down, it is just not done to continue eating.

        Reply
      1. My Dear Wormwood*

        The thing that finally led to me cracking it and throwing all my high heels away was a wedding that was surprise-outside, on sandy soil, with seats for grandmas only. I was wearing stilettos. We were all barefoot by the end of the vows.

        Reply
    2. Junior Assistant Peon*

      That’s a huge pet peeve of mine about weddings, when they schedule way too much dead time between the ceremony and the reception.

      Reply
      1. Chocolate Teapot*

        Oh yes, and if the wedding was at 12.00/13.00/14.00, then there’s no chance of lunch and if there is a long wait for the photos and nothing to eat in the meantime.

        Once I was invited to a wedding some distance away (in the UK) and it turned out I had been invited to attend the church service, but not the reception, only the later evening party. I ended up pretending to have transport issues.

        Reply
      2. Miso*

        I was at two weddings where almost all the guests were not from that city, so they had booked a sightseeing tour of the city. That was really cool and a nice way to bridge the time.

        Reply
      3. Delta Delta*

        Being mindful of this, when we planned our wedding we did a couple things. We had the wedding and reception in the same place (in a museum) so nobody had to travel from place to place. We had the bar open before the ceremony, and then immediately had appetizers, etc available right afterward. We still had time to take some photos, but everybody was fed and happy.

        Reply
      4. M. Albertine*

        We still get compliments on our reception 8 years later. 1) The buffet was open as soon as people arrived at the reception venue (really, the wedding party does not have to eat first) and 2) the music volume was set low enough that people could easily talk/hear over it.

        Reply
  7. Sergeant Fixalot*

    Knives Out is in theatres where I am now, so I am going to see a murder mystery centred around a huge family. How appropo for Thanksgiving XD

    Reply
    1. CAA*

      We are going Friday, can’t wait! As soon as I saw the preview before the Downton Abbey Movie, I knew I had to see it. I adore house party mysteries, and I would also go see any movie about anything if it has Christopher Plummer, Jamie Lee Curtis and Daniel Craig in the cast, so I feel like someone was reading my mind when they made this movie.

      Reply
      1. Merci Dee*

        I’m thrilled about seeing a new movie with Toni Collete. She’s an amazing actress, and my two favorite movies of hers are “Muriel’s Wedding” and “The Sixth Sense”. Kind of like opposites on the acting spectrum, as far as what the roles required, but I think they’re excellent examples of her versatility when taken together.

        And Chris Evans! I feel like I’m going to spend at least a few minutes saying to myself, “when did Cap turn into a jerk?” At least, his character looks kind of jerky in the previews. :)

        Reply
    2. Still Looking (Maybe)*

      I so want to see that! I have a little one at home so if I can get through the weekend without having to see Frozen II I’ll count it as a win even if I don’t see a movie I want to.

      Reply
      1. Seeking Second Childhood*

        Frozen ii has one really cool thing about title — Disney got together with Sami people and officially hired advisors&consultants to keep their depictions authentic & appropriate. One small step for a man? Nope…the movie project was led by a woman.

        Reply
    3. Sparkly Librarian*

      Oh! This explains the Martha Stewart video clip I saw in my feed. (I had seen the trailer, but forgotten the title of that movie.) She stabs a turkey repeatedly with “Knives Out knives”.

      Reply
    4. Nicki Name*

      I’m hoping to see that sometime in the next few days. Would have gone today, but I have a holiday cold. :( No spoilers, okay?

      Reply
  8. Coffee Owlccountant*

    Living in Chicagoland means I’m about to attempt a 2 hour car drive to go about 8 miles, my favorite!

    Reply
      1. Zircon*

        I love my audio books!!! Really decreases the likelihood of me developing road rage and / or getting more and more upset during the trip and then having whoever is trying to welcome me into their home bear the brunt of my displeasure at the poor driving skills of the general population.

        Reply
        1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

          I love long drives but I don’t love being stuck in traffic. There’s so much difference.

          I can drive to see my parents in about 4hrs give or take on a regular weekend. But if it stretches to 6 or 7 with traffic, I’m getting super cranky.

          Audiobooks have been my jam since childhood. I used to rent the cassettes at the library as a kid, pop them in the stereo and play Tetras for days, LOL.

          Reply
  9. Rebecca*

    I’m in the middle of unearthing Christmas decorations from the storage areas upstairs, and planning to do some decorating, even though Mom isn’t keen on the idea. I can still decorate upstairs where I stay! Love the “are you staying in your childhood room” question – yes and this is weird! I’ve been here for over a year now. This week, I found pyschedelic wrapping paper, still in the original packaging, over a dozen window candles, and – those miserable outside lights where if one light is out, they’re all out! OMG Dad and I battled with them when I was a kid, I cannot believe they’re still here.

    For tomorrow, my daughter and her husband will be here, with their dog, and we’re having all the traditional stuff, and we’re going to feast pretty much all afternoon and evening. I’m really looking forward to it!!

    Reply
    1. Nervous Nellie*

      Happy Thanksgiving to you, Rebecca! Enjoy your decorating and feasting! So glad that you have nice plans. I am doing Friendsgiving, and just can’t wait. They are my Chosen Family. So grateful! And window candles! Thank you for the mention. I have a box of those around here somewhere…..

      Reply
      1. Rebecca*

        I found some spare bulbs for the lights, too – the old fashioned blue, red, green, and white ones!! Someone told me a store in town still sells them. My goal is to decorate something with them, at least one more time, and it would be awesome if I could use the original bulbs :) And not cause a fire…ummm…but hey, they’ll be outside and away from the house!

        I found my Dad’s hockey skates, too, and my radio flyer dangerous metal runner sled, so I looked up some ideas online to make a porch decoration. Lots to do!!

        Reply
    2. londonedit*

      Hope you have a lovely day today, Rebecca.

      My parents have moved twice since I left home, but I still have a bedroom at their current house! And it still has a few relics from my childhood, mainly some special books and a few soft toys.

      Reply
  10. WellRed*

    Well that’s one for the ages. Once your teeth stop chattering, all you can do is laugh. Question: were they serving only appetizers?

    Reply
    1. Chilly Willie*

      No, there was a nice dinner after that. But from 11:30 til about 4:15, we had nothing to eat or drink available, not even water. It was very strange.

      Reply
  11. The Man, Becky Lynch*

    My father took over my childhood bedroom, due to health complications my folks sleep in separate rooms. And so I get to sleep with my mother like a small child.

    Our family hasn’t celebrated a “family” Thanksgiving since my father’s mother died back in like 1995? So it’s always just my parents and my brother. My partner goes to his much larger family’s gathering, we typically just spend the day texting each other so he doesn’t come unhinged at his awful extended family. He feels obligated, I keep trying to lure him away and just come hangout, I’ll even share the deviled eggs I con my mother into making every year.

    We used to go to Thanksgiving at my dad’s parents house every year as a kid. It ruined the holidays in general, Christmas too because they’re awful creatures. Bigots. Loud. Bigots. I would grind my teeth all night long after visiting them and have night terrors. So…yeah. I’m happy in our weird universe where Thanksgiving is seriously no big deal and my family isn’t a bunch of horrible boors that I’m forced to deal with even one day a year because “family”!

    Reply
  12. RMNPgirl*

    It’s been so crazy at work, that I am only going home to my parents for two days. I will literally be there a day and a half. It’ll be good because I love going home and we have a great relationship, I just wish it could be longer. This will be the first time in 6 or 7 years that my mom is cooking our Thanksgiving meal so I’m really looking forward to that! Hoping everyone else has a good holiday, or if you don’t celebrate or aren’t American have a good Thursday!

    Reply
  13. AdAgencyChick*

    Actual Thanksgiving is great. My family is so huge that there’s no such thing as awkward table conversation. You just grab a seat on the floor near the people you like and eat turkey.

    Right now is painful though. I wish my parents would get divorced instead of staying married out of guilt, but it’s never going to happen. So here I am in a tiny apartment with two married people who won’t talk to each other. :/

    Reply
    1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

      My heart hurts that there are those couples that are too stubborn to get a divorce even though it’s turned into that.

      Something may happen to make one of them finally go through with it but I know that feeling of “Yeah it’s never going to happen.”

      My dad’s family is all pushing 70, one of our cousins just got a divorce after like 40 years of marriage. They were so miserable for so long. My dad’s response was “I’ve been telling you for how long to do that?!”

      Reply
      1. Artemesia*

        About 10 years ago my daughter’s inlaws, my brother and one of my BILs all divorced after 40 plus years of marriage — as far as I can tell they are all much happier now and so probably should have done it sooner. But in all three cases it was not obvious to outsiders that it was coming and in one case totally surprising to all including the wife involved who is still hysterically hostile whenever his name comes up even after 10 years and both spouses remarrying.

        Just finished pumpkin pies with my granddaughter this morning. Usually my pumpkin pies are fabulous — but this year we blind baked the crusts and left them in to long and so to prevent burning put foil on the edges before baking the custard and then pulled it off when we took them out of the oven. hoping they will taste good, but they look like a battlefield. Whipped cream will be added in the kitchen before they are served. And while ugly at least they won’t have a soggy uncooked bottom as so often happens with pumpkin pies baked in raw shells.

        Reply
    2. zoom zoom*

      *fistbump of solidarity* I got parents like that, too. They stayed together to more effectively damage the children. And they still didn’t divorce even after the last kid moved out, nope, gotta wring the last bit of suffering out of the adult children for as long as possible.

      Reply
    3. Ann Onny Muss*

      God, yes. This is my parents. They should’ve divorced decades ago, but they’re still together because they’re in their comfort zone/rut. And you ain’t getting them out of it. It doesn’t help that my dad hates the holidays for reasons unknown, and turns into a pre-ghost visit Scrooge from Halloween til about mid-January. I’m telling my mom we’re doing a day trip somewhere next year and Mr. Bah Humbug can stay home.

      Reply
    4. The Cosmic Avenger*

      Don’t give up hope! My parents had been married for almost 35 years when they FINALLY got divorced! I had asked them why they didn’t when I was in high school, because it was that obvious, and they didn’t really have an answer.

      Reply
      1. VlookupsAreMyLife*

        Ditto! Mine finally did it after 38 years & they actually get along & are much kinder to one another now. Religion played a HUGE role in the delay, but I’d been rooting for them to split since I was in junior high.

        Reply
  14. Amethyst*

    Gearing up to go over to my friends’ house for Thanksgiving tomorrow. They’ve requested my chocolate chip cookies, so the dough is thawing on my counter. It’ll be a low-key day of food & games (board & electronic). I’m looking forward to it.

    Simultaneously, it’s been making me pretty sad that my family is so fractured (I’m the black sheep; one sister isn’t “safe”. I’m estranged from our mother. Both sisters are estranged from our father.) that it’s not like I can just invite myself over to eat at their table. It’s sad, & this year particularly, I’m wishing my family was healthy so we could do that. Not sure why it’s bugging me more this year; it’s been ages since I’ve shared a table at a holiday meal with them & it’s never bugged me like this before. Ah well.

    I hope everyone’s feasts are as gluttonous as they want it to be! :)

    Reply
    1. Diahann Carroll*

      I hope everyone’s feasts are as gluttonous as they want it to be! :)

      Oh, my mom and I are totally going to be gluttonous tomorrow – I ordered $82 worth of Chinese takeout (no one wants to cook and mom is moving next weekend, so all her dishes are packed away in boxes), and I expect to be in a food coma all evening. It’s wonderful. I also made a delicious pumpkin pie for dessert (mom’s not a pumpkin fan), so I’ll be eating that whole thing myself as well, lol.

      I’m sorry you’re feeling down about not being able to spend your Thanksgiving with your family – that’s rough. But, hopefully, you’ll have a great time with your chosen family instead.

      Reply
    2. Lkr209*

      Hey there. I’m so sorry you’re feeling so down about this. I’m so glad you have a place to spend Thanksgiving this year. Perhaps you could extend an invite to your sisters for next year. I hope you feel nothing but peace tomorrow. Much love from Virginia.

      Reply
  15. LisaWorks*

    Am I a jerk for being irritated. My in laws like to travel 3 hours to their second home for Thanksgiving and they want the whole family to drive out 3 hours to stay with them. We all live in the same city, so it would be easier to get together in our hometown.
    This year I told them that I can’t go bc I’m working, so they turned to my husband and said that he better come. (They do their Thanksgiving Fri/Sat). It was insanely irritating to hear that and it took all I had to tell them to stop being selfish and just stay in town if they want to see their family instead of forcing everyone to spend 6hrs in traffic (3hrs each way).
    Somebody please tell me if I’m being an a**hat about this. My perspective is off.

    Reply
    1. Mid*

      Nah, it’s irritating, but also, I can understand why they’d want people to go to the out of town home. I’m guessing it’s better set up for hosting events, and it’s probably nice to get away. But I’m also from the rural Midwest, where 3 hours each way is an easy day trip, and I regularly drive 14+ hours to visit my hometown, so my perspective on “reasonable expectations to travel” are probably off.

      Can you offer to host next year?

      Reply
    2. AnotherLibrarian*

      I think Mid has a point. If the house out of town is better for hosting, I can see why they may want people to gather there. If you’re not willing to host, than it is hard to put expectations on the people who are willing. However, not wanting to drive for 3 hours is also totally valid and legit. So, I don’t think you’re being unreasonable, or they are being unreasonable, I do think there’s probably a compromise somewhere in here. However, trying to play your husband off you like that- super uncool.

      Reply
    3. The Man, Becky Lynch*

      They’re being selfish, you’re not wrong for being annoyed by the whole thing.

      I get it, they like to do it that way for their reasons. That’s cool. But you have to think of others comfort when you’re hosting an event. It’s not about you, it’s about the whole group.

      It’s cool to suggest things or to do things and accept that not everyone can come along. But that “You better come tho!” stuff targeted at your spouse is unacceptable. Stop guilt tripping your grown ass kids.

      Reply
    4. WellRed*

      Not a jerk. I suppose technically the vacay house could be better suited except it requires everyone to drive three hours. So no, it’s not better suited. Good for you for saying hell no!

      Reply
    5. True*

      Your in laws are the asshats! That’s crazy! Why don’t you invite them to your house? Then they will have to stay in town.

      Reply
    6. Batgirl*

      Can you say “I don’t want to drive for six hours but thanks” and see what they say? Some people love to get away and it may not have occurred to them that it’s your main objection.

      Reply
    7. TimeTravlR*

      I think anytime parents insist that their adult children do the holidays only their way is wrong. I love spending time with my grown kids, but they have lives outside of ours and we accept that. I always tell them that if I don’t see them at the holidays, I will see them another time. Why add to their stress by insisting they travel or come to see me just because it’s a certain day on the calendar??

      Reply
    8. Not So NewReader*

      A destination Thanksgiving. How festive. Because all that food and forced frivolity is not enough work, hey, let’s pick this whole shindig up and transplant it three hours away from here. It will be so much fun when we figure out that we forgot the turkey and the silverware.

      “Well, if you are going to be in town next year, be sure to let me know and I will come. Thanks for the invite anyway.”

      “He better come.” We used to call this the Command Performance. “You will dress in appropriate attire, you will arrive at the exact time you are told to arrive blah, blah, blah…” Some how I was always a half hour late and I accidentally wore jeans and a sweatshirt. After 15 years of this they adjusted.

      Reply
      1. pancakes*

        I’d love a destination Thanksgiving if it was on the ocean or in the mountains. I’ve occasionally had my own destination Christmas with my boyfriend, renting a cabin upstate from where we live. Some people like to get away. It’s not a problem unless and until they start demanding that people who don’t want to get away join them.

        Reply
  16. Mid*

    Fun game idea: Bigot Bingo
    Make a bingo card with commonly used phrases in your family (e.g. “Those People” said in that special tone, “Back where they came from,” “ruining this country,” and “Christian Nation” are always on mine.) First one to Bingo wins, last one buys the rest of the group a drink.

    Reply
    1. Rebecca*

      “Those People” – OMG that’s my mother!! She’s all about the mysterious “they” too.

      I’m not looking forward to eating this meal with my mother. I’m going to enforce a politics free zone at the table. I’m good with it, and so are my daughter and son in law, but my mother mainlines Fox News and rambles on about how “they” are ruining the country, those liberals and their socialist ideas, none of us will have health insurance if “they” give health care to everyone, it goes on. and on. and on. Once she said it was raining so much here in PA because the Chinese were controlling the weather. I warned her not to express that opinion to others.

      Reply
  17. C*

    I came home early today and my cat is so excited, just wait until he finds out I am chilling with him until Monday. I traveled last year and I am so glad to not do it this year.

    Reply
      1. Mid*

        Not the OP, but I did! She’s getting a sweater which she’ll hate, and some snacks which she’ll love. And of course, tissue paper to destroy.

        Reply
      2. The Man, Becky Lynch*

        My cat has a stocking.

        But I don’t buy him presents because he’s a trash-cat. He only likes trash.

        When I got him, I went all out. He was unimpressed. So he has a stocking. With his name on it. Where I stuff trash-gifts for him. Bottle caps and the tear tabs off the deli containers [his absolute favorite], etc for the month or two leading up to Christmas.

        Reply
      3. Ann Onny Muss*

        My cats are getting a new cat tree, since it was on sale. They actually like their trees, so I think they’ll use this one.

        Reply
        1. Miki*

          Anny, care to share a link for the cat tree? I’ve got a cat (8 month old Smokey, the Jerk) and I think she’d like a new tree as well.

          Reply
          1. Ann Onny Muss*

            It’s at Big R Online (dot) com. HOWEVER: it’s in-store pickup only, so make sure you have one where you live. I haven’t checked out other places, but Chewy probably has them on sale too.

            Reply
          2. Cheesecake Chick*

            AMAZON.
            got a great tall cat tree for such a reasonable price!! I just had to put it together when it arrived (no big deal)

            Reply
      4. All Hail Queen Sally*

        Years ago I was living in a different country where pets are not a priority. On a trip back to the US, I went to a pet store and bought lots of cat toys and mailed it back. When I got back overseas, I opened the box and showed her all the toys. She was not impressed. Then she walked over to the box where she ripped off a piece of tape and played with it for 45 minutes.

        Reply
      5. C*

        @Lena Clare- I do! He is weirdly destructive for a cat so we keep a regular supply going for him and occasionally throw a dog toy in there too because they are harder to destroy.

        Reply
      6. An Elephant Never Baguettes*

        We get them the present of wrapping paper every Christmas! All the wrapping paper is put in a biiiiig pile and then we just let the cats go to town on it for the next couple of days, re-piling every once in a while. It’s hilarious. This year we have a new kitten so I expect full on chaos.

        Reply
    1. Miss Pantalones en Fuego*

      Normal day in the UK but I decided to honour the holiday, my homeland, and my birthday by making two large pumpkin pies to take to work tomorrow. I am not sure they have actually cooked properly as I managed to put the oven on the wrong setting and didn’t notice until the timer went off. I also am attempting to make it like a sheet cake with a digestive biscuit base, which might be a huge fail.

      Reply
        1. Fikly*

          I lived in London for a year and the Brits I knew were entirely confused/disgusted by the concept of pumpkin in dessert.

          Reply
          1. Sprechen Sie Talk?*

            Oh, they are disgusted until they try it. Last year I did a homemade Pop Tart bakeoff with a British colleague and I chose to make Pumpkin Pie ones. Between the filling and the smitten kitchen pie dough, they turned out amazing and everyone in the (UK) office loved them.

            Reply
            1. DrTheLiz*

              Nope. Brit with a Yank for a mother, and I still hate pumpkin pie. Cornbread is okay, though.

              Also I like Marmite but think that only Americans make proper potato salad. I’m a contradiction ;)

              Reply
            2. BritBex*

              An American colleague tried this line with us last year – oh it’s delicious, you don’t understand, you just need to try it. Made multiple pies, brought them in on what was to us a random Thursday, tried to make everyone eat a slice, then was FURIOUS with us when we utterly failed to appreciate them. Threw a massive strop and said we’d ruined Thanksgiving!

              Reply
        2. Lena Clare*

          Not really. You can make them easily enough as the ingredients are readily available but they’re not for sale anywhere that I know.

          Desserts: Xmas pudding (seasonal) – I’ve only ever eaten this the week of Christmas though, otherwise it’s a bit weird!, fruit pies with custard, steamed pies (yum), cold open tarts (e.g. lemon) which tend to be French-influenced desserts, home made ice creams.

          Reply
        3. londonedit*

          Pumpkin pies are sort of more of a thing now that the ingredients are more available and we have all the ‘pumpkin spice’ Starbucks malarkey, but most people are deeply suspicious until they try one (I think most people lump pumpkin pie in with the whole ‘sweet potatoes with marshmallows as a side dish for a savoury meal’ thing, which we will never not find utterly bizarre, and pumpkins here are not for eating, they’re for carving at Halloween – we do eat other squash, but the Halloween pumpkins you get here are tough and nasty).

          Popular desserts (we also call them all puddings, pudding is not just a chocolate pudding sort of thing) are the traditional ones like sticky toffee pudding, apple/rhubarb crumble, apple pie, bread and butter pudding, etc, and also things like lemon meringue pie, fruit pavlova, summer pudding, Christmas pudding (only at Christmas), lemon tart, creme brulee, that sort of thing.

          Reply
          1. MCL*

            Oh yes, there is a difference between carving pumpkins and pie pumpkins! Pie pumpkins are sweeter with a better flesh for baking.

            Reply
          2. Arts Akimbo*

            I am so incredibly jealous of people who grew up having pavlovas! I only just recently found out they existed, and they are the breath of the divine! <3

            Reply
        4. embertine*

          I’m a Brit who makes pumpkin pie and I agree, most people here are very dubious until they try it. We can get the canned ‘pumpkin’ purée here in all supermarkets so there must be a market for it.

          Reply
          1. Venus*

            It’s a staple of animal fostering, because it is so beneficial with diarrhea. I don’t know any other reason for using canned pumpkin (my family uses another squash for pie).

            Reply
        5. General von Klinkerhoffen*

          UK puddings (using the word in the British sense to mean sweet final course of a meal, see below) tend to be hot and heavy. Fruit crumble or pie, or (hot) sponge cakes, all with custard. But we’re cultural magpies so we also like fritters in syrup, meringues, yogurt, sweet jellies and set milk puddings.

          Christmas desserts are pretty traditional, although families have their preferred versions. Mince pies are pretty much compulsory at festive events (individual sweet short crust pies filled with “mincemeat” which is sticky spiced dried fruit and brandy). Panettone has become popular too, as well as chocolate bombes and trifle.

          Christmas pudding is a hot hemispherical cake of plump spiced dried fruit only just held together with batter, which is liberally doused in rum or brandy and brought to the festive table ceremonially alight. I don’t much like it because of the nuts and peel, but if I make my own without those things it does feel festive.

          Linguistic note: in the UK we wouldn’t use “pudding” or “dessert” to describe a cake (etc) eaten outside a meal, eg with a coffee. Those words describe the course rather than the dish, if you like.

          British cakes tend to have less frosting than US cakes, though we have borrowed a love of pastries from the European continent, and particularly of choux pastry with cream.

          Reply
          1. londonedit*

            How could I forget trifle? Boxing Day staple. Last year in our house, Christmas holiday desserts included sticky toffee pudding (because my BIL loves it – we had that on the 23rd I think, just because), on Christmas Eve there was an apple tarte tatin, and for Christmas Day there was a poached pear and chocolate pavlova (because no one in my family likes Christmas pudding and my sister can’t eat gluten and dairy, and pavlova is festive and suits everyone – the tarte tatin was also GF/DF). Then on New Year’s Eve I made a spiced plum pie to use up the last of the gluten-free pastry. So, not hugely traditional, but a fair representation of the sort of puddings British people like.

            Reply
            1. General von Klinkerhoffen*

              We make a very celebratory pavlova with chocolate meringue (6 egg whites, 50g cocoa, 300g sugar) topped with cheat truffle (about 100g dark chocolate folded into 300ml double cream already whipped to stiff peaks, optionally also fold in a glug of favourite booze) and then Maltesers and Minstrels on top. Edible glitter / shimmer for a bit of festive camp/glam.

              Reply
          2. Catherine Tilney*

            My family always had a pumpkin pie and a mincemeat pie for Thanksgiving. One year, my mom decided to combine them – mince on the bottom, pumpkin on top. It was incredible, and she made it like that every year from then on.

            Reply
      1. Asenath*

        I grew up in Canada with an American father. We used to celebrate both Thanksgivings with a big dinner, although not, thank God, with the massive travel that seems characteristic of the real American Thanksgiving. One year, my mother decided to make pumpkin pie in honour of my father’s Thanksgiving Day. I think he was appreciative, but us children hated it! My mother was an excellent baker, and I think it was probably quite a decent pumpkin pie, as pumpkin pies go, but it was so unlike the pies we usually ate – blueberry, rhubarb, apple…. – we just disliked it intensely.

        Reply
    2. My Dear Wormwood*

      Australian so no Thanksgiving, but we’re gathering to decorate the Christmas tree this weekend and the dog will be soooo happy to see all her humans together. They also have a magpie chick they’re rearing who has recently discovered how good human fingers are for head scratches so I imagine he’ll be pretty happy too.

      Reply
  18. Still Looking (Maybe)*

    Buying a catered Thanksgiving meal again this year. None of us like to cook. Just need me to do a couple pies. Very relieved as my turkey was never very good. Am getting up early for a 5k walk with my daughter. We’ll be cold but hopefully it won’t be too bad.

    Reply
    1. AnotherLibrarian*

      I did this several years when no one would commit to doing anything and it stressed me out so much. It was a great idea and I never regretted it. I still made pie, too.

      Reply
      1. Still Looking (Maybe)*

        It’s an incredible feeling, isn’t it. As long as I’m the sole person in charge of the meal, this is how I’ll do it.

        Reply
            1. Diahann Carroll*

              Yup. I can’t tell you how many times I had to scarf down somebody’s brick-dry cornbread as a child *shudders.*

              Reply
  19. Can't Sit Still*

    Thanksgiving was an incredibly fraught holiday for me as a kid, so I really enjoy not having to deal with it at all now. My family is all drama, all the time at the holidays. So. Much. Drama. Screaming fights, brandishing weapons, sneaking out to the cars to drink (this would be my parent’s generation,my generation is mostly teetotalers, go figure), hysterical sobbing, and overdone (or, one memorable year, raw) pot roast and burned pumpkin pie.

    I gave up on family Thanksgiving years ago and it was one of the best decisions I ever made. I tried Friendsgiving, but that doesn’t work for me, either. So I use Thanksgiving as a day for contemplation and reflection, with lots of typical Thanksgiving food. I’ve pared it down to a Field Roast Celebration Roast with mushroom gravy, dressing, jellied cranberry sauce, and pecan pie with vanilla ice cream for dessert. I used to do a lot more cooking, but now I make just enough for leftovers for the long weekend. Occasionally, I make a pie with the savory leftovers.

    I mulled cider today, and the apartment smells delicious. I am so ready for this long weekend!

    Reply
    1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

      I shivered with a hefty dose of flashback on that one, you had me at “brandishing weapons”. Thankfully that was saved for much more special occasions than silly ol’ Thanksgiving. They waited until their mother died and then shots fired. Literally. Frigging hillbilly nonsense.

      The sneaking off to drink though. I was too young, I didn’t even know that’s what they were doing. I just knew they were as mean as a wet cat. My brother told me the secret years later “Oh yeah, Billy as always just drunk, you couldn’t smell it?” “I never got that close, I was always hiding at mom’s feet, remember?” “Oh right…you were smart like that!”

      I’m so glad you found your peace away from all that nasty *fist bump*

      Reply
    2. Ann Onny Muss*

      Oh yes. The drunk uncle who had screaming fights with his sisters (my mom and aunts) because “Mom and Dad loved you more than me!” (To be fair, there is a problem of my grandparents favoring one of my aunts, but still…). The guest list has been pared down significantly these last few years. No more drunken screaming matches. It’s nice.

      Reply
    3. Sparrow*

      My family is lovely, but I’m on the opposite coast for the third year in a row. I’ve also found joy in cooking a small feast for myself in my empty apartment (roommates all home for the holiday).
      I made stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy, and pan roasted chicken, and am baking a pumpkin cake for Friendsgiving tomorrow. Also had mulled wine, one glass while reading a book on the couch and one glass while doing all the prep. All the leftovers will make excellent work lunches over the weekend/early next week.
      I hope your feast tastes wonderful and your reflection is restorative tomorrow!

      Reply
  20. CAA*

    We are going to some friends tomorrow and expect they’ll have about 25 people. The forecast in So Cal is for major rain, so deep frying the turkeys could get interesting and we’ll probably have to eat indoors this year. It’ll be crowded but congenial.

    Reply
    1. Jennifer Thneed*

      Do the local firefighters fry turkeys for people? That was happening in the last city I lived in — way less stress and fewer house fires to put out.

      Reply
      1. I heart Paul Buchman*

        Wait, really?? Fried turkey?? Like in pieces? I’m picturing one whole, ginormous turkey plunged into a giant fry basket but that… can’t possibly be right? I desperately want this turkey to be beer battered but that would obviously be ridiculous.

        And – why would fire fighters be cooking? Do you mean that people cook and donate to them?? Is it a charity thing? I mean – our firefighters do nude calendars so I’m open to weird fundraising efforts LOL. Now I’m wondering how that works – “honey, I’m just off up the street to stand in line with a defrosted turkey”. Surely not, my mind absolutely boggles. This is wonderful!! Full disclosure – I’ve never seen a turkey. We have bush turkeys which you would not want to eat (well actually you can but…no), I imagine turkey as an overgrown chicken. I’m off to google this. Thanks for making my day. Happy Thanksgiving to you.

        Reply
        1. CAA*

          Yes, deep fried turkey is a bird (not battered) hung from a chain and dunked in a big ol’ pot of hot oil over a propane burner. Usually you do this outdoors, away from buildings and children and dogs, which is fine unless it’s raining. I have not heard of firefighters helping people cook them around here, but the reason they might do so is that it’s dangerous if done incorrectly.

          Reply
        2. Me (I think)*

          The local firefighters deep fry the turkeys because it’s less work than putting out house fires when people spill boiling oil out of their deep fryer and it catches fire on the propane burner and sends streams of boiling burning oil all over the deck and then the house.

          I really wish I were making this up.

          Reply
        3. Ethyl*

          If you can watch Good Eats where you live, AB constructs a turkey deep frying rig and explains the safety issues very well. The upside is that deep fried turkey is utterly delicious, downside is you could easily set your house on fire!

          Reply
    2. Seeking Second Childhood*

      “major rain, so deep frying the turkeys could get interesting”
      Now THERE is an image!
      I can’t think of fried turkey without remembering a long-ago neighbor who oh so carefully cooked the bird safely away from the house, but he was tired and moved the equipment into his garage to clean up the next day. And the next day the weather was near freezing. So he decided to melt the grease loose by turning on the propane. Spot heat, at the bottom of a pot of solid fry grease…happily no one was next to the burning explosion.
      Our town’s firefighters saved his garage, but the Harley was totalled.

      Reply
  21. RB*

    Oh, boy, I wish I had the rest of the evening to spend on this thread. I have already had a minor internal meltdown over the best way to cook mashed potatoes (internet opinions vary) and whether I can do them the night before (no consensus among cooking websites).

    Reply
    1. Still Looking (Maybe)*

      Oh heavens I hate that. I’ve stopped asking the internet for things like that. It’s a rabbit hole you’ll never get out of.

      Reply
    2. Ey-not-Cy*

      Yes, you can! Put them in the fridge tonight, heat them in the crockpot tomorrow. If you have a liner for the crockpot, easy peasy clean up.

      Reply
      1. zoom zoom*

        Crockpot liners are a lifesaver and I’m very annoyed that my new slow cooker is a weird shape and so the liners won’t fit on it. I did not think to check that, stupid me.

        Reply
    3. The Man, Becky Lynch*

      Oh, love. I’m sorry that they’re stressing you out.

      Mashed potatoes are good no matter what you do. If you fear lumps, the trick is a mixer ;) Or be me, make instant potatoes >:D

      Reply
      1. Ann Onny Muss*

        Or you can be me and buy the pre-made ones at the grocery store. Pop ’em in the microwave and you’re done.

        Reply
    4. zoom zoom*

      (If you want another millionth internet opinion: instant mashed potatoes are easy, fast, and taste fantastic. Do them with water instead of milk/butter if someone can’t have dairy.)

      Reply
    5. Jdc*

      Oh my gosh. Butter, salt and pepper. Nothing else. Especially if preparing in advance. Not being pushy but my lashes are talked about. Also when I say butter, I mean double what you think.

      Reply
      1. Cathie from Canada*

        What I do is boil the hell out of some baking potatoes (I use large Russets, one per person approx), until they are practically falling apart. Then drain them (saving the potato water for the gravy) and mash them. Then warm up some milk or cream in the microwave a bit and melt some butter in that, before adding to the mashed potatoes and mashing some more. The warmed milk mixes into the potato better for some reason. I don’t bother whipping them.

        Reply
      2. Elenna*

        Also, more salt than you think you need. It’s not flavorful? I guarantee you that will be fixed by more salt. To paraphrase the recipe I used for shepard’s pie, if it doesn’t taste like you want fourteen more tastes, add more salt.

        Reply
      3. Traffic_Spiral*

        But do you alter the butter depending on gravy? For me, the amount of sugar I put in a pie depends on whether I’ll be serving it a la mode, and the butter in the potatoes depends on whether on not there’s gravy. No gravy = more butter, but if I’m putting gravy on top I put less butter, because the gravy is already adding grease.

        Reply
    6. JediSquirrel*

      I have made crock-pot mashed potatoes and they are delicious. (2 hours on high for 2.5 poounds; 4 hours for 5 pounds.)

      Trader Joe’s has some frozen mashed potatoes which a friend claims are delicious. We’re trying those today.

      As others have mentioned, instant potatoes are really good too. I always add a bit of beef, chicken, or ham base, and LOTS of butter and sour cream, but I always do that no matter how I cook them.

      Reply
    7. Koala dreams*

      Cook the potatoes tonight and mash them tomorrow when you re-heat them. Or buy the instant powder thing and make it tomorrow.

      Reply
      1. Koala dreams*

        By the way, I have a cookbook I like with several examples of holiday dinners including instructions for which dishes you cook ahead of time and which you leave for the day of the party.

        Reply
    8. snoopythedog*

      Too late now, but Bon Appetit and Serious Eats are my go to websites for tried and true recipes. Often they’ll tell you why they chose to do it a certain way, or give you options!

      Reply
    9. Tris Prior*

      Hahahaha, I had to do the mashed potatoes last night so I tried a new “make ahead” recipe. Which kind of turned out to be a disaster, though they taste fine in the end.

      I also discovered what that weird plastic disc thing is for, on the Kitchenaid mixer we were gifted over the summer but hadn’t used yet. It’s to keep bits of potato from flying out of the bowl and all over the counter – WHOOPS.

      Next year I’m going back to my usual method. I’m glad it’s just me and my partner so if I effed them up, no one really cares.

      Reply
    10. Senor Montoya*

      Yes you can in fact do mashed potatoes a couple days ahead and rewarm in the microwave. Add a bit of water if they’ve thickened up too much.

      Reply
  22. Digley Doowap*

    I wish everyone an enjoyable Thanksgiving, with or without your family. Both my parents died over 10 years ago and both brothers live out of state, so I used to go celebrate Thanksgiving with my in-laws and my wife’s extended family until 3 years ago.

    My wife still goes to visit her parents and extended family, along with my son and grandchildren. I get to stay home due to my catastrophic tinnitus; I would love to go but I just can’t handle that cross talk and chatter.

    I’ll be anxiously waiting at home for cold leftovers to arrive, but fortunately, I have both my elderly cats to keep me company.

    Reply
  23. SaraV*

    I have work tomorrow and Friday. (yaaaaayyyyy. And Sunday) My MIL would usually host, but she’s had some health problems the past couple of months. So, we’re going to a restaurant. The bummer is no leftovers, except for what we might have in a take-home box. And I need to get over that because I’m definitely thankful that she’s doing better.

    Reply
  24. zoom zoom*

    Thanksgiving might get cancelled (we’re all local, so no one’s travel plans would be disrupted) due to Reasons, and I’m kinda grateful? I’m not big into thanksgiving in general; my family of origin did not celebrate it. And while it’s great to see people, ugh, yeah, how do we always end up with That Uncle? Where do they all come from?

    Reply
  25. R*

    I have kids & grandkids arriving at different times tomorrow so I made a lasagna a few weeks ago & froze it. Weird thanksgiving dinner but them’s the breaks! Pies are made & thawing too. So tomorrow is just bread & salad.

    Reply
    1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

      My mom randomly cooks turkey throughout the year, so it’s not really “special” to us.

      Man…I wish we had lasagna instead, not weird at all. Tasty tasty tasty. Pass the garlic bread please.

      Reply
      1. Enough*

        Had Third Turkey Day for about 15 years. It was first in January and then in March when kids came home for spring break from college.

        Reply
    2. Ann Onny Muss*

      I did stuffed pasta shells with homemade pasta sauce last year. It was well received. Way easier than a full turkey dinner.

      Reply
    3. Diahann Carroll*

      I did lasagna one year for Thanksgiving (actually, a whole Italian spread), and it was delicious. I hate turkey and I’ve grown sick of ham, so I like to find alternatives every year. Last year it was Paella – that stuff lasted for weeks, but was soooo good!

      Reply
    4. Me (I think)*

      I grew up in an Italian family and we always had lasagna, in addition to whatever we were “supposed” to have like turkey or whatever.

      Reply
    5. Merci Dee*

      We’re doing lasagna today, too! We’re going really simple with the sides, just a salad and some garlic bread. And then tiramisu for dessert. I found the tiramisu recipe on Tuesday, so we’ll see how it works out. This is the first time I’ve ever made tiramisu in general, let alone using this recipe. Fingers crossed, everyone!

      In general, my family isn’t big on turkey. We have a few individuals who love it, so it’s usually just a turkey breast purchased for them when we have the big family meals for Christmas. Thanksgiving is more low key as it’s just my parents, my daughter, and me. I’m grateful that I have such a great relationship with my folks, and that they’re only about 30 minutes away from us. Kiddo and I see them at least once a week for church/lunch on Sunday, and often once more at some random time during the week. Going to their place for Thanksgiving is kind of like going over for any other meal, but with slightly more food involved.

      Reply
  26. Elizabeth West*

    We’re probably going to my brother’s in-laws’ house tomorrow. They’re really nice and I like them a lot. I wish I had my own space to go home to afterward, but at least it’s semi-private in my little basement corner.

    Reply
  27. Melody Pond*

    I need a Thanksgiving rant!

    My in-laws ask every year if we will come down to see them for Thanksgiving – and I feel guilty about it, but we ALWAYS tell them no (and spend Thanksgiving with my family instead, who are a mere 20 minute drive away).

    My in-laws live about 3.5 miles away, they are both (mostly) retired, and they have my brother-in-law (and BIL’s wife and 5 year old daughter) all living in the house with them. There’s no place for us to stay with them, so every time we go visit them, we need to rent a hotel (or an AirBnb or such). We also usually need to hire a cat sitter – so for us, it’s expensive every time we go.

    Last year, we cleared it with my parents to invite the in-laws to come and stay with my parents. We have been living in a 600 square foot studio condo for most of the last 4 years, so there’s never been any space for us to host the in-laws either. The in-laws declined to come stay with my parents – which, I kinda get, they don’t know my parents that well.

    Now, we are about to close on a pretty spacious house which should have plenty of room for in-laws to come visit! We are just missing it for Thanksgiving this year, but my hope is to be able to invite in-laws to come stay with us for future major holidays. Yes, I know, we should have made an effort to go see my in-laws for Thanksgiving despite all these obstacles – but between the logistical obstacles mentioned above, and also: A) I’m super close with my family and hate missing major holidays with them, B) Mr. Pond is NOT close with his family and actively dislikes going to visit them, and C) while not as fond of them as I am, Mr. Pond definitely would rather hang out with my family… it’s just never managed to happen.

    Here’s hoping we can get Mr. Pond’s family to visit us in our new house for major holidays in the future. I still feel guilty about being a terrible daughter-in-law in the meantime, though. :-/

    Reply
      1. Jules the 3rd*

        Agreed – you sound somewhat like my family. We’ve done a split Xmas, where I send Mr / Kid Jules to the in-laws for Xmas eve/ morning, while I go to my parents with the dog, and Mr / Kid join us Xmas afternoon. We’d done a staggered Xmas, where Mr / Kid visit during a school break in Jan, because the in-laws’ bathroom flooded in mid-December and was still gutted over Xmas. Do what works for you, life is so much better without expectations.

        Reply
    1. Bagpuss*

      You’re not a terrible DIL. You and your husband are making choses which are right for the family the 2 of you have built together, which includes not pressuring each other to spend time with his parents when neither of you particualrly wants to and when it would be time-and-money consuming.

      Also, presumably there has been nothing to stop them suggesting that they travel to your area and book a motel so they can spend the day with you, if they wanted to?

      I don’t think it’s necessarily always apropriate to assume that eveyone’s parents get equal time – evenwhen eveyone gets on really well with each other things like cost and distance and how importnat the celcbrations are to each person all come into it.

      Reply
    2. Senor Montoya*

      You should not feel bad about not going to see your in-laws at thanksgiving. It’s an expensive and exhausting trip for you, that’s all the reason you need.

      Reply
  28. HolidayHater*

    I’m single and childless and definitely not happy about it. Thanksgiving serves as a huge reminder that I am alone. I usually try to go out of town and avoid it all together but the weather has me snowed in. I’m going because I can’t avoid it, but hopefully can get out of there quickly. So fun trying not to cry in front of thirty people I see twice a year.

    Reply
    1. Aggretsuko*

      My therapist, who didn’t get married for the first time until her fifties, says that breaking out into sobbing tears and running from the room will stop anyone from asking FOREVER. So if you do cry, there’s a bonus!

      Reply
    2. Pj’s*

      Holiday hater here too, though they remind me of how fraught family dinners were when I was a child and we pretended we weren’t dysfunctional af. Be kind to yourself and it’s your party too. You can cry if you want to.

      Reply
    3. pancakes*

      These are all very good reasons to make friends with other single and childless people and spend holidays with them instead!

      Reply
  29. fort hiss*

    I just finished making the mashed potato with crispety cruncheties recipe from Bon Appétit’s Making Perfect video series! I didn’t make the exact potato recipe (too thin imo) but followed the gist of it. It turned out delicious. I also did my turkey with their recommended dry brine. Fingers crossed it all works out. Any other big fans of BA making their recipes today/tomorrow?

    Reply
  30. Daji*

    Apologies in advance if this is oversharing! I’ve briefly mentioned in a long past thread the challenges of growing up transracially adopted (Asian in white family) and the holidays make it even more challenging, as I am unfortunately de facto estranged from everyone in my family except my adoptive parents. I do not attend family Thanksgivings anymore as I am decidedly not welcome (most of my dad’s family doesn’t like any minorities… including me), so this year my parents are hosting my paternal grandmother and aunt on my dad’s side while I stay home. I’m currently battling negative subconscious feelings of how my dad has chosen to spend Thanksgiving with his “real family” even though I always go home for Christmas and we will spend time together then.

    I love my parents but it’s difficult and sucks that we have had to “compromise” so my dad can have a relationship with his family while I maintain my sanity. But I knew if I showed up I’d just have to sit through more lectures on What My Aunt Thinks of Asian People and get called an Oriental by my grandma, so no thanks.

    A lot of my stress/frustration went away after I scheduled some time with my best friend to watch a movie tomorrow and decided to relax, order in delicious food, and sit around in my pajamas, so I’m doing my best to enjoy my day off work. :)

    Reply
    1. Emmie*

      I am so sorry, Daji. I cannot imagine what you feel like. If you need validation, you are right to feel negative about your dad’s choices. You are his real family.

      Reply
      1. Daji*

        @Emmie: Thank you for such a kind response. I really appreciate it. It’s a challenging situation because I completely understand why my dad would not want to cut off his parents and siblings and I don’t feel like I can ask him to do that – plus he is an adult man and can make his own decisions. But unfortunately they’re so hostile to me that I can’t be around them, so there’s no other option except for me to stay home.

        I’m just focusing 100% on myself this holiday as much as I can and spreading good wishes to others as that’s all I can really do, but I’m honestly doing great otherwise.

        Reply
        1. tangerineRose*

          I keep thinking he doesn’t have to be with them at Thanksgiving in order to not cut them off. Sorry you’re having to deal with this – it’s not fair or right.

          Reply
    2. WellRed*

      I’m sorry and am proud of you for maintaining the relationship with your parents. To be clear, when one marries or has children ( in any fashion) those should be the priority, not the family of origin. Your dad is lucky to have you. I’ll leave it at that.

      Reply
      1. Daji*

        @WellRed: Thank you so much! Honestly there have been times when I’ve been soooo frustrated with my parents and I’m just in my twenties, but I do really love them and want to make it work. It’s just moments like these that are tough and bring up a lot of feelings. I am trying not to let my extended family’s racism get in the way of my love for my mom & dad or in the way of enjoying my life and being happy without them.

        Reply
      2. anon for this cuz of the family*

        Pretty much agree with WellRed. If your nasty related-people (‘family’) are religious, I hope they get what they say they believe in, haha, and if not, a pox on them on earth. Much love. I’m related to a family where the lutheran-catholic battle was so strong that being the wrong race was trumped by the evil of being catholic… people are ludicrous. Just hard to understand.

        Hope the comfy clothes & good food make tomorrow a fun day anyway.

        Reply
    3. The Man, Becky Lynch*

      I’m so sorry that you’ve been put in that situation.

      I understand on a level because my brother was shunned and treated like trash by my father’s family because he wasn’t dad’s biological child, he is adopted by our father though, so he’s legally his. But thankfully all those codgers died during my childhood, so there was no way in hell my parents were going to just leave a kid behind because they couldn’t fix themselves.

      My brother told me years ago that he once tried to call our father’s mother “Grandma” and she literally ignored him. He had to call her by her first name. That’s how vile she was. He was probably 6 or 7 at the time.

      I hope you enjoy your day off and glad you have a relaxing day planned instead of dealing with the nonsense of hateful jerks.

      Reply
      1. Daji*

        @Becky Lynch: People can truly be terrible. I’m sorry to hear your brother was also treated poorly. It was a hard lesson to learn but sometimes “family” can be such major PITAs. It makes me thankful for the good friends I have and also that I’m not a really miserable person who is cruel to children, lol.

        Reply
        1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

          I’m glad that you’ve come out of the other side such a well rounded happy person in the end. A lot of times this can really wear someones soul out. Thankfully you know that this is THEM and not a damn thing about you.

          Nothing angers me more than bigotry, having hate in your heart just because of someone’s ethnicity is baffling to me. And I grew up with a racist family of my own, even as a kid when they’d say weird stuff about “Those People” my response was “What? why would you hate someone you don’t even know? That’s nonsensical.”

          I have no doubt your parents love you very much but man…parents are not perfect and do make bad decisions at our expense over the years.

          My mom still has moments where she really beats herself up for making me deal with that family but her idea was “They loved you, they just sucked at showing it” and my response is always “I know you think they did because you’re a good person. But they only loved themselves and very select individuals, I was not in that group. This isn’t your fault.”

          Reply
          1. Daji*

            @Becky Lynch: I’m definitely not going to lie, it’s taken a lot of therapy and soul-searching to get to this place of semi-acceptance and well-roundedness, and I’m still finding myself getting upset/angry about it! I wish I didn’t have to spend time trying to negotiate these complicated dynamics. I don’t feel prepared to do any of this heavy lifting in my twenties. I barely feel prepared to hold down a job, lol.

            Hard agree on parents not being perfect and making decisions at our expense. My dad will not cut off his family or call them out on their racism so I have to make the executive decisions to protect myself. It’s also not his fault his family is this way but they can’t be around me if they are going to treat me poorly, and now that I’m financially independent I can make that decision.

            Reply
            1. Jules the 3rd*

              Sigh. Ideally they’d wise up and stop being racist jerks.

              Realistically: your dad is trying to prioritize you over them, by giving you Christmas and them Tgiving. It would be great if he’d prioritize you even more by giving you all the holidays and meeting with them at not-holidays, as you’re the person who’s not doing anything wrong.

              Abuse spoils everything, good for you for not accepting it, and stepping away. I hope your tgiving is great, and that the racist fam all get indigestion.

              Reply
      2. Ann Onny Muss*

        Becky, my oldest nephew is technically my brother’s stepson. He’s been part of the family since he was two. The degree of acceptance has varied, I suspect because his mom (my SIL) is only half-white. That’s the only explanation I can think of, because the men on both sides of my extended family have a solid history of raising stepkids as their own. But throw in a little extra melanin and all bets are off. It’s sad and it sucks. I’m sorry your brother had to deal with similar “you’re not real family for stupid reasons” nonsense.

        Reply
    4. Sparkly Librarian*

      Your alternate plans sound groovy.

      And I’m sorry that your parents have made that compromise. You deserve to be loved and respected and, especially as a child, have been protected from that nastiness.

      Reply
      1. Daji*

        @Sparkly Librarian: Thank you! My dad is really conflict avoidant unfortunately, so you’re right that I was never defended from racism as a child. :( Figuring out that I should become financially independent ASAP and cut ties with people who treated me poorly was a hard pill to swallow growing up. It makes it difficult to maintain a relationship with my parents at times but I’m doing my best.

        Reply
    5. Maxie*

      That has got to be so incredibly painful. I’m really sorry. They should have rejected the evil, bigoted relatives and chosen you. That should be automatic, no thoutht process.

      Reply
      1. Daji*

        @Maxie: Thank you! I agree, I wish my dad would cut off the rest of his family, but he hasn’t unfortunately. :( All I can do is try to keep myself sane while also preserve the relationship with my parents, challenging as it is.

        Reply
        1. Maxie*

          I am the white mom of a mixed race daughter who is now 14. We came together through adoption. One comment and that person or people would have been history. I’m so sorry your dad hasn’t done that.

          Reply
    6. Anono-me*

      WOW. “…they can’t be around me if they are going to treat me poorly. ” This is brilliant. It the best way of putting it that I have ever heard. The consequence are on them (They lose the privilege of your company.) and the standard is to behave neutrally or better (No deciding just how bad is bad enough that you get to say no more.)

      I am sorry that is part of your life story.

      Reply
    7. Me (I think)*

      I know I’m coming to this conversation a day late, sorry. I just wanted to send some hugs in your general direction.

      Reply
      1. Not So NewReader*

        Ditto from me. And virtual kick in the butt for your father. I can see he has a very wise (adult) kid here and he is missing out big time. Wake up, Dad, your poor choices will work for you until they don’t.

        Reply
  31. Jcarnall*

    Not for the first time, I’m thankful I live in the UK, where we don’t celebrate Thanksgiving.

    Who needs two stressful family holidays a year?

    Reply
    1. Tyche*

      Yes to this!!! Triple yes.
      I’m Italian, we don’t celebrate Thanksgiving, but here I’m already dreading Christmas. Until three years ago, I’ve always celebrated with my parents and we visited briefly my extended family during the holidays (we live all near eachother). Now my father is dead, and my mother’s cousin invites us for Christmas every year, and I go only because my mom needs not to be alone, but urgh!!!
      I hate their Christmas lunch, I have nightmares starting now (it’s not an hyperbole, I have real nightmares)

      Reply
    2. londonedit*

      Thanksgiving sounds nice, but I always wonder how people cope with two holidays so close to each other! I get the impression a lot of Americans go all-out for Thanksgiving and have a smaller Christmas? Whereas Christmas here is the one people go all-out for.

      Reply
      1. General von Klinkerhoffen*

        I like the idea of a day for getting together with (chosen) family *without the gift exchange*. My favourite parts of Christmas are the various family meals and almost too much cheese and chocolate; my least favourite parts are the shopping nonsense.

        Reply
        1. londonedit*

          Me too! I really try not to buy too many things for people at Christmas. My favourite bits are the food and the festivities and eating too much cheese and drinking too much wine (mulled, sparkling, plain old white). And the Boxing Day leftovers buffet.

          Reply
    3. Traffic_Spiral*

      You need to be able to go to one set of people for Thanksgiving so that you can go to the other set for Christmas.

      Reply
  32. Middle Manager*

    Holiday Joy- I get to spend the holiday with my one week old and one month old nieces! Couldn’t be better.

    Reply
  33. Lionelrichiesclayhead*

    Looking forward to seeing the in laws tomorrow after things got weird earlier this week over a money gift towards our new house. I do not want your strings, thanks.

    Stick with mixing alcohol kids, not money and family.

    Reply
    1. Hyacinth Bucket (Pronounced Bouquet!)*

      Oooh good luck. Money from family always comes with strings. I’m dealing with that in the wedding context.
      I told my parents we were getting married, my dad’s first question was “who’s paying for it?”
      He eventually offered to pay because we were going to have the small wedding we could afford but it’s important to my parents to have the big traditional showy wedding, and now there’s so much drama with him and my mom using paying for the wedding to control the whole damn thing. I’m so close to telling them to stuff it and eloping, and letting my newly engaged sibling have our wedding.

      Reply
      1. Lionelrichiesclayhead*

        Mind the wedding, Richard!

        Weddings can be so dramatic! So many hurt feelings! We kept ours small and that did help a lot, but things still popped up. The thought of eloping definitely crossed my mind a time or two.

        Good luck and congratulations!

        Reply
  34. EvilQueenRegina*

    I have one of those uncles with offensive beliefs, who is married to a woman who always needs to be the centre of attention and has the worst mood swings and thinks sulky silent treatment is acceptable behaviour in a grown adult. My family are the reason I am thankful to come from a country that doesn’t do Thanksgiving because they are so high maintenance I can only take them in small doses. (This is the “inviting themselves to visit the relatives with the new baby” relatives I have vented about here before).

    Reply
  35. fiverx313*

    i’m on my own… living across the country from friends and family, with a husband gone for work until christmas. i plan to eat garlic mashed cauliflower and pumpkin pie and decorate my giant pink xmas tree, and cuddle my cats a LOT.

    Reply
  36. OyHiOh*

    There’s tourist train through a famous river gorge about 30/40 minutes west of us. Starting a couple weeks before Thanksgiving, they reset the line as “Santa Express/North Pole Express.” Train cars decorated, festive “north pole village” along the tracks, a visit from Santa, games, stories, songs. It’s basically community theater, lol. My dragons saw ads last week, and asked if we could go. Sunday morning, a long time family friend of Mr Oy’s family, who lives there and works seasonally on the train line texted me and asked if the dragons would like to go on the train one evening before Thanksgiving. Putting good thoughts out into the universe and see what comes back.

    I asked Neptune to come with us because he’s a big kid at heart and often in search of experiences he didn’t get to have a child and we all went out there last night. I talked with dragons about the historic origins of St. Nicolas and the good that he did for children and families in poverty and that’s a story they really “get” and identify with (the Hebrew School kids do food drives and other gifts to charities in association with most Jewish festival seasons so that’s a very familiar story and concept for them). Anyway, train ride was lovely and magical even without believing in Santa Clause (I love anything that brings light to the darkness of this time of year). My friend who set the whole thing up is one of the train Conductors so once she finished punching tickets, she took dragons out to the open air car “so mom can breath for a minute.” LOL! Much appreciated, they were bouncing out of their sculls from excitement. Plus, gave Neptune and I some time to talk without dragons shrieking over our shoulders about GAMES! and SONGS! and OMG ARE THOSE **REAL** ELVES!!!!!

    Eventually, Santa came around, collecting wish lists (mine really don’t “get” the concept – boy dragon didn’t even write a list and the other two only had one or two really precious ideas on theirs) and talking with the children, and giving each a souviner sleigh bell. And that’s where things got rather interesting. Only children got bells, except that friend/Conductor dropped on in my hand and said “I’m supposed to give this to you.” Okaaaaaaayyyyy Then, along came one of the elves, naming the bells for the reindeer each bell supposedly came from (side note, the elves did an impressive job of observing the personality and interests of all the kids in that car – mine got Comet, Dasher, and Prancer and each of those perfectly suits the child who got it). Conductor points to mine and says “don’t forget hers.” Elfie starts her “listening to the bell to hear a name” routine and friend/Conductor goes “I think that one came from Cupid.” Elfie agrees, writes that on the tag. Conductor smirked at me. Shortly after, Conductor whisked dragons back outside. I looked at Neptune. “Are we really that obvious?” “I don’t think so.” Apparently, we’re far more obvious than either of us thought!

    I’ve got thoughts brewing about the kind of planned social activity Neptune and I do, that generally reads as “dating,” but that what we’re doing is not goal driven and therefore not traditional “dating” either but save that for the weekend thread when I’ve had some time to work it out better.
    So happy holidays

    Reply
    1. whomever*

      Heh. Depending on where you are this might be the Essex Railroad in Connecticut, which my then 4 year old loved but threw the laminated menu out the window (because he’d seen Polar Express and was playing at it).

      Reply
      1. OyHiOh*

        Quite a bit west of Connecticut! Colorado/front range. Beautiful, but COLD this year. And we might get a bomb cyclone tomorrow just to make things more fun.

        Reply
  37. Lyys*

    My holiday week was supposed to kick off today with brunch with my MIL and SIL (she wore the closest thing she could find to match my wedding dress without having seen it at my wedding-not a fan). Never heard from them so instead I had a two mimosa and crab omelet lunch with my husband, a trip to the pot store, and I upgraded my weapons in my mmo. It’s been a FANTASTIC day and Tday promises to be more of the same.

    Yet another person who walked away from awful family and is finally learning to like this season now that it’s not high stress and with horrible people. It’s okay to choose yourself! Merry Sithmas season to all!

    Reply
      1. Lyys*

        Actual cannabis! I got a half ounce of Lavender Jones and a hoodie styled like Jurassic Park but with the name of the shop. Legal weed is THE BEST.

        Reply
    1. UbiCaritas*

      I’m a big fan of treating oneself well. (If. you don’t, who will?) Mimosas and a crab omelet sound amazing! I’m sorry you had to walk away from awful family, but glad you’re on the other side, treating yourself well and enjoying life. It took me more than 50 years to understand it was OK to treat myself well, and, really, life is short. Drink mimosas! Eat crab omelets!

      Reply
      1. Lyys*

        Thank you :) I was 33 when I finally saw clearly. Do I wish I had had my revelation earlier? Yes. But I’ve been making the most of my life ever since. Cheers to you and yours from my little family!

        Reply
  38. Aggretsuko*

    I’m in California so I’m still at work. HR will not let us leave early, we were told. Meanwhile, a former temp of ours dropped by to say that his current office (we’re all at the same giant org) let him out at 3. Come onnnnnnnnnn. So I am here eating my Trader Joe’s turkey stuffing kettle chip stash for another 40 minutes.

    And after that, I’m in a play that started last weekend and we were told to have a “pickup rehearsal” tonight. I would bet half the cast doesn’t show up, given the timing of it. I like rehearsal and have nothing going and it means I get to screw off and hang with friends, mind you, but this seems like a bad time to do it on.

    Why the hell does everyone insist on holding classes, midterms, meetings, etc. on the Wednesday night before Thanksgiving? I don’t even go far from home and I don’t leave until Thursday morning, mind you, but *nobody* is in the mood to do Business As Usual tonight like it’s every other dang night.

    Reply
    1. OyHiOh*

      Ooof! Pick up rehearsals are weird anyway. Wonder what they hope to accomplish on Thanksgiving eve! If they want to go over notes and stuff from last weekend, they’d have better luck having the cast come in 30 or 40 minutes early on Friday.

      Reply
    2. The Man, Becky Lynch*

      It’s a frigging ghost down up here, driving to work you could tell that everyone was already well on their way to their holidays! So I cannot imagine having the mindset to schedule anything for tonight.

      Everyone is hourly, so nobody is really into being released early so we’re all just yawning at each other at this rate.

      Reply
      1. Hyacinth Bucket (Pronounced Bouquet!)*

        I had Thanksgiving Eve midterms all through college. One was in a class that was from 6-7:30. I’m not far from home so I could still make it in the morning, but some people took the class Pass/No Pass and just skipped the midterm.

        Reply
        1. Enough*

          . My son went to the same college I had. In that 30 year period they finally gave up and just give them the whole week off.

          Reply
        2. Dancing Otter*

          I still remember the prof that wouldn’t let me take my last final early so I could catch the train home on Wednesday. My grandmother died that evening, and I didn’t get to see her.
          I transferred to a different school for the next year. (Other reasons, too, but this was definitely one.)

          Reply
    3. Maxie*

      When I used to teach freshman comp, one year I needed to have a paper due the Wednesday before Thanksgiving but told my studttns that anyone who handed in the paper early could skip class that day, no penalty. I typically gave students about 2 weeks to write a paper, so it was doable.

      Reply
    4. Liane*

      Our church choir director either cancels the Wednesday rehearsals or it’s earlier in the week if we really need the practice. Like this year with Advent starting the Sunday after Thanksgiving, and a cancelled practice earlier in the month when she was ill. So we met Monday, and some people were already gone.

      Reply
  39. Mrs. Jake Peralta*

    We drove fourteen hours on Monday to our Northern destination, since for the first time in eleven years his ex-wife invited us to Thanksgiving dinner. (We have historically arrived for the holiday then been un-invited at the last minute for various reasons.) It’s important to the kids we attend, so there’s that, but strangely on Thanksgiving Eve my stomach is full of knots and I am stockpiling my prescription meds to get through the event.
    To make things more interesting, she avidly supports a politician I don’t and likes to get in verbal jabs that come from a position of educated-by-meme, and she knows I’m horribly allergic to seafood, so she’s serving. . . yep. My husband owes me a lot for this. (He has been sympathetic but he’s one of those “but faaaaaamily” people so we put up with a lot of garbage. And for the record, they were divorced long before he and I got together, so she has nothing against me except, you know, not liking me, which is totally mutual.)

    Reply
    1. WellRed*

      It’s not usual to be invited by the ex to a major holiday thing. It’s great if everyone likes it but stomach knots and stockpiling meds? A 14 hour drive? ( that’s what planes are for). No. If your husband were truly sympathetic this would not be happening. I’d be eyeing an expensive piece of jewelry or something to remind him you are also faaamily.

      Reply
        1. Jules the 3rd*

          +1 The best tgiving traditions are the ones that work for you. Not attending at all is totally legit, as would be going in for 30 minutes to say hi, then leaving for a nice solo dinner / movie when the food comes out and picking up the hubs / kids after. Hubs doesn’t like it? Whelp, I wouldn’t like having an allergen as the main dish either, and hubs can deal.

          Reply
          1. Mrs. Jake Peralta*

            It went okay! Her husband made her make the traditional fixings in addition to her “award-winning crab salad” and I conveniently got a migraine and went back to the hotel halfway through. Next year we aren’t going.
            Thanks for the support. This is why I love the commentariat at AAM.
            Happy Thanksgiving, all!

            Reply
    2. Iron Chef Boyardee*

      He has been sympathetic but he’s one of those “but faaaaaamily” people so we put up with a lot of garbage.

      Doesn’t he realize that you, as his wife, are also “faaaaaamily?” And your status as his wife means you should be taking the #1 spot in his family priority list.

      Reply
  40. Sparkly Librarian*

    This whole week has been dreadfully slow at work. I’ve got another hour before the weekend starts!

    Highlights include:
    -reupping my purple hair dye (because family pictures!)
    -watching the Mister Rogers movie
    -Friendsgiving with kugel
    -family Thanksgiving Friday
    -weekend at my parents’ with the baby

    (hopefully) When I get home on Sunday, my wife — who is working back-to-back shifts! — will have purchased and installed this year’s Xmas tree, and I can decorate early next week. Still pondering how best to secure it from two cats and a 7-month-old… can I just place it INSIDE a pack’n’play?

    Reply
      1. Sparkly Librarian*

        My friend’s noodle kugel is served at all major holidays she hosts. It is my primary experience with kugel, and after 10 years+ it is my ideal. Beautiful buttery cornflake topping.

        Reply
    1. Sparkly Librarian*

      Oops! Just realized I forgot a key item that I said I’d bring to the family Thanksgiving. I think it would be better to swing by a grocery store tomorrow after our movie matinee, but wife is set on going out into the fray tonight. *sigh*

      Reply
    2. Jarissa*

      I wish you SO MUCH good luck with the tree and the cats.
      For about a decade and change, I had a “tree” that consisted of 3 artificial wreaths of increasing sizes, tied to hang each from the next-smallest above it via those giant Christmas ribbons one can pick up for decorating your front tree or porch or whatever, and suspended the whole thing from the living room chandelier. I had to use battery-operated lights and *not* use any fragile ornaments anyhow, and every year hope like anything that it looked “Artsy” rather than “why are there three green pancakes stacked up in the air?”

      And the reason for all this: Marco the Eldest Cat would coax one of the two half-St Bernard “cats” to come help boost Marco up to reach the lowest-hanging tier anyhow. The dogs were willing to go along with any plan a cat proposed because faaaaaaaaaaamily, you know. And Marco liked to yank off the plastic “pine needles” and eat them. No matter how I yelled or put cayenne pepper on it. I kept inching that wreath stack up a little higher, and a little higher, until finally I figured out something too high for the cat to reach from atop the dog’s back.

      Marco and the dogs have all gone on, so a couple of years ago I tried out a more normal tree. So far, the remaining cat likes to lay under it and stare at us, and that’s it. No climbing, no eating. But I’m not going to recycle those wreaths until I’m absolutely sure!

      Reply
    3. NoLongerYoung*

      For sure, you can put the tree inside the play pen. For about 10 years of childhoods in my family, the tree was either in the playpen, or on the (enclosed) front porch, so that we could see but not climb on it. That was just to protect it from siblings, no pets.

      Reply
    4. Tau*

      So I have no idea what kugel is except that it’s German for “sphere” and let me tell you, the mental images I am getting here are wild.

      (But how do you get the noodles into the right shape? how would you even serve it?!)

      Reply
    5. AmyRo*

      Hang it from the ceiling! I did this once with our naked, post-Christmas tree, and my mom just about died laughing. (I am not sure what inspired me, but this involved hauling it up outside a window via a homemade pully system). For the next few years we just got a smaller tree and hung it a few feet off the ground.

      Reply
    6. Free Range Hippy Chick*

      Yes. When the Chicklets were young, we always put the Christmas tree inside the playpen. Then the cat (who didn’t interfere with the tree, so YMMV) would slide between the bars and sit under the tree to be away from the Chicklets’ grabbing hands.

      Reply
  41. Sleepless*

    Normally I love Thanksgiving! I was so looking forward to it this year, until one very close family member inexplicably started an email fight out of nowhere with another close family member. And won’t let it drop. And the one targeted tried to at least call a truce for the holidays, but I don’t think it worked. So that’s who we’re going to see tomorrow. Come on, people. It wasn’t a big family to start with and we’ve had a series of losses in the last few years, do we have to do this?

    Reply
  42. Phil*

    I don’t have a rant but a funny story. Growing up my parents had a pretty formal Thanksgiving dinner, 20 people or so, both sets of grandparents but not much other family. My father was an only child and my mother had 3 sisters but only one in the area and she was gay, so mostly friends. And it was the 50s so plenty of liquid refreshments were served. Well, Grandpa carved the turkey on a sideboard and when he turned around to ask someone what he wanted our giant Persian cat, Chauncey, leapt up on the sideboard, grabbed the turkey, big because 20 people, and had it halfway out of the dining room before my grandfather knew what happened. Needless to say, not much turkey that Thanksgiving.

    Reply
      1. The Francher Kid*

        For some reason, size doesn’t seem to matter to cats stealing poultry. I had a tiny Siamese (5.5 lb) steal a chicken I had just roasted that I was about to carve. The chicken was a larger roaster, right around 7 lb, and it didn’t seem to slow him down one bit! I miss that cat, he was a character.

        Reply
    1. londonedit*

      Amazing! Go Chauncey :D

      It was just an ordinary weekend evening, not Christmas or anything, but our late cat Molly once – at the age of 19, no less – jumped up on to the kitchen counter to have a go at a chicken carcass that was sitting on a carving plate. We’d all just finished eating, and we heard a noise from the kitchen. Everyone looked puzzled and my mum said ‘What on earth is that? It can’t be the cat…!’ Sure enough, we peeked round the door and there was Molly, happily gnawing away at a bit of chicken. She hadn’t done any jumping whatsoever for about three years at this point, but that chicken must have been too good to resist!

      Reply
    2. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

      A few years ago my dog stole a cooling pumpkin pie off the counter and licked all the custard out of it – without so much as a tooth scratch in the pastry crust. I was by turns impressed and irked :)

      Reply
      1. Stephanie*

        I decided to test a new pie recipe once before a holiday. I left it cooling on the kitchen counter, and the dog ate the center–and only the center–out of the pie. I was pretty mad, but also kind of amused.

        Reply
  43. Dr. Doll*

    I have a firm policy that I simply Do Not Fly for Thanksgiving, so I will miss my own extended family who live on the other coast. Instead we’ll go see my husband’s brother and daughter and their families, who are all lovely. It will be a very nice time and I’m looking forward to it.

    I did take a cake to class today and it was great. We all had a fun time and I *think* some learning actually occurred as well.

    Reply
    1. Asenath*

      “I don’t like to travel on major winter holidays” reduced my Christmas stress for decades, although it’s been a long time since any of the older generation I might have flown to visit then have been alive. I did do road trips to my grandparents, though, but flying?? Everything is so crowded! And it’s so chancy!! Bad weather is so common!! A single delayed flight (I do not live near a major hub) on one of the connections, and I’ll be spending the time in airports waiting for a new connection and if I get late back to work I’ll lose pay…”. Nope, not a traveller during major holidays.

      Reply
  44. Gaia*

    Home visiting family. My grampa gave me a bumper sticker for the 2020 election. We….don’t agree on politics or whether or not stickers belong on cars.

    Sigh. This will be a long few days.

    Reply
    1. A Tired Queer*

      Oof, best of luck! You could always leave the sticker somewhere discreet where they’ll find it much later! (This suggestion is only half joking)

      Reply
      1. Gaia*

        I handed it back and said “no. For somany reasons.”

        He knows I have Strong Feelings about both this monster of a person AND bumper stickers.

        Reply
        1. Rebecca*

          I’m not sure which I’m more against, bumper stickers or that person. Honestly, it’s a toss up. My first thought was to put it on the inside of one of the toilet lids in the house, so every time he has to use the facilities, he sees that sticker.

          Reply
  45. Lauren*

    I had some extra vacation time, so I headed up Toronto. (I feel guilty, but my family is doing different things- my sister will be by her in-laws, the rest do things with their in-laws, etc.) I just wanted to get away from things and explore a new place.

    Reply
    1. Asenath*

      I’ve always liked Toronto – I lived there once, long ago, and have visited frequently although alas not recently. There’s lots to see and do, it’s dead easy for even a visitor to get around on public transportation, and I don’t care what people say, I’ve always found the people there friendly.

      Reply
  46. Maxie*

    I work for myself , at home, so while I have to work; my own procrastination is to blame. My family is my young teen daughter and myself. We’re vegaterian and fell into pesto ravioli a few years ago. We’ll have that with garlic green beans, sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce from the can withtout feeling guilty and an apple pie form the supermarket bakery. My daughter makes a good pesto sauce, but we went from usinh a blender one year to different food processors other years, none of which worked well. The blender took forever and in the food processors, stuff got stuck underneath the blades and didn’t get cut. This year I bought a coffee grinder and hope that works. It’s really just a very small food processor. Of course no guarantee that my daughter won’t start a fight or 10 just to ruin things for me.

    Reply
    1. Jules the 3rd*

      My mom’s go to phrase was, ‘you might live to see 13. maybe.’ Done deadpan. What I’m figuring out with my extremely troll-ish tween boy is that not getting irritated / angry is the key. Subterfuge and misdirection and giving them some harmless drama can be useful.

      For example: He plays trombone, and had to play Baby Shark for a parade a couple of weeks ago. I had never heard of this song, and was curious, so I looked up the lyrics. They are… so lame. I went on (and on!), in highly theatrical tones, about how pointless and lame these lyrics were, and who ever even thought up this crappy song. To my kid who thinks RickRolling is the highest form of entertainment. I knew I was setting up yesterday’s trolling session, where he tried to sing Baby Shark over and over and over to irritate me. He was… confused… when I not only joined in, loudly, but started a little dancing in the parking lot. He was thoughtful when I said, ‘remember the advice about not letting a bully see you get mad? it works on trolls too…’

      So if there’s some subject that doesn’t really bug you, but you can plausibly pretend that it does, try it, and then enjoy when she tries to start the drama. Play up some, and then deflate with a surrealist response. Parents deserve the fun, and kids need the reminders that they are not actually the center of the universe, that life is going on outside their heads.

      Reply
  47. Mary (in PA)*

    I am waiting for the husband to get home so he can begin baking bread, which will be our contribution to tomorrow’s meal. But before we can eat tomorrow, we have to celebrate my sister’s master’s certificate, complete with a graduation ceremony – so I have to dig my own master’s regalia out of the closet and fold the programs. (I made programs.)

    Reply
  48. Ali G*

    We host Hubs’ family and I love it. I’ve spent too much time sitting in traffic on I-95 so I am happy to swap the hosting duties for traveling. It’s going to interesting – we just finished a remodel with all new furniture on the main living space, so everyone has to hang out in the basement. It’s finished, comfy and a large screen TV. We’ll have space for the kids to play games, etc. and the adults can relax. My FIL has spilled beer in my house every time he’s visited to he is not allowed near my new sofa :)

    Reply
  49. Tara R.*

    tw: abuse

    It’s not a holiday for me, but I am also experiencing holiday-related anxiety as I am anticipating heading home for Xmas holidays in a couple weeks. Me and my dad have been in a weird limbo since I called CPS on him towards the end of the summer. We ended up having it out over the phone last month, but it didn’t get too vicious, and he’s texted me a few pleasantries since then. I don’t know if I want to visit him while I’m home, but I’m definitely going to end up running into him here and there. I don’t know what to plan for. The gf’s kids are still in the home, and honestly I’m extremely disappointed in the process that I saw. CPS called my dad before they talked to the kid directly, and I think based on a few things he said during our argument I think that he told everyone to lie.

    I feel like I should try to get back on visiting terms so that I can keep an eye on what’s going on. With that being said, I’m sure my dad wouldn’t tell me if there were any more incidents and I don’t think the kid would ever say anything of his own accord (apparently he’s pretty angry with me for betraying his confidence :/). And given that they live in an isolated area with no public transit and I don’t drive, I’m really not keen on the idea of getting trapped into an argument that I can’t get out of easily.

    When I decided to call, I was pretty sure that it wasn’t going to actually change anything, and was just going to result in losing what little influence I had over my dad’s behaviour towards the kids. I feel like that’s exactly what has happened. I guess I can hope that knowing he’s on the radar will make him behave better. I don’t know. I’m sad and I don’t have anybody to talk to about any of this. The wait times for my university’s counselling are long, and you can’t make an initial appointment online, so you have to go and sit in the waiting room and hope that you eventually get in to see someone, and then wait weeks for another appointment. Never mind that I have class and work and it’s finals season. I’m hanging in there though. Trying to keep my mind off of things by marathoning the Great British Bake Off. Happy Thanksgiving to all the Americans out there!

    Reply
    1. Sleve McDichael*

      That all sounds terribly difficult Tara. It also sounds like you did what you could. The outcome is not your fault. Thoughts/prayers/good wishes/jedi hugs from a stranger if you want them.

      On a happier note, yay for Great British Bake Off!

      Reply
      1. Tara R.*

        Thank you.

        It’s sooooo good. I watched the most recent season (well, the second most recent season? I guess Canada is a year behind?) and I immediately went back and started watching from season 1. Having watched a somewhat unholy number of cooking competition shows, I love the format of it happening on the weekends, and I love that they’re allowed to practice! It’s just so much more pleasant than something where they’re all cooped up for weeks on end and there’s endless drama and fighting.

        Reply
        1. londonedit*

          If you can get Junior Bake Off, I’d thoroughly recommend watching that. Not sure if you can, as the series just finished on Channel 4 here, but it was brilliant. The kids were all fantastic, not precocious or annoying but just having loads of fun, and the judges didn’t spare them any criticism (it was all constructive, but still, they’d certainly let them know if something wasn’t right). And they all worked so well together and helped each other out if someone was struggling. It was so good!

          Reply
    2. Jules the 3rd*

      That really sucks, but your recommendation is going to make me check out GBBO this weekend.

      On a practical note: don’t get stuck there without transportation. See if there’s a car-driving friend who can come with you.

      The kid is angry now, but hopefully will appreciate that you’re trying to make it better in the long run.

      Reply
  50. Jojo*

    I “adopted” a family for this Thanksgiving; it is the first time I have done such volunteer work for Thanksgiving. All the information I was given is that it is a single man with a young boy. That in some ways made it trickier to plan, because so much turkey is massive, and children can be picky. …

    I finally decided to try to make things as simple as possible, because he’s both single and because who knows how much cooking he does (maybe he’s a chef, who knows, I really based a lot of this on my own single days). So I chose a Honey Baked Ham quarter ham, which just stays in the fridge and is sooo good; I did get him a turkey — but went with a turkey breast that goes directly from the freezer to the oven, is already seasoned and in a cooking bag, and is done in about 2.5 hours. I got him a disposable pan for this and a thermometer. I hope it’s okay.

    The rest is largely based on what is easy and what a young child might like: Big Stouffers macaroni and cheese, Sister Schubert parker house rolls, Bob Evans mashed potatoes, baked beans to go with the ham, real butter. I did get basic stuffing and cranberry sauce and gravy and I did get things like boxes of cornbread mix and brownie mix and chocolate icing and the disposable pans. I got a bag of powdered donuts, just because, breakfast maybe? And his young boy. I stuck in a Black Panther action figure.

    I also got him a $100 gift card, partly because I wanted him to have the option to pick whatever vegetables that his child might actually eat, or the kind of pie they really want, or the right sandwhich bread for leftovers. Or, a pizza night the night before, a trip to the movies, something for Black Friday, whatever. Making all these decisions and putting it all together has taken up the past few weekends and it was a real pleasure.

    Reply
    1. Diahann Carroll*

      Jojo, that all sounds awesome, especially the gift card so they can go and buy whatever else they may need for the holidays. Who knows – maybe that will cover their Christmas as well?

      Reply
    2. Late to the game*

      Gosh, if people in the program I volunteer with were even a quarter as thoughtful as you there’d be a lot of happier, fuller bellies tomorrow.

      Yes Karen, mini-marshamallows are on sale for fifty cents. They’re called a LOSS LEADER. Could you spent half of your twenty dollar marshmallow donation on butter, milk, and potatoes?

      I know, I know, all giving is good, but it gets depressing handing out thanksgiving boxes that are the equivalent of the bottom of the dented can bin. Thank you for being so thoughtful and thorough.

      Reply
  51. UbiCaritas*

    Kids are home and I made homemade rolls. I tried to make “fancy ass” rolls with a crack, but when they rose, the crack disappeared. The rolls were delicious, however, fancy ass or not.

    Reply
    1. Marthooh*

      I tried to make fancy-ass cranberry nut bread, but the bottom stuck in the pan and had to be scraped out and stuck back on the loaf. Now I guess it’s just cheap-ass cranberry bread. Still delicious, though ;)

      Reply
    2. Dr Wizard, PhD*

      I am giggling childishly at the concept that a ‘fancy ass’ needs to have a crack, and refuse to apologise for it.

      Reply
  52. Big Bird*

    We always host Thanksgiving because we have the biggest house, and it is no trouble for me because I’d much rather host than travel even a relatively short distance. This is a REAL email that I got yesterday from my sister-in-law. It is relevant that she weighs 450-500 pounds or more, has multiple health problems and great difficulty walking. She has broken furniture (and a toilet) in the past. She ‘cc’d her parents on this email, and they are mortified.

    “I very much appreciate being invited to attend Thanksgiving festivities, but judging by the last time, being in Sansa’s and and Tyrion’s home has become so awkward, crowded, and fragile, that I hardly dare move, especially when Sansa’s family joins us. I think the stress would be much reduced if I bow out of all that. I can deal with not tripping over the dog and everything scattered all over the floor, and waiting repeatedly for people to get out of my way, and carefully planning so that I do not need to navigate to the bathrooms that still work, but between the folding chairs and unstable table and not enough places I can sit in the living room and the hard-to-exit couch, their home has just become too difficult for me to navigate indoors. I am sad because I enjoy Thanksgiving. If there is a turkey, can someone please email me a picture of it?”

    My comments, which I can’t tell her because it would hurt her parents too much:

    The dog is 12 and does nothing except wait under the table for scraps or sit on your lap on the couch.
    She is a hoarder and her house is a firetrap, and I don’t know what is scattered all over OUR floor except our shoes at the door.
    The people who can’t get out of her way are her 90 year-old parents and my 90 year-old mother. 2 of them use walkers and they are not having any trouble avoiding the dog or dodging whatever is scattered all over the floor.
    We have 4 bathrooms. 3 work and 1 is being renovated. The nearest working bathroom is on the first floor down 4 steps which are equipped with handrails on both sides.
    The folding chairs have a weight limit of 250 pounds. She is almost twice that.
    She leaned hard on the edge of the dining room table the last time she was here, almost upended it, and broke one of my wine glasses as a result. The “unstable” table was not meant for that.
    The hard-to-exit couch is just your basic couch. But you need functioning knees to be able to get up from it.

    We have tried really hard over the years to include her even though she drives us all crazy, but I think now I have a reason to stop inviting her to things.

    Reply
    1. WS*

      If she is having trouble at your house, isn’t it better that she acknowledges this and bows out? Someone with mobility issues not wanting to lean on an unstable table and not wanting to sit on folding chairs or a couch that gives her trouble sound pretty sensible to me!

      Reply
      1. Diahann Carroll*

        Her letter was passive-aggressive and unnecessary. She could have just said, “I’m sorry, but I’m going to have to pass this year.” Instead, she sent everyone an email where she basically insinuates OP’s house is a dirty mess with shit strewn all over the place and implied that all of her very real issues were the result of OP and her partner’s shoddy furniture and bathroom accommodations. I’d be highly annoyed by this email, too. The sister-in-law is a trip.

        Reply
      2. Late to the game*

        But, per OP, the table and seating accommodations aren’t actually problematic, it is how SIL navigates them that causes problems. There are no dining tables in the world (maybe the hardcore metal ones used on Navy ships?) that will not lean or crack when 500 pounds is leaned against it, and if SIL needs a special chair to accommodate her medical issues she can request one or provide one herself if the request can’t be met. But to insinuate that the house is a death trap strewn with rubbish and a rampaging dog is passive aggressive overkill.

        If ninety year olds in walkers are safely navigating the home, it is fairly accessible. If SIL has CONSTRUCTIVE ways to deal with her limitations, like “I need to sit in the recliner because it is easier for me to get up” or “can we have a signal when dinner is about to be ready so I can be one of the first to seat myself comfortably at the table” or “I’m having a neighbor bring by my ergonomic, weight bearing chair so I can sit comfortably- can someone plan to discretely move it to the dining table right around when we switch rooms” or even “I know we all normally eat buffet style but that’s not reasonable for me to do with my physical limitations- any chance of a sit down or mostly plated meal? or could someone make me a plate discretely?” then there’s a good chance something can be done, but SIL isn’t looking for solutions, just throwing shade.

        Reply
    2. Cathie from Canada*

      As someone also overweight and also with bad knees, I am sympathetic to the problems of getting up from couches and chairs, also how difficult it can be to use stairs. My bad knee stiffens up when I am sitting for any length of time, so that when I go to stand up I sometimes need to lean on something to help me get up, and I also have difficulty using a toilet if there is no grab bar or counter nearby. When I go into a room, I immediately have to evaluate the available seating and figure out what might work for me.
      That said, her email was hostile, rude and unnecessarily insulting. Its too bad she didn’t talk to you directly about her mobility difficulties and ask for your help on figuring out solutions — like, for example,seeing if you could set aside a stronger chair for her, with arms and a higher seat, that she could use in the living room and also at the table.
      I wonder if it might still be possible to talk to her, or for her parents to talk to her, with the idea of helping her in finding solutions rather than just assigning blame.

      Reply
    3. JKP*

      I’m sorry, but if I weighed that much, I would probably bring my own chair that I knew would hold my weight. I looked on Amazon, and they do have portable foldable camping chairs that are rated for 500lb+. She sounds like someone who likes to play the victim.

      Reply
      1. Big Bird*

        Thanks to all for the moral support. While I felt the need to “vent” last night I am very careful to not say anything to her or to her her parents, who are terribly upset about the path her life has taken. She was always proudly making comments such as [to any new doctor] “I do not need you to tell me I am fat. My mother can tell me that.” Every time she developed a medical issue, such as high BP, a dissected coronary artery, an aortic aneurysm, sleep apnea, or Type II diabetes, she would complain that doctors immediately proposed losing weight as one of the solutions. She does not believe in bariatric surgery because (among other things) it means she would never be able to drink carbonated beverages again and she would have to take special vitamins. I wish I were making this up. She is chronically unemployed.

        I guess the morals of the story are that almost all of us have at least one problematic family member; we can’t choose our biological families, and for many of us, major holidays are not automatically the happy occasions that all the ads try to sell us. But we can choose how to deal with it all. My husband and I are serving a very traditional dinner to family and 4 recent acquaintances for whom this will be their first American Thanksgiving. I find that having non-family in the mix puts everyone on their best behavior! Happy Thanksgiving to all who observe it–and this site is one of the things I am thankful for!

        Reply
    4. Rebecca*

      Oh my goodness! I agree with the sentiment above “oh, sorry we’ll miss you” and move on. And no, don’t send a picture of the turkey. But if she’s close, maybe someone could put together a plate for her. Sighs.

      Reply
    5. Not So NewReader*

      You do realize that your inclusive behavior tramples all over her victimhood and diminishes her victimhood, right?

      If you ditched the dog and the 90 year old people and screwed the table to the floor with 6 inch screws there would STILL be problems. She’d find something for sure.

      When people seem not to be satisfied it is because their upset has nothing to do with what you are talking about currently.

      I would seriously consider calling her out on this BUT I would do it by going right into the thick of it with her.
      I’d be sure to hit reply to all.
      “Oh, SIL, I am so sorry to hear you had such difficulty at our home. I would be happy to work with you to find solutions for each of these difficulties and we can use email to do it. Unfortunately, TG is lost this year. But let’s start now to build a good plan for next year. Let’s go through each item you mention here and figure out what we will do differently. Where would you like us to start?”

      I will bet my last chocolate donut you won’t hear a single word from her. She’s not interested in solutions, she’s only interested in whining.
      But you have put the ball in her court where it is up to her to bring her brain to the table and start to figure out what is workable. You can settle back and wait for that reply email that will never come.

      My wise friend turned me on to this solution. When people are being ridiculous, go into it with them and let them work it through for themselves. People who actually want to find solutions don’t use drama to provoke change. They get change to happen through conversation and questions.

      My husband had 8 breaks in his spine. He was very good at figuring out what was needed so he could do something. He could clearly state, “If you put this chair next to me then I can do xyz.” I’d move the chair and sure enough he was able to do xyz. He participated in finding solutions to work around his encumbrances. See he understood something really important. He understood that living in his own home and living on his own was a privilege not a given to be taken for granted. He knew that if he said, “I can’t!” too many times, the answer would eventually be, “Then you can’t live in your own home. You have to go where there are more people to take care of you.” He consistently participated in finding ways to make things work in all aspects of his life. He stayed home here to the end.
      If the list of things we cannot do gets too long, then people around us won’t be able to attend to all these problems we are having. And that is a reality that your SIL is not seeing at the moment. It’s okay to insist that she participate in helping to find solutions to whatever the current issue is.

      Reply
  53. Humor Mike*

    I am absolutely thrilled to have nothing planned for the next 4 days. I will be home watching Hallmark movies and doing some writing. Hopefully, I will also do some reading. In four days, I will leave the house for the first time, slap on some Febreeze, and head back to the office. Yeah. That’s the plan!

    Reply
    1. OyHiOh*

      Yup, same here. Write, read a book, knit a scarf.

      My youngest (age 7 so young but not unheard of) got her first migraine headache today so nursing her back to normal bubbly self is at the top of the list as well.

      Reply
      1. Suznque*

        I have had migraines since about that age. I am 68 now. It is great that you are aware of what it is, as it took years for my diagnosis. Now you can be sensitive to a pattern.

        Reply
      2. Adultiest Adult*

        Thank you for recognizing that even children can get migraines, and for being so supportive of your daughter. I had my first migraine sometime before the age of 7 and spent years trying to get proper treatment, which included getting doctors to believe me. I wish the best for you and your daughter, and may she recover quickly.

        Reply
      3. OyHiOh*

        “thankfully” she has classic symptoms. It’s really hard to dismiss pain behind eyes plus light and sound sensitivity, and nausea. I’ll get an appointment for her after the holiday so we can get medical documentation. And I’m pretty sure I know what her triggers were last night so that’s helpful knowledge too.

        Reply
  54. Bob Ross*

    Removed because this is a non-work thread, but there will be a Thanksgiving open thread tomorrow (both work and non-work) if you’d like to post there!

    Reply
  55. Jaid*

    Regional Rail R7 was packed with people heading towards Trenton and on to New York, instead of taking Amtrak. For the day before Christmas, I’m leaving early and getting on the train by Reading Terminal, so I can get a decent seat.

    For TDay itself, I’m bringing over apple pie purchased from MANNA (a meals on wheels program) and my parents are getting Boston Market.

    I’m planning on a relaxing weekend.

    Reply
  56. Mac & cheese please*

    It’s my first holiday without my mother (she passed away in March). I’m trying to remain positive and put on a brave face. I will be spending the day with my aunt and cousins tomorrow. I have a very large family and received many invitations for the holidays. I’m very lucky in that regard. I feel bad for wanting to spend the day alone, but I would love to just stay home, cook macaroni and cheese, snuggle on the couch with my favorite blanket and watch Harry Potter films. But I’ll do my best around the family tomorrow. I do have to work on Friday so I’ll have an easy excuse for making an early exit at the family gathering tomorrow.

    Reply
    1. A Tired Queer*

      First holidays after losses are really hard! Wishing you the best, both in the gathering with your family and in your quest for some peace and quiet afterwards!

      Reply
    2. Sleve McDichael*

      Thoughts/prayers/good wishes/jedi hugs to you if you want them. Don’t feel bad about leaving early if you have to. Much love from an internet stranger <3

      Reply
    3. MommaCat*

      My sympathies. My mother passed away a few days ago after a long illness; we hadn’t spent Thanksgiving together for about 5 years. The first holiday without her was really hard, but got easier. I don’t know if today will be easier or harder. Take one step at a time, or even one moment at a time. Don’t drink too much if you’re worried about crying; I actually had a couple glasses of wine last night to help me let go enough for a good sob. I’ll toast to your mom while toasting mine. <3

      Reply
    4. Not So NewReader*

      Good for you for going. I am guessing that Aunt is your mom’s sis? Maybe it makes her feel like she still has part of her sis around to have you around.
      I hope did leave early and got in some quality time to rebuild your own self. And I hope today went better than you thought it would.

      Reply
    5. Loves Libraries*

      First holiday without a parent. My dad passed away in August and my mom a few years earlier. Last year I thought that daddy might not be able to get out for thanksgiving again, but I didn’t think he would go downhill so fast. It’s what he would have wanted.

      Reply
  57. Director of Alpaca Exams*

    My kid has a cold, at that stage where the fever is mostly down and they’re bouncing off the walls but not up for going out to run around in the playground, and my partner has a migraine.

    This is still way better than the Thanksgiving we spent in the ER with a head-injured toddler and the Thanksgiving we spent in the ER with my eight-months-pregnant partner (whose allergy symptoms happened to look a lot like liver failure symptoms) but it’s not ideal. I’m glad we’ve generally given up on making Thanksgiving plans because of the aforementioned adventures, so now when our Thanksgiving goes to hell it’s just a Thursday going to hell.

    Reply
    1. Daisy Avalin*

      One Christmas morning when I was a teen, we were all on the farm (smallholding down the road and out of sight of the house) seeing to the animals, as is necessary since animals don’t care what day it is! We had an open fire heating system in the house, and had started the fire before we went down to the field, so that the house would be warm when we got back to get ready to head over to Grandma’s.
      A neighbour came bellowing down the farm track, he’d had to ring the fire brigade because there were flames shooting out of our chimney!! We rushed home, and had the fire out before the fire brigade arrived, but Dad* was not happy that they insisted on hosing down the chimney and thus scattering soot all over the living room.

      *Tbf, it was Dad’s fault that the soot in the chimney caught fire, as he’d not got round to sweeping the chimney that winter!

      Reply
  58. A Tired Queer*

    I’m staying at home with my roommates for a day of “oh geez we all have ADHD and/or depression and we’re still going to attempt to make a holiday meal happen”! It will be stressful, there may be smoke alarms, but at the end of the day there will be dinner and wine and found family, and honestly I couldn’t ask for a better way to spend the holiday! :)

    Reply
      1. A Tired Queer*

        They made two pies last night! Mincemeat, which I’ve never had before and am very excited to try, and something else – not sure what because last I heard they were arguing over whether to make apple or pumpkin. But! If nothing else works out, we will have pie!

        Reply
  59. Nicki Name*

    After reading all the stories about people’s horrible uncles, I just want to give a shout-out to my awesome, non-bigoted, baby boomer geek uncle. We don’t have extended family get-togethers anymore since the family is scattered all over the country, and I wish I got to see him more! #NotAllUncles

    Reply
  60. Filosofickle*

    For twenty years I traveled for holidays, and I am ever so grateful I don’t have to anymore. (My parents retired an hour away and and my SO’s folks live even closer. I have a teeny family, so no cousins or aunts or grandparents to coordinate.)

    Also thankful that my Mom is willing to do Makeup Thanksgiving on Sunday. My dad makes a killer smoked turkey that I did not want to miss, but my SO’s mom is not flexible and we HAVE to be at their house for Turkey Day. To be fair, my partner wants to be there too. Thanksgiving and Christmas are the only times he sees his extended family. But my family shouldn’t always be the one to compromise!

    My parents are excellent cooks and that meal will make up for the lousy food his family serves. He’s bored at my parent’s quiet, sports-free house, and I’m stressed by his family’s chaos and disorganization. We both do our best to navigate verrrry different family cultures.

    I’m busy baking pecan squares today for his fam. And a sweet potato pecan pie is on deck for mine. Yay for rainy day baking :)

    Reply
    1. Anono-me*

      Can you start the day at your sweetie’s parents and then head over to your parents in the mid afternoon? (You’ll have something to look forward to and he will have gotten his sports fix.)

      Reply
      1. Filosofickle*

        My parents aren’t doing any Thanksgiving on Thursday! They’re actually waiting for us to have it on Saturday.

        Both families have dinner at “dinner time” so there’s not an easy way to combine them. Mom would rather just delay Thanksgiving til another day since it’s just my parents, me, and my partner. Separating them takes up more days, but each one is less intense.

        Reply
        1. Cher Horowitz*

          I’m just a random internet stranger but I wanted to say your family is so gracious and loving to adjust like this every year and that smoked turkey and your desserts sound delicious!
          Happy Thanksgiving!

          Reply
    2. Filosofickle*

      Ruh roh. Every year his mom says “please come at 3, we want to eat around 5”. He and I show up at 3 but most others roll in hours later. We eat at 6 or 7.

      So he promised we’d go at 4 or 5, no matter what they said. Yay! Why should we show up early when no one else is? But his mom just called and asked us to come at 3. We’re going to arrive at 3. Sigh.

      Reply
  61. Alexandra Lynch*

    My Thanksgiving has been exploded by my boyfriend having a psychotic break. He will not be home for Thanksgiving. I am eating the Thanksgiving foods (I had the turkey thawed, I might as well cook it) with his parents and my girlfriend/our roommate, as planned, but it will not be the wonderful meal we had planned. We are all very sad and shocked by what happened, and we all want to do the best for him. As I was injured when it happened, we are going to have to do some hard talking about mental health and how to not have this happen again. I am spending the evening with hot packs on a black eye to try to get it to go away faster.

    Reply
    1. The Gollux, Not a Mere Device*

      *sympathy* from this internet stranger. I hope you, your parents, and your girlfriend can take care of each other.

      Reply
    2. Sleve McDichael*

      You’re so brave! And doing such a good job. Stay safe and take care of your own mental health too.
      Your choice of thoughts/prayers/good wishes/jedi hugs from a stranger if you want them.

      Reply
  62. Lucy Preston*

    I may often hate my job, but I love my electric pressure cooker. Carrots for carrot souffle softened under pressure in 6 minutes instead of an hour boiling on the stove. Everything’s all mixed up, just have to throw it in the oven tomorrow.

    Reply
  63. Sled dog mama*

    We’re at the in laws and the holiday has not gotten off to a good start. Hubby hit a pothole and blew out the sidewall on a tire 10 minutes into the drive this morning. We got super lucky and a guy from the local tire shop stopped to help. Got the spare on and to the shop. They don’t stock the tires we needed other local place didn’t either. Can’t get a new one until Monday and no way we can make the 750 mile round trip with a max speed of 50 mph. Back to the house and switch vehicles. We finally got on the road 2 hours late. Kiddo refused to sleep at all on the six hour drive.
    Mother in law is as hyped up as ever. Both can ever be simple with her.
    So far I’ve avoided her temper but she yelled at Father in law for dropping a dish. Very loud we could all hear from the next room. All in this case was me, kiddo and two nephews who were pretty embarrassed by it.
    She indulges whatever Kiddo wants and kiddo exploits that as hard as she can so hubby and I will spend the next week dealing with a defiant Kiddo who wants everything her way.
    So glad we are seeing the functional side of the family at Christmas.

    Reply
    1. Sled dog mama*

      And now she’s started in on “the blacks” and how easily offended they are. Please send me strength that I don’t snap at her for hubby’s sake, he’s having trouble not snapping because of how offensive what she said was.

      Reply
      1. fposte*

        I vote wholeheartedly to let hubby snap at her. Why should she go unsnapped at for that, and of the two of you, it’s definitely his job.

        Reply
        1. Sled dog mama*

          We’ve tried, I wish it did anything. Fortunately she has now kicked us all out of the kitchen so she can cook so I get to hang out with my nephews (and go 4 wheeling) while hubby helps his dad with some things.

          Reply
  64. All Of Us*

    Just flying by to scream into the void. I AM SO TENSE AND NEED MORE WINE BUT WILL BE JUDGED IF I DO SO CANNOT.

    As you were.

    Reply
    1. Filosofickle*

      My partner doesn’t drink. Across his parents and siblings, a few are sober, a few drink, but never at holiday gatherings. I hardly ever drink around him 00 and definitely not around them — and it’s usually not a problem, but geez nothing makes me want to drink like being at one of their holidays! But I can’t! My partner’s nieces always have wine so it will be there and I will be coveting it tomorrow.

      Hope you find your peace. Or another drink and DGAF.

      Reply
  65. Tea.Earl Grey. Hot.*

    Removed because this is a non-work thread, but there will be a Thanksgiving open thread tomorrow (both work and non-work) if you’d like to post there!

    Reply
  66. Anon Here*

    I just have to say . . . I love the Marky Mark poster!

    As for my Thanksgiving, I’m alone and I have mixed feelings about it. I posted last weekend about some family stuff. Basically, things with my parents are hard and so I don’t see them very often. They also live about a five hour drive away (in different cities). And Thanksgiving can be kind of weird. I don’t like turkey or cranberry sauce. The holiday basically combines a lot of foods I’m not really into. I figure I can make that drive to see each of my parents another time. When there are fewer people on the roads.

    I have family here in NYC. I grew up spending a lot of time with them. I thought we were all pretty close. But things have been weirder in recent years. My uncle seems kind of judgmental of me, although it’s hard to point to one reason. The kid of his who I haven’t seen in years is in town and they didn’t invite me over for TG dinner. Instead, we’re going to hang out over the weekend.

    It’s weird because I kind of grew up here and I have family here, but I’m still a Thanksgiving orphan. I’ve been a Thanksgiving orphan for a solid decade or two. But I spent most of those Thanksgivings farther from family. Now I’m in the city my family comes from and I still spend holidays alone.

    So I’m speculating on why I’m getting this vibe from my uncle (and aunt too, maybe?). I can’t ask them directly; that’s just not within the nature of our relationship. Anyway, I think it’s because things are strained within my immediate family. Or maybe my mom told him things about me that aren’t true (she does that sometimes). Or maybe it’s because I’m not married, I don’t have a better job, I don’t have kids, I might be queer, I live an artistic kind of life, I have tattoos, I’m not super well off financially . . . Who knows.

    What I decided: I like myself. Other people like me. If I’m not good enough for those relatives, neither are the vast, vast majority of people. So I’m going fo go out and find other Thanksgiving orphans and spread good cheer. The dog and I will walk around with art, looking festive and sharing my creations and his canine affection.

    It’s for the best. If they had invited me, I’d probably be dreading it. It’s just the rejection-ish element that sucks. Family. It’s never easy.

    Reply
    1. DawnShadow*

      Anon Here, you sound like an absolutely lovely person. From experience, can I just say that my heart aches that in your musings about why your family acts this way, all you can think of how you might be inadequate or what you might have done wrong. Please, for the holidays, give some thought that maybe there is nothing whatever wrong with you and the problem is with these people you happen to be related to.

      Some families get so stressed out and resentful especially around holidays, and have no healthy ways to relieve it, that they take out their feelings on a scapegoat. They need to make someone else feel small so they can feel bigger.

      It was freeing the day I realized there was literally nothing I could do that my family would consider “right.” Every option would be the wrong choice because I was the one doing (or not doing) it. They actually needed me to be wrong more than they needed the help, or love, or kind words, or anything I tried to offer. That way, if I was wrong, they could be right.

      It is totally okay to decide, yourself, that being treated this way is not for you. And to realize that there is nothing wrong with you at all. This is on them. Best wishes for a lovely Thanksgiving with wonderful company in yourself and your dog, and I think your idea about spreading love with your art sounds amazing!

      Reply
      1. Anon Here*

        Thank you!

        It’s weird because this is the aunt-uncle-cousins family we always spent Thanksgiving with when I was growing up.

        There have always been some tensions, but I thought it was more between them and my parents.

        My uncle had a financially oriented job and they live in a very expensive area. I grew up in a different mid-Atlantic city. My home city is predominantly African-American and working class – with a strong arts culture that is only just beginning to get the recognition it deserves. My mother was an artist and my father was a researcher/professor. We were not financially oriented; we were intellectuals who prioritized our contributions to the world over income. So I have this perception that the NYC relatives think I’m “from the wrong side of the tracks,” and, “not good enough,” for their neighborhood. I could be wrong. There could be other reasons. They might just want time to themselves as a family. So I’m not really blaming them, but it brings up a lot of questions and weird memories.

        I’m trying to set all of that aside and just live in the moment. And I kind of enjoy the thought that I’m not acceptable in their neighborhood because it is known for being posh and snooty, and I would rather be around, um, the rest of humanity. I don’t judge people for living there; I think it has its good points. But it doesn’t hurt that much to be rejected from that area / social scene.

        Reply
    2. Cat Whisperer*

      You sound like a lovely person who I’d love to spend Thanksgiving with.

      “ Please, for the holidays, give some thought that maybe there is nothing whatever wrong with you and the problem is with these people you happen to be related to.”

      This times 1000! My husband is estranged from his family for a lot of reasons involving differences on the ideas of tolerance, true Christian love, kindness and acceptance. He tried for years to get their love and acceptance. After lots of therapy, he realized he was never going to be good enough. He was never going to do enough “right” things in their eyes. And to be honest, the fact that he is so unaccepted is such a commendation of his character.

      I am being a total hypocrite when I say this because this idea is really hard for me to take to heart, but others people’s crappy actions and feelings have way more to do with them than they ever have to do with you. Knowing this doesn’t take the pain away from wanting to be accepted, but it has helped strengthen my husband’s spine for the way he relates to his family. And he’s used his family as an example of what he doesn’t want to have with me & our child.

      I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving. My Thanksgiving isn’t what I wanted but we’re trying to make new traditions for this day that celebrate our family’s values and love.

      Reply
      1. Anon Here*

        Thank you so much!

        Yes, it’s kind of like that with my family too. It’s good to hear from someone who can relate!

        Reply
    3. Seeking Second Childhood*

      Are you into parades? I grew up just outside NYC, watching the Mays parade on TV. Mom took me the year after my dad died, and the change was good for us both.
      By sheer coincidence we ran into a Chinese friend at the restaurant — he was from Hong Kong and didn’t have a tradition for this holiday, but the national focus on family had him down in the dumps. An all you can eat salad bar was never so festive!

      Reply
    4. Anon Here*

      I just need to vent about this a bit more. I’ve been alternately distancing myself from my family and giving them second chances my whole life. I think I’m going to distance myself again. Things haven’t changed for the better.

      The last time I saw my aunt, I tried to be positive about their neighborhood. I said, “I like this neighborhood because there are a lot of long-term residents and people talk to their neighbors.”

      And she basically responded by telling me to stay in Brooklyn/Queens! Which is fair in some ways, but it came across as a little, “Oh no, we don’t want your kind HERE!”

      Sigh. It makes me fantasize about doing well financially, buying a nicer apt than theirs in the same neighborhood, and then only speaking to them condescendingly. But do I really want to live like that? No way. My priorities are different and that’s a good thing.

      Honestly, it boils down to this: 1) They want their kids to be more “successful” than my parents’ kids because of the rivalry there. 2) My family as a whole has had issues with me since I was very young because I have some physical quirks (which don’t even affect much but – “OMG, THOSE people!”) and I have always been gender non-conforming and focused on my creative work. I mean the rejection started when I was pre-school age. So I’ve spent most of my life below the poverty line and working hard to accomplish good things while keeping a safe distance from them. It’s sad because in theory, there should be more common ground. But people have their issues and that’s just the way things are.

      Reply
      1. Not So NewReader*

        This is so sad.
        I’d like to plant a seed of thought in your head. It may or may not be helpful. I wondered about my extended family. In the absence of hard facts, I presumed it had something to do with me.
        It didn’t.
        I am an only child so I never gave much thought to sibling relationships. I learned after a while that it is impossible to sort out a relationship between to siblings.
        “Well back in 1992 you did x!”
        “OH YEAH? Well back in 1984 you did y!”
        “Well I can top that because in 1963 you did Z! Z! of all things you did Z!”

        Omg, the shit storm goes back and back and back and there is no unraveling it. To punish the sib for doing Z in 1963, they did not bother with me. Dysfunction Junction.

        It may take a while, but you may find out that you did not make this situation but rather you just happen to be in it. From what you have written here, your folks value intangibles, which is fine. But your aunt and uncle don’t mind having nice tangibles surrounding them, that’s also fine. The problem comes in when people on one OR both sides decide that their values are of higher worth than the other side’s values. And it somehow makes them superior.

        Annnd that decision to feel superior happens for Reasons that will probably take a very long time to figure out. I traced out one setting in my family between two brothers. One brother was wealthy and valued comfort. The other brother was not so wealthy and valued intangibles. So I went back to the very beginning. The wealthy brother was liked by their parents and the parents had no problem saying, “You are the good son.” The not so wealthy brother was disliked by the same parents and repeatedly told, “You are the bad son.” You see the set up, the wealthy brother HAD acceptance and a sense of belonging just handed to him. The not so wealthy brother had to look around to find acceptance and a sense of belonging. The wealthy brother never had to beg for his parents’ love.

        The fact that no one spoke to me had nothing to do with ME and everything to do with the parents of these two men, who thought love was a water faucet that one just turns on and off at will. The two brothers went to their graves without resolving their differences. And that is because there was nothing to resolve. Their real issue was with their parents, not with each other. And neither brother spoke of the real issue.

        Just a guess on my part, but I think you represent everything your aunt and uncle do not like in your parents. It’s not you they are shutting out, it’s their relationship with your parents that is the main driver here.

        Time may level the playing field here. Or not. No way to know. If we are lucky we kind of get to figure out WHY things are the way they are. Where I used to be angry about the situation with the two brothers, now I just feel tears in my heart for the both of them. Life did not have to be that hard. But it was.

        Reply
  67. Lizabeth*

    Happy Thanksgiving all!

    The SO drove down today and we had our turkey dinner today – a dry hard cider makes a GREAT liquid to deglaze the pan to make gravy. Going to have Thanksgiving lunch with Mom in her memory care unit tomorrow. And lots of leftovers!!! Loretta specials anyone? Open face turkey sandwich on toasted rye bread, lettuce, swiss cheese, bacon with a chili sauce/mayo over it to be eaten with knife and fork. Plus lots of discussion about the proper order of ingredients on the bread :))) or at least we used to at family gatherings.

    Reply
  68. Princesa Zelda*

    It’s both a holiday week *and* the week before finals. I’m exhausted and need to go buy some pre-sliced turkey from the grocery store if I want to have a glimmer of thanksgiving dinner tomorrow. I’m just glad I don’t work retail anymore, so I can take the day off.

    Reply
  69. Red Wheelbarrow*

    My niece-in-law, a sweet and intelligent woman whom I wish I could like, gets on my last nerve with her paleo evangelism and anti-vegetarian/anti-vegan screeds. (Background: I have a background of eating disorders and compulsive dieting; my current eating is much less disordered but not particularly healthy. I’m a vegetarian for ethical reasons and would be vegan if I acted on my principles.) I’ve unfollowed her on Facebook for the sake of my blood pressure, but I’ll see her over the holidays. I’m going to prepare a handful of subject-changing questions, but otherwise I’m not sure how to deal with her. I know that if I got preachy about my vegetarianism I’d just turn into a photonegative of her, but sitting there and saying nothing feels wrong as well.

    Reply
    1. Alex*

      A combo of “I’m glad that works for you. Please pass the brussels sprouts. Traveling anywhere next year?” and also maybe just “hmmm” as something shiny catches your eye across the room or you suddenly need to go to the bathroom.

      It is not wrong to say nothing when someone who loves food shaming others starts on food evangelism. There isn’t a moral need for you to correct her–she’s being rude, you are free to ignore.

      Reply
    2. Sleve McDichael*

      My go-to for signalling that I’m not comfortable or disagree with the topic of conversation is to do a really obvious whole head movement from one wall to the other and say firmly ‘Hey, would you look at that, a flying subject change! How about that weather today? Really weathery.’ Then people laugh (or rarely just squirm uncomfortably depending on their personality) and you follow up with ‘So anyway, (neutral subject).’

      Basically being direct as possible with the addition of some humour to allow people to save face. Assertive but not aggressive is what we’re going for.

      Reply
      1. Filosofickle*

        When my father says “So, how’s your car running?” that means, change the conversation please. We all know the signal. (Now if only we had a signal for switching Dad’s channel if he starts sniping…)

        Reply
    3. Ask a Manager* Post author

      I’m a fan of just coming right out with it: “Let’s not do that today. You know we disagree and there are so many more pleasant things to talk about.” Then she looks even more like a jerk if she keeps pushing it.

      Reply
      1. Honk*

        Ohh Imma keep that one in my arsenal next time my dad tries to convince me that the thing he saw in the sky that one time he was driving back from a fishing trip was in fact an alien ship. That’s a conversation I’d rather not revisit…

        Reply
    4. An Elephant Never Baguettes*

      I have a relative who is 100% not allowed to talk to me about food/nutrition. I’ve told them time and time again, very directly, that this is not something I want to talk to them about, in any capacity beyond the most basic ‘what’s for dinner’. Since they cannot seem to stop themselves, I’ve started to just… get up and leave the conversation when the topic comes up. This might be more confrontational than you want to be, but if the more diplomatic approaches others have suggested don’t work (and they wouldn’t work with my relative; I’ve tried), it’s a very effective way to end the conversation.

      Reply
  70. Maxie*

    This story isn’t about my family, which has its own disfunctions and I am the different one: lesbian and unconventional in just about every way. I also have feelings, and they were so inconvenient, even as a child. Anyway, so many people are going through a rough time, I thought I could give other people a laugh:
    When when daughter was young, maybe 4 or 5, we went to a neighbor’s house for a child’s birthday party. The kids were about the same age and we (moms and kids) spent a fair amount of time together, especially in the toddler and pre-school years. So, this was a normal, uneventful kid party. A few weeks later, the dad comes over to talk to me when he sees me in my front year. He is not comfortable at all with social situations, could barely talk to me in his own house, so this in itself is unusual. He tells me he wants to apologize to me. So he tells me that his father was really offended I was a lesbian (and was in his adult son’s house, I gather) and ignored me the entire time I was there. My neighbor told em how sorry he was. I told him he had nothing to apologize for; he’s not responsible for his dad. Then I told him that I didn’t notice! So his father put all of this energy into ignoring me for two hours, and it must have taken a lot of energy, and I didn’t even notice. We had a good laugh over that.

    Reply
    1. Not So NewReader*

      Good for him for apologizing and good for you for not even noticing. I really liked this story, thanks for the share.

      Reply
      1. Maxie*

        You’re welcome. It wasn’t his thing to apologize for. His father was a jerk (though I didn’t notice). My neighbor did nothing wrong and didn’t need to apologize for someone else’s behavior. I know how much it took out of him to come across the street and talk to me. We both got a good laugh out of his father expending all of that energy and I didn’t even notice.

        Reply
  71. Seeking Second Childhood*

    I went swimming last night with teenagers…and on a crazy whim offered to host a cookie making session. Not many cookies were successfully completed, but much fun was had and the teens learned a lot.
    AND it forced me to tidy up my kitchen in the morning. I very specifically didn’t deep clean knowing cookie dough & decorations would go everywhere. It did. They helped clean it up. And i made fough so when insomnia wakes me up at 3am I’ll go bake MY cookies.

    Reply
    1. Seeking Second Childhood*

      Dear lord, it was 2am until 4:30am. And another hour this morning.
      My first time making mamoul and nothing I did could keep them from sticking to the mold. I gave up and made crescents that my daughter says look like Chinese dumplings.
      And now the stove isn’t getting them hot enough to brown. At least I gave my MIL a good laugh when I called her to ask how to tell if they’re done!

      Reply
  72. TerraTenshi*

    Just found out my mother (with whom I’ve had no contact in about a year) is in the hospital for the third time in two weeks and it’s not looking great for her continued existence upon this Earth. I really don’t know how I feel or how I should feel about the whole thing. My fiancee says she’s taking me to see Knives Out tomorrow so I can have a little while where I don’t have to think about it.

    Reply
    1. Maxie*

      You get to feel however you feel, and you can feel more than one thing. Several years ago a friend called to tell me that her (abusive) father died and she felt safer knowing that he was no longer alive on this planet.

      Reply
      1. Morning Flowers*

        Yes, this. You can feel more than one thing. I can’t second that enough. You don’t have to choose a feeling; you don’t have to justify a feeling; you can just feel them all, whatever they are.

        Reply
      2. embertine*

        Seconding this. When my brother died I felt, in no particular order; relief, sorrow, resentment, wistfulness for the person he might have been without the alcoholism, and a fair bit of rage. Grief isn’t always pretty, and not at all when you’ve had to grieve someone while they’re still alive. I hope you can be very gentle with yourself and do something nice for yourself this weekend.

        Reply
      3. Not So NewReader*

        Right on. There is no particular way you “should” feel. Just do you. If you have a mixed bag of emotions going on, that is called being human. If you cut to total relief, that is also called being human. If you punch walls, yep, you are still being human. (Don’t hurt yourself on the walls, though, get a punching bag and learn how to work with it correctly.)

        Remember emotions are not actions. Ever been so fed-up with someone you just wanted to strangle them? No one ever went to court for a private thought. And that’s a good thing because otherwise most of us would end up in court.

        Feel the feeling. This means saying to yourself, “Yes, I am angry.” or “Yes, I am sad.” or “Yes, this makes everything hurt more not less.” Whatever it means to you, but acknowledge the feeling, don’t push it under a rug.
        I am sorry, this sounds very difficult. I will keep you in my thoughts.

        Reply
  73. MissBookworm*

    Took a half day today from work so I could prepare for tomorrow and I have so many regrets. Like I should have started way earlier. I cleaned some on Sunday (bathrooms and floors mostly) and did the rest this afternoon and evening in between preparing desserts and appetizers for tomorrow. I am so exhausted. I was on my feet for something like six hours straight and have no more energy. I have no idea how I’m going to get through all the cooking tomorrow.

    I really do love having the holidays at my place (especially since we can fit the entire family comfortably and my relatives really can’t), but this year I just feel so much worse than usual. I hope I’m not coming down with anything—that would totally ruin the holiday and my four day weekend.

    That being said, I hope everyone here in the USA has a fantastic and Happy Thanksgiving!

    Reply
  74. bunniferous*

    My aunt is hosting this year. YAY!!!!!!!

    (but there is an undercurrent of wistfulness. I found out a little over a year ago I am not really related to her. Or my other aunt. Or, ahem, my dad. None of them know, or if they do know, do not know I know. Nor do all the cousins know, that I know of. Awkward!)

    Reply
    1. Filosofickle*

      Daaaamn, awkward indeed! Last year I found out I had a handful of first cousins my uncle had been keeping secret for decades, so there’s that. Family is so weird sometimes.

      Reply
    2. Honk*

      On Christmas a couple years ago I found out my dad had a mentally disabled brother who has lived in a group home all his life. I never met him. It was just so weird to have my aunts mention him in passing like everyone knew, while I was literally unaware I had an uncle!

      Weirdest part is I don’t think they were trying to keep him a secret. My dad isn’t a talker, and the only things he’s ever told me about his childhood revolved around Star Trek and why I grew up so spoiled because I didn’t have to deliver the paper to afford my school books.

      Hang in there. They’re still them, you’re still you, and maybe one day you’ll air all of it out. Or not! It’s ok either way. Good luck.

      Reply
  75. Phil*

    While you’re enjoying dinner with family and friends before and/or watching the football games give a thought to the 100 or so people bringing each game to you as well as the several hundred at the network and local station. I was for years one of them. We were well paid for working on the holiday and we had catered meals so it wasn’t awful but we would rather have been home watching the game, not putting it over the airwaves.

    Reply
  76. CustomerServiceAdventures*

    Not Thanksgiving for me this weekend…but here’s my question – WHYYYYY do non-American countries insist on having Black Friday sales when we don’t have a Thanksgiving in November?

    I work customer service and thought I paid my “horrible sales hell” dues on Boxing Day, but no, we’re having a Black Friday sale. And people have been asking about it for weeks. It’s not our holiday, guys! And we’ve only really started having these sales in the last 5-10 years!

    Honestly, it’s not even the sale I mind so much, just how silly it seems to follow our neighbours to the south without any real reason. It just feels really…unjustified? At least with Thanksgiving you can stuff yourself with turkey first. I totally get it when you have an actual holiday.

    I think the worst example of this was when the Hermitage had Black Friday. You know, the art museum. In Russia.

    Okay, rant over.

    Reply
    1. Chocolate Teapot*

      Ooh. Did that mean the Hermitage was selling off its Rembrandts? I might have been interested. : – )

      It is “Black Week” here, according to an advert for a shopping centre. I suppose the adoption of Black Friday by non-American countries is due to the timing. People have been paid, and the Christmas markets have just opened, so saving money on Christmas shopping makes sense.

      Reply
      1. CustomerServiceAdventures*

        If you mean pencils and coin purses and cocktail napkins with Rembrandts on them, then yes :)

        Actually they had some cool books, but I feel like the cost of shipping from Russia would have far negated any discounts! And locals would know how to get stuff like that much more cheaply… so again, the point??

        Reply
    2. Tau*

      Also not American, and completely agree. It seems to have invaded Europe in the past few years; I’ve seen them in Germany, and I’m now in Spain on holiday and the signs are everywhere. Could you not pick the Friday after an actual holiday?

      Reply
    3. londonedit*

      Totally agree! It’s ridiculous. The whole ‘Black Friday’ thing has become huge here in the UK – I’ve had emails for weeks about it – and it’s just an excuse for shops to jack their prices up in October so they can then have a ‘50% off Black Friday sale’. The Boxing Day and January sales used to be bad enough, why on earth do we have to have Black Friday when we don’t even have Thanksgiving? It makes no sense.

      Reply
    4. MOAS*

      I’ve travelled to Canada during thanksgiving the last few years and have always noticed the Black Friday sales. I’ve been seeing them in Pakistan and middle east too (it’s just called “The great Friday” sale)

      Reply
    5. General von Klinkerhoffen*

      It’s bizarre because the “Black Friday” sales have been going on for a week.

      As a student I had a holiday job in a shop. In order that nobody would have to stay late on Christmas Eve or go in early on Boxing Day to set up the sale, the manager decided we would start the sale on Christmas Eve, and come in at 7am to set it up. That was … a very, very busy day.

      Reply
    6. Jules the 3rd*

      Because companies want to spread out the Christmas shopping over 4 – 6 weeks, and want to spice up their Nov returns. Most people don’t start xmas shopping until after tgiving. This year, tgiving’s relatively ‘late’, so many sales are starting the week before to give Nov a full week of xmas shopping, instead of just one day.

      BTW: many Black Friday discounts are only ‘huge’ because the companies bumped up their regular prices in the two weeks before, especially on electronics. My husband was shopping for a phone, a tablet and a laptop a few years ago, and found that pattern across multiple outlets (eg, Best Buy, Dell, Walmart). He’s done spot checks every year since and confirmed, so now he makes sure to benchmark prices around Halloween to find what’s a real deal.

      Black Friday is 100% a marketing ploy built around Christmas shopping and a relatively high amount of free time. Heck, half the reason tgiving is still around is because marketers want people to have free shopping time.

      Don’t forget Small Store Saturday! Shop local – you’ll pay a little more, but the money stays in your community, supporting local jobs and local taxes.

      Reply
      1. londonedit*

        I get why it happens in America – it’s the equivalent of our Boxing Day sales – but what we’re baffled by is why it’s all made its way over here (and to other non-American countries) when we don’t have Thanksgiving to at least give it some sense! I know it’s all about shops wanting to make as much money as possible in the run-up to Christmas, but we’ve been bombarded with ‘Black Friday deals’ (which as you say are often not actually ‘deals’ at all) for weeks now and we don’t have Thanksgiving! It’s just buy-buy-buy pressure in late November for no actual reason. It’s only in the last 10 years that it’s really become a thing here at all, and now every single shop seems to be having a Black Friday event.

        As for shopping local, I always do – my local high street has its Christmas lights switch-on soon and I make a point of going to that event and buying a few Christmas presents from the local traders.

        Reply
        1. Jules the 3rd*

          Marketing is a powerful thing, driving tremendous amounts of business behavior. Mothers / Valentine’s day would be nothing without it, this is just your local businesses finding a hook that they hope will give them the behavior they want.

          Reply
    7. fposte*

      I noticed Britain started having Christmas ads at the start of November, in fact. I think U.S. Thanksgiving serves a useful purpose in keeping the Christmas stuff on the down-low until the end of the month.

      Reply
    8. Typhon Worker Bee*

      I believe it started in Canada because so many people were driving over the border to do their holiday shopping in the American Black Friday sales, and local businesses were losing so much money that they had to start running their own sales.

      Reply
  77. Pam*

    I’m up in Idaho visiting family- mostly hanging with the kidlets. My major foot surgery worked, so I’m wearing real shoes and walking. This snow thing is a little weird.

    Reply
    1. Moocowcat*

      I’m thinking of bringing Hawaiian rolls to the next potluck. They’re going to be the inexpensive store bought version. Am I a terrible individual for planning this?

      Reply
          1. Fikly*

            Neither have I, though my main Thanksgiving-related Celiac sadness is the lack of an adequate substitute for baking powder biscuits.

            Reply
          2. Honk*

            I like the gluten-free hot dog rolls made by Schär (they don’t look like hot dog buns, the illusion totally works!). They’re fake-ass rolls that taste like cheap-ass rolls, and if you have to avoid gluten you’ll know that it’s actually a really high endorsement (most gluten-free bread is just… a really weird amalgamation of flours in vague the shape of a brick).

            Reply
            1. Diahann Carroll*

              Oh, my mom said those were good as well. No, wait – I think it was their ciabatta rolls she said was good, and she hates most gluten-free food.

              Reply
    1. CAA*

      LOL, I am making dinner rolls. If anyone brings cheap-ass rolls to compete with my homemade masterpiece, I am going to be deeply, and I mean deeply, insulted! I might even have to get up and leave because that would be so rude for anyone else to bring rolls after I signed up for them on the group text! Yep, the only thing that could get me to stay is the stuff on the dessert table that’ll be calling my name …

      Reply
    2. Tedious Cat*

      I had to stop in the grocery today to take a picture of King’s Hawaiian Rolls to text to a fellow AAM reader, giggling maniacally all the while. I would say my mother was confused, but honestly she’s used to stuff like this.

      Reply
    3. Bluebell*

      When I was in the grocery store today, my eyes alit on the roll display. I fondly thought of AAM, but did not purchase as my wonderful spouse will be baking bread tomorrow!

      Reply
    4. NoLongerYoung*

      see below. I almost was tempted to, and might toss them in the cart when I have to stop to buy bread tomorrow. Because. I still giggle.

      Reply
    5. Three owls in a trench coat*

      You dare bring cheap-ass rolls after you saw my name down on the list for Hawaiian Rolls??? How could you Alison! I am insulted!

      (Fairly new to AAM but that letter is one of my favorites so far)

      Reply
    6. Drew*

      My mom did a headslap at dinner tonight and said, “Oh, crap, I forgot the rolls!” I offered to pick up a pack on the way home (I’m hosting this year but parents are providing everything) and after a bit of back and forth, we realized none of us cares enough about rolls, even good Hawaiian rolls, to make it worth my time. We’ll just have to fill the space with more turkey and stuffing, mmmm.

      Reply
    7. PB*

      Thanksgiving this year will just be my husband and me, but you’ll be relieved to know that Mr. PB did buy cheap-ass rolls!

      (He actually bought them three days ago,and we’ve been calling them “cheap-ass rolls” every time we think about them.)

      Reply
    8. Rebecca*

      No rolls here! Between mashed potatoes and filling, there’s more than enough carbs!

      Confession: I saw some King’s Hawaiian rolls on the bakery reduced rack yesterday @ 50% off, and thought “wow, those are now really cheap assed rolls!” LOL, the people in the store probably wondered what I was smirking about! I did make up my mind that I’m going to buy some and make the ham and swiss cheese slider recipe I’ve seen a million times online. I thought, huh, those reduced rolls would have been perfect for that.

      Reply
    9. Jaid*

      I’m eating whatever rolls come with the Boston Market family dinner package. Or not, because I’m just not used to eating rolls with dinner.

      Frankly, I’d rather just make the Pillsbury biscuits. I could eat those for days.

      Reply
  78. Grandma Mazur*

    Alison, please delete if this isn’t in the spirit of the open thread or if you think it’s too close to politics!

    There was an interesting article in Slate earlier in the week, which described Thanksgiving as the US’s most important secular holiday. It got me to thinking about Thanksgiving, and Independence Day, and the other secular federal (and any state) national holidays (I lived in New England for a year over a decade ago, so I don’t have a huge amount of data to go by) and I wondered how people feel, civically speaking, about the holidays. Is Thanksgiving the most important? What community rituals have become associated with each holiday? Food with Thanksgiving, I guess, fireworks with 4 July… are there services at war memorials on Veterans Day? Anything for MLK Day? Aside from the actual giving of thanks, do any of the rituals reflect back on the reason for the day’s establishment as a holiday? (Eg, if you go to the beach on Labor Day, that would seem pretty apt to me!).

    Reply
    1. Diahann Carroll*

      Thanksgiving means nothing to me. Halloween is my favorite holiday (and I’m still really bitter this isn’t a national holiday so I could have the day off to binge watch horror films all day). It’s the one time of the year where it’s perfectly acceptable to go around begging people for shit – brilliant day. And I love dressing up.

      Reply
      1. Auntie Social*

        I have the most wonderful spider fascinator. You don’t know it’s a spider at first, it’s just sparkly and beautiful, and then you see it has eyes. . . I’d wear the thing every day if I could.

        Reply
      2. Jules the 3rd*

        Halloween is my immediate family’s major holiday. I take vacation time as needed, and though it hasn’t been an issue yet (lucky lucky lucky!), would totally let my kid stay home / go late to school the next day.

        We’re atheists, and little Jules’ birthday is mid-November, so tgiving / xmas are both just ‘extended family visit time with presents’. I actually elevate tgiving some because I hate turkeys and have many jokes about ‘Revenge! Revenge is mine!’ (Trust me, I have Reasons. Dad had a pet turkey for a few years.)

        We do have some fuss about other holidays, but they’re small group rituals instead of broader social ones:
        4th of July: Try very hard to go see the fireworks
        Labor day: Go to a scifi con with Little Jules and our best friends’ kid, Dynamite, who are exactly the same age (within a day; we share the bday party).
        Mid-May: Go to the local mini-state fair, ride rides, see the fireworks
        Mid-Oct: Go to the actual state fair, ride rides, see the fireworks, eat a fried dough from that one place that makes extra good ones

        Between Halloween, bdays, tgiving, xmas, and new years, we’re frantically busy from mid-Oct to early-Jan (I can’t believe my husband wants to spend much of today cooking – we have a *break*! Take the break!!!), so we don’t do much for the spring holidays.

        Reply
        1. Diahann Carroll*

          Our schools when we were kids let us wear costumes on Halloween and let us out a couple hours early so people could get ready to go trick-or-treating. I was distraught when I grew up and realized that college professors don’t care about such things and neither do professional jobs, lol.

          Reply
          1. Jules the 3rd*

            Nope, but that’s what vacation days are for.

            This year, my kid’s school moved the teacher workday from Thu (Halloween) to Fr (Nov 1), and used a different day for the weather make-up day, so we didn’t have to do anything drastic, but I was sweating it a little.

            Reply
    2. Ludo*

      I think thanksgiving is one of the bigger ones because more people actually celebrate it

      A lot of people bbq on the 4th or have fireworks if they have kids, but I don’t know anyone who does anything for labor/Memorial Day besides maybe shopping a sale

      Reply
      1. Jules the 3rd*

        You don’t know many geeks, then. Those are major convention weekends; I know people who take two weeks vacation around Labor Day for Dragon*Con.

        Reply
    3. Late to the game*

      I’m a fairly observant Jew and I make a turkey because its the one time of year I feel like I’m “in synch” with mainsteam America, haha. So yeah, I’d definitely echo the Thanksgiving sentiments you mention.

      Reply
    4. Dahlia Enthusiast*

      Forgive my ignorance (am Canadian), but there *aren’t* services at every town’s war memorial/cenotaph on Veterans Day??? Parades? Roll of the Fallen? Moment of Silence? The Last Post? I think “In Flanders’ Fields” is Canadian, but,… the rest?
      I’m having a “whoa!” moment, here, I’d always assumed Veterans Day was American Remembrance Day.

      Reply
    5. Not So NewReader*

      One thing I see in rural America is that celebrations for anything are less and this is because of lack of money and lack of person-power to carry out the activity.

      This means in my town we have a small parade for Memorial Day and a large parade for the Fourth of July. That’s it. I have to wonder if our choices have something to do with our climate. Winters can be harsh and we can run out of money trying to keep the roads clear. I guess it would not make sense to plan a TG or Christmas parade with this hurdle in mind. But some people do go to larger towns to see their parades.

      I do think that overall the holidays are more commercial than they have ever been. And I think that people do less and less with the non-major holidays. Christmas, Thanksgiving, Halloween and probably New Years seem to be much a much bigger deal than when I was growing up. I can remember that NO ONE played Christmas music before December 1. Now I hear it in July.

      More affluent areas or populous areas of the country would probably have more activities for other holidays.

      Reply
  79. No Green No Haze*

    You guys, I made a chocolate cream pie and I’m pretty stoked about it.

    If a library ebook I have on hold gets free tomorrow, that’s everything I want from the day.

    Reply
    1. Cheesesteak in Paradise*

      I hoard library e-cards – I have 2 for my area (where I live and where I work), one from a place I lived 5 years ago they never canceled, my SIL’s (very small selection there tho), and my parent’s. It’s hard to wait for a book you want to read!

      Reply
  80. Erin*

    I’m well into my 40s and I’ve never prepped/cooked/hosted/cleaned for any major holiday. I’m a v good guest and I’m even better at taking a vacation during these times.

    Someone else posted the phrase Internet Stranger Permission and it made me giggle. So, this is just one more post supporting those who need to escape the holidays because sanity.

    Reply
  81. Melissa*

    My BFF goes out of town each Thanksgiving to family, so I take over her house, dog, and turtle, and have a lovely book reading, cross-stitching, movie watching solo retreat. I don’t cook; I pick up a family pack from the local barbecue restaurant and just graze for the four solo days.

    It’s incredibly restful, but BFF comes back to a VERY spoiled dog, who is snoring on my lap right now.

    Reply
  82. Ludo*

    Feeling stressed out this thanksgiving eve because after brushing my teeth this evening I noticed I’ve developed a mild underbite?!?! That can’t be good

    Luckily I set up a dentist appointment on a whim earlier this week for a cleaning and check up so they can hopefully tell me what I need to do if anything but ughhhhh

    Reply
    1. Jules the 3rd*

      I think it’s just something that can happen as you get older. My formerly perfectly aligned teeth are now crowded on the bottom, but my dentist says it’s no big deal.

      Reply
      1. Really?*

        Yes, that is apparently normal as you age. Although my bottom teeth have been a bit crowded since braces in the 70s.

        Reply
    2. Not So NewReader*

      Underbite? So your lower jaw extends out beyond your upper teeth?

      Not everyone likes chiros. But before you go too far, you may want to check in with a chiropractor about the alignment in your skull/face.
      Have you hit your head on anything recently? (6 months- 1 year?)

      Reply
  83. Laura H.*

    Bread? DONE- my first time, I think I did good.

    Cranberry sauce? DONE- second year doing that so I knew what I was doing.

    Now hopefully we remember to take them tomorrow! (Yeah that happened last year, but waaay better to have made it and forgotten it than to have forgotten to make it altogether (that was Xmas 2017, and I was not 100% that day either so yeah no fun) )

    Reply
  84. Nelly*

    All of my family died this year (cancer, mostly) other than my father, who probably has a couple of months left before the cancer gets him, too, so I just spend my time nursing him and changing his diaper.

    My friends have their own families to fuss over, so I won’t be seeing them.

    So I’ll be working this Christmas, our library is open all season for the public so I’ve volunteered every shift so that others can go have their ‘family holiday nightmares’ instead.

    I guess I’m lucky I have no family to worry about/cook for/shop for, wonder what gifts they’re going to give me. How lucky am I that no one’s going to embarrass me or expect me to care for them or sleep in an uncomfortable bed…

    Woo.
    /s

    Eh, I’m whinging sarcasicly as a storm just took out all our power for the full week so far. No coffee, no hot water, fridge and freezer defrosting, no phone no internet (towers down, not just power lines), and that’s not coming back until next week. Plus I’ve had to discipline staff formally and report to HR several cases of staff physically assaulting each other, all while my boss ignores it. I’m a little bit over things right now. If all I had to worry about was an embarrassing uncle or twin bed, I’d be ever, ever so grateful.

    Reply
    1. Cathie from Canada*

      Oh my condolences – how sad for you, what a terrible year you have had, nothing to be “thankful” for at all.
      You are so nice to take on others shifts so they can be off work. Please know that I am thinking of you and wishing you well.

      Reply
    2. NoLongerYoung*

      I am sending you internet hugs. Two years ago, my husband nearly died of his cancer (it was touch and go in December 2017, but he rallied), and did pass away last year (before the holidays 2018). It is hard. I think it was harder going through it, than it was afterwards for me, because the cancer was so tough.

      I have no good words right now. I felt very alone while I was going through that stage, despite friends. It was hard to find that balance of appreciating still having him here, and juggling, trying to hold it together, and the caretaker role, and anticipating the grief.

      Know that in this corner of the internet, I am sending you my warmest, comforting thoughts.
      My heart goes out to you.

      Reply
    3. Jules the 3rd*

      That’s a lot, I wish there was something we could do for you. Internet hugs is all I have, but they’re yours if you want them.

      Reply
    4. Bibliovore*

      Thank you for sharing. I am sorry for your losses. We are open with the exception of Christmas Day and New Years day and I did volunteer to cover the holiday shifts but still.
      If you listen to podcasts, my new favorite is Terrible, Thanks for Asking.

      Reply
  85. NoLongerYoung*

    Two items. One relates to cheap ass rolls.
    1) I volunteered to dogsit for a neighbor. Sweet, elderly man, I’ve run into him (and chatted) several times a week as we each walked our dogs for several years. I knew he’d been hospitalized for several months last year after a serious fall, and had offered, awhile back, to take in said dog in a pinch “If there was ever an emergency.” (Some older folks will not go in for surgeries, etc, or rest homes, because they don’t want to leave their pets). He had a once-in-a-lifetime offer, his nieces are treating him to Disney for the holiday (he’s a huge fan of the movies but has not been to the theme park). So he dropped off his very chubby doggie early this morning. Along with toys, blankets, sweatshirt that smelled like him, much food, and bowls/instructions. And he cried. I tried not to. But dog sat – despite my best efforts – next to the front door, waiting for him, for hours. She has trotted out to the back yard when asked, been very good in the house, and picked at her food. (no worries about starvation). I am hoping she will sleep well and be up for a nice longer walk in the morning, and sleep through the time I’m gone to friends. She has moved to her blanket that I put next to the computer for now. I feel bad for her, but… glad he has this last hurrah trip to enjoy. It’s my good deed for the holiday.

    2) I went to lengths to acquire the makings for my favorite veggie dish for tomorrow. (roasted Brussel sprouts with pancetta and shallots, drizzled with homemade balsamic glaze). I’m going to friends. I signed up online in advance (very organized invite), and offered to fill one of three side dish slots with a veggie a month ago, then revised the online form to indicate exactly what I was bringing last Saturday. (no one else had listed their dish on the form yet). I then went to 3 stores to get the makings for it. Late today a group text went out,and someone else is bringing a different Brussel sprout dish. Not that I mind, but let’s face it, brussel sprouts is not something anyone wants 4 pounds of.

    I separately texted the organizer, said I could change to something else, since T was bringing that item….and would an extra appetizer be fine? It was really too late (we have rain now, and I didn’t want to fight the crowds in the stores tonight) to find another truly unique foodie vegetable. I had access earlier in the week to some great squash, so I could have roasted it… but far too late tonight to find one! I’ll just take carbs.

    Of course, I “could” bring cheap ass rolls… LOL. However , since also I have the makings (since I shopped in advance for another event….) I can adjust. If you care, I’m making baked brie in puff pastry, and bringing a goat-cheese-rolled-in-cranberries log with crackers. (I just need to find a store selling baguettes or french bread for the warm brie tomorrow).

    The cheap ass rolls remain a possibility though… given the mix of friends at this party (it is oriented around a sports group), they would be welcome. But I’m pretty sure one of the younger singles are bringing those. Lots of wine and IPAs are expected.

    Not at all a tragedy. I just will be making 2 pounds of this veggie and eating it for days, and freezing it (really, it’s like candy by the time you drizzle the glaze on it). ROFLOL. So be it. Just high contrast to the potluck outcome of the cheap ass rolls!

    Reply
    1. NoLongerYoung*

      Oh, and I wanted to go to the Midwest for family, but… the family member who is hosting is having 54 people at her house – and that doesn’t include one more sibling, spouse, and mom on my side. If I went, it would be 2 days of travel, 4 hours of driving each way, snow, below freezing temps,and a madhouse. And the extra 3 would come, making it 58. And so chaotic, I wouldn’t get to see the ones I most want to see, in that mix.

      So hopefully she’s not reading this. I plan to go visit when they are south for the winter instead. More flight time and cost, but a different direction and less luggage. I can pack a swimsuit, flip flops, shorts, and see the couple, not the extra 52 people. Sounds like a deal.

      Reply
      1. NoLongerYoung*

        So I use the food network/ Ina Garten (or comparable) roasted brussel sprouts recipe with Pancetta. Or bacon. (I cook it up to about half done – I don’t want to burn it, but I hate white fat). I also add the shallots, smallish cuts (but not too small or they burn). I love mine crispy. So I quarter my brussels, and toss with EVO (extra virgin olive oil). While that’s roasting, I gently reduce the balsamic glaze. There’s recipes out there – I chose one that is basically half brown sugar and half (good quality-I use costco/kirkland) balsamic vinegar. Don’t scorch it. This keeps almost forever in the frig.

        LOL. It’s been trial and error. It used to be my special occasion dish and now that occasion is whenever I see brussel sprouts. That’s why I swap in the bacon on occasion – it’s a special trip to get the pancetta.

        Yes, yummy and tasty and I can take but already thawed the puff pasty for the brie…But maybe I will do both.

        Reply
    2. Jules the 3rd*

      1) The dog will be fine. And when he gets back, the dog will be joyous and it will be great.
      2) Take the sprouts! My mom did 3lbs of brussel sprouts for 8 people, there was only a few scraps left.

      Reply
    3. Fikly*

      Thank you for this. My very elderly grandparents had a beloved dog, and it was a continued concern when one of them was hospitalized, even though there were two of them, because the non-hospitalized one needed to be with the other in the hospital most of the day to advocate, and the dog couldn’t stay home all day by itself.

      They lived in a community of seniors who all looked after each other, so all the pet owners would trade watching each other’s pets in situations like this, but many seniors are not that lucky.

      Reply
  86. The Teapot Brigade*

    Thanksgiving joys: My family being 100% chill about the fact that I’m single and not asking questions or making assumptions, no cheap-ass rolls, DOGS

    Thanksgiving angsts: Being the only Single Cousin (TM) left, that one relative of someone who married into the family always looking like they’re silently but obviously ~JUDGING YOU~ and you have not passed the test.

    Thanksgiving story: The only “bad” Thanksgiving I’ve ever had was one year when we carved the turkey and it had a big green spot inside of it. Yes, green. Luckily we had a ham and plenty of side dishes so everyone had enough to eat, but some people were clearly disappointed we had to trash the turkey.

    Reply
    1. Grandma Mazur*

      We had that one year with our *very* expensive large free-range Christmas chicken (ordered specially)! Pistachio green. Like I did not know could occur inside an animal.

      We googled it and it turned out to (most likely) a small muscle that atrophies in free-range birds and so was (probably) a good sign and completely harmless! We cut it out carefully and some of us were happy to eat around it. Then took it to the butcher and asked them about it (to find out what they thought) and they refunded the chicken as a goodwill gesture (because not all guests had wanted to take the risk eating it). I completely understand why you all didn’t eat it. It was the most amazing sight and as though the universe was screaming “don’t eat this! Don’t eat this!”…

      Reply
    1. Historia Trixie*

      An icemaker in the freezer. Everyone in the house is pretty bad at remembering to refill ice cube trays, even though it’s such an easy thing to do.

      Reply
  87. william devaughn*

    Thanksgiving has never been my favorite holiday. Many years ago I made the decision to not spend it with my family and I was content with that decision. We weren’t extremely close and I always felt like an outsider when I went back. Then for eight years I spent it with my partner’s family. It still wasn’t a holiday I liked, but I liked spending it with them more than my own family. Three years ago, right before Thanksgiving, my partner left me for someone else and I have been struggling with depression since. (I had to sever all contact with my family over the summer because they couldn’t respect my boundaries and did something that was the last straw.) I was supposed to spend Thanksgiving with a friend, but she had to go out of town because her mom was having surgery (that was a couple of weeks ago). She called me today to say they are taking the intubation out tomorrow or Friday and putting her mother on hospice, but I can’t imagine she’ll live through the weekend. The rest of my friends have their own families and are out of town. I had a horrible week at work.

    I am trying to be grateful for what I have: a job (even if I hate it right now); a clean, safe place to live (even if it is filled of reminders of my ex); enough money to pay my bills and have something leftover; and no major health issues. I know there are many people far worse off than me. But this Thanksgiving is going to be tough, even though I don’t even like the holiday. I am going to sleep in, read, and watch some movies.

    Reply
    1. Ludo*

      Sleep in, read and watch some movies deff sounds like the best idea under the circumstances

      Be kind to yourself tomorrow and indulge in any pleasures you can

      Reply
    2. Jules the 3rd*

      Sounds like a great plan to me, too. I might consider spending some time ditching the reminders, late November is a great time for a small fire….

      Reply
      1. william devaughn*

        Just living in the same apartment is a reminder. I could take out all the furniture and still be reminded of the look on their face the day we first looked at it.

        Reply
        1. Not So NewReader*

          It’s funny/odd you should mention that. When my husband passed, I suddenly had a big fear of seeing the rooms in our house empty. It felt like it would be a mind-bending trip back in time to the day we moved in and everything was new-to-us. I did not want to go through that mental toggling back and forth between then and now because the differences were too stark, too unnerving and I knew it would hurt.

          If you decide to stay in the place, I do have a suggestion that helped me. Do something to make the place yours. This could mean picking up new furniture at tag sales or finding paint on a clearance table and inviting a friend over to help paint.
          I paid my friend to help paint. It was worth it. He paints better than I do for one thing. But it was nice to have someone else to talk with, it was a distraction while I painted. I have made enough changes that the place now feels like mine. I have gone from calling it our house to calling it my house.
          My next idea is going to sound stupid but it worked well for me and I was pleased. I moved stuff around- the tools, the dishes, even where I stored some of my clothes. It sounds too simplistic to be meaningful, but I really like the new configuration. I was kind of impressed with myself for figuring some of it out.
          Perhaps there is something you can do to make the place feel more like “yours” and less like “ours”.

          I am sorry you are going through this.

          Reply
          1. william devaughn*

            Thanks — I have purchased a few small things to replace items they took with them: a new dresser, a storage cabinet, new sheets and pillows…but those don’t make the bed less empty. I live in a small apartment (in a big city so it’s cost prohibitive to move) so there isn’t much I can do in the way of rearranging or painting. Even being able to see that the lights aren’t turned on when I get home hurts sometimes. (They worked from home, and I would be so happy to see the lights on as I walked up the stairs.)

            Reply
  88. Late to the game*

    I just…don’t any more. I haven’t spoken to my violently abusive parent and the family system that enabled the abuse in over five years, and if my sort of sucky but occasionally okay in-laws don’t put a priority on seeing us (i.e.- return calls about plans and/or kind of attempt to make them) we just don’t see them. We’re going to a Friendsgiving instead like we have the last few years. Sometimes we volunteer. Once we just spent the day together reading books.

    I’m Jewish so I sort of feel like this is all lead up for Hanukkah anyways. Like I don’t need condensed soup casseroles at the end of November and fried latkes at the end of December…

    Reply
    1. Cat Whisperer*

      “ Like I don’t need condensed soup casseroles at the end of November and fried latkes at the end of December…”

      I feel like this needs to be my new life goal.

      Reply
  89. KayDay*

    I actually used to love returning to my childhood bedroom, complete with the bulletin board of all the 90s celebrities / weird 90s interests of mine and even a Korn poster (yeah……)….until that was, that I brought my serious boyfriend/partner home for the holidays. I called my mom in a panic a few days before we arrived and asked her to take down anything embarrassing. My childhood bedroom is now classy guest bedroom, albeit somewhat of a shrine to my high school years (senior portrait, class portrait, cheerleading portrait), with a (very comfortable) queen bed, but I do sometimes miss revisiting my angst-y teenage years and my twin bed that had literally formed to my shape, making it super comfortable for me, but not for anyone else. At least I still have my favorite high school sweatshirt that I pretty much live in when I’m home.

    Reply
    1. Ludo*

      We moved so much growing up that it’s crazy (and cool!) to me that there really are some people who have their childhood/teenage rooms to come home to at the holidays, I always thought that was just a movie thing haha

      Reply
      1. AcademiaNut*

        My younger brother had dibs on my room, which was bigger than his, so it had been taken over by the first *weekend* I visited home after leaving for university. It made sense, though – I wasn’t home for more than a few weeks at a time after that, and he still had eight years before heading off himself.

        Reply
        1. Asenath*

          That happened to me, too! I doubt I’d arrived at university for the first time before my next-youngest sister moved into “my” bedroom. It seemed perfectly natural, though; I wasn’t using it, after all, and although I visited, I never lived full-time with my family after that. And not long after, the family moved out of the country, both she and I were out on our own by then, so of course didn’t have bedrooms in the new family home, and slept on cots in the rec room when we visited. We were used to that. When we visited our grandparents, we slept on cots, sleeping bags, all kinds of informal arrangements.

          Reply
        2. Bibliovore*

          yeah, the first vacation home from college by brother took over my room but didn’t move out of his old room. Cowboy wall paper etc.piles of electronic crap, popular mechanics, and model airplanes.

          Reply
      2. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

        My parents stayed in my childhood home until they were positive we were all moved out for good, then they moved into a brand new house in a snooty subdivision and it always looks like a magazine layout now that there aren’t three kids to muck it up. (My mom’s favorite part is that she has two craft rooms, one for her quilting machine and supplies and one for everything else. :-P )

        Reply
    2. Jaid*

      Ah, I’m older, so it’s been a few decades since my parents redid the bedrooms my brother and I had. One is used as the office and the other is Mom’s boudoir…except they’ve been using it as storage for years and Mom usually stays downstairs to read/watch TV.

      Reply
  90. MJ*

    My immediate family goes to my dad’s side of the family’s for Thanksgiving.

    My mom and I only speak English and while my dad’s side of the family speaks both English and Portuguese, they only speak Portuguese at Thanksgiving. So they speak Portuguese to each other and only speak English when they choose to speak to me or my mom directly.

    It gets very awkward and several times an hour my mom will ask them to explain what is happening in English.

    I never know whether to go or just stay home so usually I try to sign up for work on holidays but this year I got it off without wanting it off… It’s 1:30am and I still haven’t decided if I’m going tomorrow at 9am or not…

    Any thoughts? Is it worth going even though I won’t understand a word that anyone says unless they choose to directly speak to me in English?

    Reply
      1. MJ*

        Yeah they know but I told them this morning that I wasn’t going to drive there (I blamed it on the drive, I’ve been working an hour and a half away from my house for the last two months but I commute everyday) so I just told them that I didn’t feel up to driving four hours on my day off.

        They didn’t seem upset at all. So I consider it a win?

        Reply
    1. empsk*

      Would your mum still be going without you? If so, maybe check in with her – she might be fine, might want you there for moral support, or might choose to nope out as well.

      Reply
      1. MJ*

        My mom goes with my dad either way.

        I told her this morning I decided not to go and she was fine with it because she said she understood and normally I don’t go anyways.

        Reply
    2. Honk*

      Gosh, I hope you were able to take a decision you’re happy (or at least okay) with. That’s a tough situation to be in.

      I personally would not go to a party where everyone speaks a language I don’t understand. There are many many other ways in which I’d rather spend day off – go hiking by myself! Cook something good! Play video games! I can think of tons of good and important reasons why your dad’s family might prefer to speak Portuguese on this occasion (and some that are less good, but hey, benefit of the doubt) but I still wouldn’t want to sign up for that.

      Reply
      1. MJ*

        I agree with you.

        I think I was really stressed last night which is why I was on here writing about Thanksgiving instead of sleeping at 1:30am.

        I decided to cook myself french toast and go to the movies instead. I really wanted to see Frozen 2 and Knives out and also Charlie’s Angels so I’m going to try to watch at least two of them today.

        It really isn’t worth it to drive four hours to sit at a table silently and eat turkey while everyone around me talks in a language I don’t understand. I felt bad not going because I only see them once a year (at Christmas I go see my brother and parents instead) but again – I only see them once a year so we’re not super close. Yeah I think they speak Portuguese to each other in their home normally and it’s only 12 people so 8 of them happen to speak Portuguese together and 2 (my mom and I) speak english. I don’t have any hard feelings about what they choose to speak, it just makes it so boring. I understand and can speak some Portuguese but not enough to follow a very fast conversation and they are all fluent.

        Reply
    3. Not Alison*

      Just curious if there is some reason that you haven’t learned any Portuguese. I am learning another language and while my speaking is very poor, I can understand it not too bad. So my friend speaks to me in that language and I answer back in English. Is this a possibility for you?

      Reply
  91. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

    I am up at 2am to go to the airport… because I am going to Disneyworld, all by myself, and I will make rope drop at Animal Kingdom and see critters and ride rides and then go to Magic Kingdom and have Thanksgiving dinner at Tony’s Town Square, where I hear I can get paw-tographs from Lady and the Tramp. No Thanksgiving drama or hosting this year for me!!

    Reply
    1. DawnShadow*

      That sounds like the best Thanksgiving I’ve heard yet! You are inspiring me for next year! Hope you have an absolute blast.

      Reply
    2. Filosofickle*

      My family moved to AZ when I was young. We spent our first 4 Thanksgivings at Disneyland and it was AWESOME. Have a great time!

      Reply
    3. PB*

      This sounds amazing! I’m planning a trip to Disney World… in three years. I’ll have three landmark events that year, so a big celebration makes sense, but I admit to feeling a tad bit jealous of your plans for today.

      Reply
  92. Yeah yeah yeah*

    This will be my first Thanksgiving as a diabetic. I was diagnosed in May and have gone from the lowest amount of metformin to prescribe as possible to the max plus a side of Jardiance on top. My family ordered a dinner from Cracker Barrel and I think I will be reduced to just turkey and water. Over half of my family is also diabetic but they aren’t having the problems that I am having. One even is lobbying for a trip to the fancy grocery store in town to get extra desserts. I think I might spring for two spoonfuls of stuffing but … sigh. Thank goodness for flavored fizzy waters.

    Reply
    1. Cat Whisperer*

      I wish I could teleport you over some of our mashed cauliflower with asiago cheese and butternut squash casserole that’s low-carbed our with cauliflower (you really can’t taste it) and loaded up with pecans.

      I’m sorry. Can you bring something for yourself? I think it’s the height of rudeness to have a large group of people over and not offer a vegetarian dish, a gluten-free dish, and something that is lower carb for those with health issues. Hell – one dish could be all three of those things. When you think about the number of people who have diabetes in our country, it’s really sad that we ignore that fact for dinners like this.

      You have my sympathy. Even with no risk factors, I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes the day before Halloween. Right after I had made the pumpkin muffins with cream cheese icing from the Bouchon Bakery cookbook. Like they were cooling and the icing had just been made when I got the call.

      Reply
    2. Honk*

      Oh gosh, I’m so sorry. Last year I got diagnosed with IBS and had to heavily restrict my diet like, two weeks before Christmas. During the party, I ended up eating dry chicken and plain potatoes while everyone else was having meat pie, glazed ham, fudge, wine, etc. It did suck.

      I really wish I had disregarded my mom’s objections and bought a real meal for myself – she didn’t want me to do that since she was hosting and didn’t want to be embarrassed in front of the relatives, but yknow what, at least I could have microwaved and eaten it after everyone left. I would still have felt a bit lonely during the dinner but I wouldn’t have gone to bed hungry and sad.

      Reply
    3. Yeah yeah yeah*

      The meal wasn’t so bad after all. I had two thirds of the plate covered with turkey and green beans. One third to a spoonful each of three carb items. Dessert course was the tough one. I think if we hadn’t ordered from a restaurant that there would have been more diabetic friendly food but there have been a lot of emergency room visits and hospitalizations lately and we just saved the energy to get through the day rather than cool. I did have a piece of pie to regret so I need to do better. But on a more thoughtful note, I agree with Cat Whispered that there should be more options in the prepared holiday meal selections from grocery stores and restaurants for lighter fare or special needs. I bet it would sell well. Why not have a white wine and herb based gravy, fresh salad, white turkey slices, and goopless green bean casseroles for sale?

      Reply
  93. Seven hobbits are highly effective, people*

    My grandma had some kind of stroke or seizure last Thursday, and can no longer swallow, so mom cancelled Thanksgiving. Grandma was expected to pass away within a week, but was still hanging on as of my last check-in with mom earlier this evening. Mom’s brother and his wife have been visiting from out of state since Friday to be with grandma, but aren’t sure if they’ll leave tomorrow or not if grandma is still here. (My uncle is retired from his “career” job, but now works at a store related to a hobby of his, so missing Black Friday would probably be a pretty big deal.) I spent all last weekend in and out of mom’s house, but had to work this week so haven’t been back since Sunday.

    I already had all of the ingredients purchased for a pumpkin pie, which I have not made. I guess there’ll be pie at some point this winter – all of it will keep pretty much indefinitely except for the eggs, and it’s not hard to find things to cook with eggs in the meantime, or people willing to eat pie even if it’s not any particular day. Mom has a big turkey in the freezer that I assume she has not defrosted. I also have a box of stuffing that may need to get made eventually, but I don’t know when I’ll have enough people who eat stuffing together at one time to do that.

    I have no idea what I’m doing tomorrow. I put “frantically trying to somehow defrost and spatchcock the turkey in mom’s freezer so we can have Thanksgiving dinner reasonably soon after she realizes that most of the family is at her house on Thanksgiving afternoon anyway” at about 30% odds, really. “Drinking and playing video games at home” is at a conservative 10%, and the remaining 60% is “at mom’s house, no turkey dinner” as the most likely outcome. (I do not eat turkey anyway, so I’m not particularly invested in whether or not one’s available tomorrow.)

    Reply
  94. Gingerblue*

    Every time my father makes martyred comments about how he wishes they were having Thanksgiving at home instead of going to someone else’s house, but it’s just not worth cooking if it’s only him and Mom, I want to ask him why he thinks it would sound attractive to me to pay hundreds of dollars to fly thousands of miles to spend hours in the kitchen while he sits in front of the tv sulking about… whatever the hell it is that time. It will be something. It always is. The part where going home for Thanksgiving demonstrably shortens how long it takes for him to start being awful at Christmas doesn’t help either.

    Like, dude, you could have literally everything you claim you want, except for the part where you’re you.

    I used to like the holidays.

    Reply
  95. MiMiFrog*

    I’m American and living in London. At work per usual. Worse day of the year to be an Expat. Luckily we have dinner planned at a restaurant that is doing some semblance of Thanksgiving.

    Reply
    1. Fikly*

      My sister, for years, went to a summer camp that had a large number of international camp staff. Every year, on the fourth of July, they threw the Brits into the lake.

      Reply
  96. Grand Mouse*

    Honestly, I’m depressed. and dealing with some unknown heath issue that has been dragging me through the mud for weeks, which might be why I’m depressed. Good news about depression is that it numbs my emotions so much that I don’t really care about things good or bad. I usually love food but I don’t even care. I usually like company but I can’t stand to be around it. So I’m just not going to go to Thanksgiving! No big plans have to be changed or anything. I see no upside other than alleviating a bit of guilt.

    Gonna beg off on a stomach issue. Partially true. Stomach pain has been a big source of stress throughout these weeks. Who knows what will happen if I show up. Probably a bad time for everybody.

    Reply
    1. Jules the 3rd*

      If you went to a place with people who love you, people would be happy and grateful to see you. It is TOTALLY OK not to go because you don’t want to go, and because it would be a bad time for *you*, but try to hold onto the thought that some people do love you.

      Reply
    2. MJ*

      I hope you can do something fun or self-caring for yourself today in place of going to Thanksgiving. Keeping you in my thoughts. Depression and health problems suck.

      Reply
  97. MOAS*

    soooo I’m in Canada for the week so not really doing thanksgiving. If I was home, I’d probably go to my uncles who hosts the meal. I really miss my extended family. I haven’t talked to them or seen them much for about a year now. I’m not mad at them but seeing them, passing by my uncles street (he’s 5 minute drive away from me)— it all reminds me of my father. I can’t type this sentence without crying, I don’t know how I would’ve handled an evening there.

    On another note, I came up with like 8 million things to say and post here because I need the calm, rational interactions this weekend. Just 3 more days I tell myself.

    Reply
    1. Not So NewReader*

      It’s okay to cry. I think you kinda know that.
      Three days? I am not sure if I am remembering. An anniversary, I think.

      Invest in your self-care. Whatever that means to you, soaks in a hot bathtub, naps, good book, short walks, it can be anything. Take the time to put things into you.
      One day at a time, right? Just get through today and worry about tomorrow, when tomorrow comes. This breaks the journey up into smaller parts and perhaps in a tiny way can make it seem less daunting.

      Reply
  98. Traffic_Spiral*

    Any recipes for thanksgiving-themed cocktails? I’m thinking spiced cranberry or apple – maybe spiced pear. Also, we have some non-drinkers, so I want virgin ones as well.

    Reply
    1. Cat Whisperer*

      I love a homemade cranberry & rosemary simple syrup served with a choice between sparkling water, a VERY dry sparkling wine, and gin.

      Let me know if you want me to figure out the proportions for you.

      Reply
    2. Cheesesteak in Paradise*

      Cranberry plus vodka or gin plus cinnamon simple syrup

      Apple cider plus brandy or bourbon plus cinnamon simple syrup

      Reply
    3. londonedit*

      One Christmas we made a fab cocktail that was a riff on a Nigel Slater idea – equal quantities of cider apple brandy (we used a local one but you could use Calvados) and really good cloudy apple juice, topped up with Champagne (or Prosecco or whatever dry sparkling wine you like). You can add a couple of frozen raspberries for a bit of colour.

      Reply
    4. Rebecca*

      I should have paid attention at the post office yesterday afternoon! There was a lively discussion about Thanksgiving cocktails, they all sounded so good, and I actually said – hey, do you have room for another? (small town, everyone knows or knows of someone else, so no harm in a little ribbing!) Our postmaster said she wishes she could set up a big tent outside and have snacks and drinks for everyone!

      Reply
    5. embertine*

      Spiced pear is great because you can do a teetotal version very easily. Mulled cider too, which can be made with apple juice.

      Reply
  99. Blob*

    Happy Thanksgiving from Europe !!!!

    Spread the love !!!!

    Where I live, there is no Thanksgiving, and I am currently writing this comment from a very small office which I share with my unbearable weird sound-making colleague. But the weekend is soon, so I am happy !!!

    All the love :)

    Reply
  100. Liane*

    I don’t like Thanksgiving, or November. Twenty-two years ago, my dad passed away early the day before, when my daughter was a newborn and my husband recovering from surgery. (His first outings after were to help me with arrangements and then the services.) So I stopped enjoying it. And at least part of the month was miserable for me. Once we moved up here, my beloved mother-in-law was in charge of the day for her, father-in-law and the 4 of us)–and I came to enjoy that, although I still had my days in November. (Nope, not a word from in-laws, unless it was sympathy.) After first FIL, and then MIL passed away, I went back to the same pattern. So last week found me talking/crying via Skype to one of my friends because it hit me.
    Today we aren’t doing much as the (grown) kids are working and they weren’t into the usual dinner or foods either this year. So later today I will dare the grocery to get some things we all like to eat. Am thinking shrimp or other seafood. But with pie.

    Please don’t think I will be spending the day sad, I won’t. I will read (I saw a new book by a favorite author for cheap on Kindle–yay) and dabble in 3d art and cuddle our dog Bear and maybe practice music. Am trying to talk family into seeing Frozen II tonight, but if we don’t we will binge something on Netflix or Disney+. As well as binge on the not-traditional foods. My son is off Friday so we can take Bear for a long walk on a nearby trail. Then Advent starts Sunday, so will be helping decorate at church Saturday (and maybe at home)! I love Christmas!
    TL;DR: When I rule the world, I am going to get rid of November or rename it, or something, For Reasons. You’ve been warned…
    Back later, have Bear to pet.

    Reply
    1. Jules the 3rd*

      Piiiieeeeee!

      More seriously, I am sorry for your losses. Kudos for making the time into what you want, instead of trying to create someone else’s ideal.

      Reply
  101. Cat Whisperer*

    My husband & I, along with our 4 year old, will be staying at our house because my mom says she can’t invite just one of her children to Thanksgiving. There were no offers to split the day and no attempts to find an alternate one for a second celebration for my family, despite me offering to do so.

    The reason I don’t want to be around my sibling? He is an active alcoholic with a penchant for becoming verbally abusive to anyone who calls him out on anything. Hell – he’s abusive to anyone he feels like blaming for any of his problems that day. Last year around this time, he decided to add Xanax as a chaser to his drinking repertoire. He almost got arrested for physically abusing his girlfriend. He then proceeded to wreck his car, tell my parents it’s all their fault for not loving him enough, and make the most vile accusations about me to my husband, before going into rehab. Those are just the highlights.

    He started drinking again 5 months out (I suspect it was sooner). In the last month he’s shown up to the hospital drunk twice after my mom almost died during a routine operation, and then went over to yell at my mom for not loving him enough when she came home from the hospital after a ten hour operation that should have been two. He’s wrecked his car “sliding into a curve”. He’s routinely sent my mom awful texts accusing her of loving me more than him. He’s sent me texts about how he needs me in his life and needs my support. And when my mom told him I will not let him be around my 4 year old until he’s been sober for a while, I got several texts telling me what a bitter, vindictive c*** I was.

    I’m not the crazy one, right? I don’t want my child to think that my brother is a safe person in any way or expose them to his crazy, especially since he’s scared them in the past when he showed up drunk. This is good parenting, right? This is not just me being overly dramatic in a selfish ploy to break my mother’s heart because she wants her whole FAAAAAMMMMIIIILLLLYYYY there, right?

    And yes – I talked to my psych (Yay SAD, major depression & anxiety), and I’ve got an appointment with a therapist that has worked with lots of families that are dealing with addiction. I’ve tried a few Alanon groups, but nothing has really clicked for me at them. I’ll probably try again after the new year.

    TLDR – I’m not punishing my mom, simply by not wanting my 4 year old to be around an abusive drunk, right?

    Reply
    1. The Francher Kid*

      No you are not. Repeat, no you are not!! You are being a responsible adult, protecting your child from an abusive, violent alcoholic. There are a couple of entries on this thread from people who have dealt with these issues as children. I am sure that all of them would have been very grateful for an adult willing to protect them.

      Your mother is enabling him. Please don’t let her guilt you into something you know is going to be unpleasant and could easily turn dangerous because of her blindness. She may very well feel ashamed that maybe this is somehow all her fault because she didn’t love him enough but it’s not, and it’s not your burden to bear. I’m glad you’ve held firm against his attempts to guilt you as well.

      I’m also glad you’ve found a therapist who’s familiar with addiction issues, you’ll get a lot of help and support in drawing and maintaining firm boundaries. I’m sorry Alanon hasn’t been helpful to you.

      Hugs from an internet stranger if you want them. Stay firm, you’ve done nothing wrong. You didn’t cause this and you can’t fix it. Only he can, and he’s got to want to do the hard work of getting and staying sober (which includes taking responsibility for his actions). Until he’s ready to do that, all you can do is what’s best for you and for your child by cutting contact.

      Reply
    2. DawnShadow*

      You are doing the best you can in an awful situation. Much hugs if you want them. As it sounds like you already know, you can’t change him, only how you react to him. What you are doing, even if he is vocally and abusively not happy about it, is the only sane thing to do. You are protecting yourself, your family, and your child. And though he won’t admit it, it’s the only thing that could possibly remotely make a difference in whether he actually makes lasting changes for himself. Probably he won’t, but at least you aren’t enabling him. Hold the line. You are doing well. It sucks but you are not alone.

      Reply
      1. The Francher Kid*

        My first post disappeared, hope it doesn’t show up twice.

        No you are not, repeat no you are not! You are protecting your child from an abusive, violent alcoholic. There are other posts on this thread from people who had to deal with relatives like this, and all of them would have been grateful for an adult willing to step up and protect them.

        Your mother may feel ashamed, that she somehow caused his alcoholism by not loving him enough. I hope you can persuade her to go to therapy or maybe find an Alanon group (sorry you did not find a group that clicked).

        In the meantime, all you can do is cut contact and stay firm. This is not your problem to solve and putting your child in danger is not going to help anything. He is the only one who can, and he has to be ready to take responsibility for his actions and willing to put in the hard work of getting and staying sober.

        Reply
        1. Diahann Carroll*

          There are other posts on this thread from people who had to deal with relatives like this, and all of them would have been grateful for an adult willing to step up and protect them.

          Exactly this. A parent’s main responsibility towards the child(ren) they choose to bring into this world is to protect them at all costs. Keeping your kid away from an abusive alcoholic is doing just that. My mother grew up in a horribly abusive family, and her mother just sat back and let her get beat on and molested – forty some-odd years later, and she still hates this woman with a passion (and I don’t blame her).

          Do whatever it takes to keep your child safe and away from dysfunction.

          Reply
    3. Filosofickle*

      You are not the crazy one. You are doing the right thing.

      If it’s not a safe place, emotionally or physically, then you do not have to be there. Should not be there. And it’s not only your child’s safety that matters — yours does, too. Your mother had a choice, this was her decision. Her feelings about this are not your responsibility. Making peace at your kid’s expense is not your responsibility. Your brother’s alcoholism and behavior is not your responsibility. (I didn’t click with Alanon either. But those bits helped me.)

      Reply
    4. PB*

      As everyone else said, you’re doing everything right. I’m so sorry you have to put up with this and that blame is being shoved off on you. Even if you didn’t have a child, you shouldn’t have to be around your abusive brother! This is an entirely reasonable thing to ask. This is in no way your fault.

      Reply
  102. Delta Delta*

    It’s just my husband and me, so we don’t make a huge dinner. We cook some turkey pieces so we can have leftovers, and make a pie because pie. We usually do the local 5k, join friends at a local church dinner (don’t have to do dishes! Yeah!), and enjoy the afternoon. Pie!

    Reply
  103. Jules the 3rd*

    I am super super lucky. My parents are even more liberal than I am, so the worst argument we have is whether monorail is *practical* in our area and what route it could take. It’s all about how to make things happen, not what needs to happen. My mom is a great cook who enjoys it, my husband / parents like each other, and I can take the dog. All that said, we did tgiving with them last weekend, as they go to an extended family reunion out of state for actual tgiving.

    We will be spending four glorious days at home for a staycation. I may meet up with some friends on Sunday, I will be doing some serious cleaning, esp after Mr. Jules makes the corned beef, but mostly it’s just hanging out doing jack, all and diddly. Haaaaaaappppyyyy Daaaaaaaaaance.

    Reply
  104. Rebooting Thanksgiving*

    Content warning. Every childhood holiday including Thanksgiving. Drug abuse and alcohol, screaming, hitting, throwing things and the dread leading up to it with inevitable horror.
    Not surprising the best gift, I ever gave myself was to skip it altogether.
    Yet, I have been in a new hometown for 7 years now.
    We are near my husband’s family .
    I am doing the dinner.
    Turkey goes in the oven at 9.
    Stuffing is already made.
    Bought 4 pies and a 5th one is coming today.
    I gave permission last night for the cousins to eat the pumpkin.
    Great joy reigned across the land.
    No dread.
    Did I mention , I am going to be sixty in two months?
    Better late…

    Reply
    1. The Francher Kid*

      Warm congratulations from an internet stranger on doing the hard work of relearning normal and building a new and better life for yourself. I’m still in the process, and it’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done (I’m sixty-five). I’m proud of you!

      Reply
      1. thanksgiving reboot*

        I know. It was great to be Queen of Thanksgiving and give permission to eat the pie. The cousins were giddy with “getting away with something” I guess that will be our tradition. Pie first.

        Reply
    2. Not So NewReader*

      Time for a change. Good for you.
      My beloved aunt would not stay at people’s houses because of what happened to her when she stayed at her inlaws.
      It was DECADES of staying in motel rooms while visiting others.
      Then one day it happened. She agreed to stay at MY house. (wow-wow). She was in her 60s. She finally found a place and a space in time that she felt safe.
      Congrats on finding your safe place and space in time.

      Reply
  105. OtterB*

    My husband just left to run a 10K Turkey Trot. I’m about to get dressed and go to church. Having time to do that is a surprise benefit of not doing Big Family things; church was never a part of Thanksgiving when I was younger but I find I like it now. It’s both festive and low-key, if that makes sense. Daughter the younger is asleep upstairs. Daughter the elder, in her first job post-law-school, is coming for a longer stay in December and decided against this quick trip.

    Since my SIL “retired” from hosting the family gathering more than 10 years ago, we haven’t really established a new tradition. We’d found a restaurant we loved that had a great Thanksgiving buffet at a reasonable price but they closed, sigh. The last few years we’ve tried other restaurants but nothing suited as well. This year I’m cooking, but just for the 3 of us. Turkey breast to go in the oven after I get home from church. Dressing and gravy will be boxed/jarred and I’m okay with that. The only thing I’m spending any time cooking is the vegetable; I’m trying a recipe for roasted brussels sprouts with onion and apple, with toasted pecans, blue cheese, and dried cranberries sprinkled on top. Plus purchased pumpkin pie.

    And while the turkey is in the over, I WILL clear all the clutter off the dining room table so that (a) we can eat dinner on it today, and (b) there will be a place to put the Advent wreath starting Sunday.

    Reply
  106. Midge*

    Family member who works in the service industry means that we are celebrating tomorrow, which is fine by me. She can use the holiday pay, and we regularly shift holiday celebrations because of her job. I hope that everyone working today is getting tons of extra $$$ and is able to have a nice relaxed Thanksgiving with family or friends this weekend.

    Reply
  107. The Other Dawn*

    My husband is working today so I’ll have dinner at my sister’s house and then meet him at my sister-in-law’s house for their dinner. I made brownies and I’m making a creamy scalloped corn casserole. I’ve never made that before, but it looks like it would taste good.

    We always dread going to SIL’s for dinner. I know they make an effort, but, damn, none of them can cook, none of them have any concept of time management when it comes to a holiday meal, and they’re very disorganized. They’ll say they’re eating at 5 pm, but my husband and I know that actually means about 7 pm so we plan accordingly. The food isn’t terrible, it’s just cold by the time all of it gets to the table and the turkey is very dry. Typically the turkey is done and carved, sitting on a plate uncovered. That’s when they decide to make the mashed potatoes and anything else. By the time everything is done, that turkey is cold and dried out. We eat it without complaint, but we usually leave and want to head to the diner or something. And I always pack up a plate from my sister’s house to take home for my husband to eat later on when we get home.

    Reply
  108. MOAS*

    Aaaaand today I’m mad because I work up at 4 am because my husbands phone kept going off with notifications. Every time I dozed off, I kept getting jolted by the stupid phone. I got upset and he’s like “well it’s not like you’re going to work”.

    *screaming internally*

    Reply
    1. The Gollux, Not a Mere Device*

      I think you are now entitled to wake him every hour the next couple of times you’re awake and he isn’t.

      More kindly, and better for ongoing harmony, you’re also entitled to sit him down as soon as you’re awake, and explain that it’s bad enough to be awakened at 4 a.m. without being told that you shouldn’t mind. If he doesn’t apologize *immediately* and say that he wasn’t thinking clearly because he wasn’t really awake either, explain that you want an apology and for him to make it up to you in some suitable fashion, like taking a couple of extra turns at some inconveniently timed or otherwise annoying chores.

      Reply
  109. CSR by Day*

    At work I had put in to take Friday off, but had the request denied. I was told that last year, before I started, my employer decided at the last minute to give Friday off to EVERYONE who had requested it, but didn’t tell people until Wednesday. So all Wednesday at work I kept hoping that maybe… Well, it’s not going to happen. I had wanted Friday off because I wanted to have Thanksgiving dinner with my parents who live 280 miles away (no public transportation) and a 4 and a half hour drive.

    OTOH, the weather is really lousy and I don’t really want to be driving through the countryside in the snow, so maybe it is for the best. I’ll be spending the day with my niece’s family and various other relatives. My niece is a sweet girl, but quite the perfectionist and sometimes she gets all stressed out over details and when that happens she’s kind of unpleasant to be around. (She reminds me of me when I was her age.)

    Reply
    1. Honk*

      I don’t mean that in a cruel way by the way I’m just glad to be personally done with that song and dance for this year. Love and support to y’all!

      Reply
    2. Jules the 3rd*

      lol…. Also, my son is obsessed with geese, even before Untitled Goose Game, and found a video explaining how geese came to be.

      Is it true that Canadians are only allowed to be evil one day a year, and that all the excess evil is filtered off to Canadian geese? I mean, geese are pretty evil, but still, that’s a lot of evil.

      Reply
      1. Honk*

        I love that game (as you probably guessed)!

        Yes, that’s absolutely true; Canadian geese are in fact made of compacted evil, which is why eating them is discouraged (it’s hard to digest). I know a person in my field who was bitten by one particularly irate goose on her way to work multiple times, for instance. I like observing them from afar though!

        Reply
  110. TurtleIScream*

    Quiet day here. My MIL cancelled hosting because she’s fighting something nasty. We would have been welcome to crash our best friends’ family gathering, but his dad passed this morning (very expected.) I had the foresight to buy a small bacon-wrapped turkey breast, and I always have sweet potatoes, stuffing mix, and applesauce on hand, so we will still eat well! We’ll have a low-key day of resting, playing games, eating, and maybe get started on Christmas decorating. I’m sure tomorrow or Saturday, we’ll go spend some time hanging out with our friends.

    Reply
  111. Anonymous at a University*

    I now live far enough away from my family that I don’t go back for Thanksgiving (with my teaching schedule, I’d literally only be able to stay about a day, and I’d have to fly on Thanksgiving itself, so not worth it). I have to admit a tiny bit of relief this year because apparently my nieces, 7 and 10, are going through a phase where the younger one loves meat and the older one hates it, and the first one cries if it’s not on the table and the second one cries if it is, and then they fight all day long. Nothing stops it because, unfortunately, my sister is a super-indulgent mother and assumes that if someone is crying there’s no solution but to give them whatever they want, so a solution like moving one of them into another room to eat still makes them cry because “You’re KICKING ME OUT!” and she immediately caves.

    I’ve heard enough detailed descriptions of the epic meltdowns at this point- and the younger one trying to take the older one’s vegetarian dishes away while the older one tries to take other people’s meat dishes away- that I’m really, really glad not to be there right now.

    Reply
  112. Jdc*

    Ugh. Thanksgiving was fine but my husband just ended a convo with “I’m done talking about this”. I respect him saying it but I’m just sort of fuming right now. It wasn’t an argument just about having kids. We are on the same page but dealing with some fertility issues. I’m right now just. I don’t know. Practicing my breathing. Yes I was repeating myself a bit but. Ahh. He wasn’t rude or mean just said he needed to be done but, i have my own stuff with it all and am daily devastated I’m not currently pregnant… or likely to be. Seriously needing some deep breathing right now. I probably bring it up too much but it’s also the main thing on my mind. He has kids so as much as he wants more it’s not the same thing for him.

    Reply
  113. Ryan Howard’s White Suit*

    Just want to shout out to any Londoners on here. My family and I have been here since Sunday and are flying out in approximately 6 hours. This was my first trip here and quite a dream for many years and it’s been fantastic. We spent our Thanksgiving on the Eye, skating at the Tower (kids skated; spouse and I drank mulled wine in the tent), and wandering around Leicester Square and Piccadilly Circus. Everyone we’ve interacted with has been friendly and helpful. We cannot wait to return!

    Reply
    1. londonedit*

      Hoorah! I’m glad you enjoyed our lovely city (and thank you for mentioning that people were helpful – we have a reputation in other parts of Britain for being rude and dismissive, and we’re really not). I’m sorry the weather was a bit rubbish, but it sounds like you had a great time anyway.

      Reply
      1. Bibliovore*

        I am a week away from my first visit to Britain. Cambridge, London, and Oxford. Packing dilemma. Shoes? Will I need rainboots?

        Reply
        1. Lena Clare*

          It’s bitterly cold by the coast/ water and prone to rain everywhere at this time of year – a lot – which will turn icy. Yes to rain boots with a good grip.
          And lots of layers!
          Have fun :)

          Reply
  114. Kelly*

    After this year’s at my sister’s place and not having any meat or alcohol through the extended weekend, I think next year may be staying at my place and spending Thanksgiving day with extended family. I’m not sure I can survive Xmas with them at his place, no alcohol and no meat.

    My dad switched to a mostly plant based/vegan diet this spring due to a health scare on his doctor’s advice. Meanwhile, my sister who has inherited the family tendency to try the latest fad diet in order to lose weight has latched onto my dad’s new diet or as he prefers to phrase it, lifestyle. I’m not sure it’s really working for her because she doesn’t appear to lost much weight. Then again, that’s par for the course with my aunts and cousins who have tried most of the trend diets out there. She has a tendency to completely cut things out of her diet, including alcohol and red meat, rather than trying moderation. I know that completely cutting things out won’t work and have more success with reducing some things and having them in moderation.

    Reply
  115. Foon*

    I know I’m days late to this thread but the childhood bedroom thing really hit home- for me it’s a twin bed, WWE comforter, Fall Out Boy poster on the wall, and my mom’s sewing gear.

    Reply

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