We’re not doing anything for Thanksgiving this year, and I feel pretty great about it.
Truthfully I’m a serial Thanksgiving skipper. When I lived in London I celebrated with a soggy turkey sandwich. In Colombia a couple of years ago we simply went out for pizza. I think that the year I was in Australia I completely forgot it even was Thanksgiving until that evening when I checked my email.
By my count, out of the past 7 Thanksgivings I have celebrated twice. Just two years, the two I was actually in the United States with my family.
It’s not that I have anything against the holiday mind you. Thanksgiving may not be my absolute favorite but it’s a day totally dedicated to food, which you know is my jam. I’m not into Black Friday or any of that nonsense, but I’m totally into giving thanks in general. My favorite bits of Thanksgiving: my grandmother’s Italian meat stuffing, going around the table and listing what we’re thankful for, finally being able to watch Christmas movies.
Last year Mike and I were actually in the United States for Thanksgiving and I whole-heartedly embraced it. In fact, I hosted! Not just my own family, but my future in-laws as well (I am both ambitious and foolish). Despite having zero experience Mike and I managed to:
- Roast a pretty presentable turkey (a small miracle in itself).
- Make two kinds of potatoes (baked sweet potatoes with a clove compound butter and mashed potatoes from scratch)
- Make rosemary garlic biscuits and an elaborate salad involving roasted butternut squash and homemade dressing
Not bad for a first attempt. We didn’t even really need the back-up lasagna my mom so kindly made us.
It was fantastic. And so exhausting. The whole thing took a week to put together, and probably another week to recover from.
So this year I’m not too concerned. For awhile I checked around to see if any restaurants were hosting anything. I considered hosting myself for the little blogger ex-pat community. And then I made the conscious decision to not care. Why should I feel obligated to do something? Thanksgiving is great and all, but I can live without it, for another year at least.
(I will add that Christmas is different. I always want to play christmas music, watch Love Actually and decorate a tree. I’ve never not felt sad about not being home for Christmas. This year we’re celebrating with Mike’s family at a resort in Puerto Vallarta, and I’m still going to get a little teary when I call my parents I’m sure.)
My apathy about Thanksgiving isn’t depressing, in fact it’s rooted in hope. There will be other Thanksgivings, lots of them probably. Mike and I are family now and we have a whole lifetime of warm fuzzy food-drunk Thanksgivings lying ahead of us. Celebrating shouldn’t be an obligation, it should be, well, a celebration!
But how many more years will we be able to blow off a major holiday entirely? Probably not many, and being able to shirk that responsibility is a gift in itself I now realize. No hectic travel. No small talk with weird relatives. No pile of dirty dishes. We’ll just call our folks, wish them well and maybe go out for pizza (or a turkey sandwich if we’re feeling festive).
Who knows where we will be this time next year, or how I will feel about celebrating. But at this point in my life I get to pick and choose, and for that, I’m definitely grateful.