It’s OK to Skip Thanksgiving
Before going all out on Thanksgiving, first consider the worth-it meter
Even if it’s your baby’s first Thanksgiving, especially if it’s your baby’s first Thanksgiving, it’s OK to skip the banquet. It’s not great to go shopping instead, in my oldie fashioned opinion, but if cooking a whole turkey plus stuffing and schlepping across an Interstate with babies crying in car seats is going to make you crazy, there’s a solution. You can take this year off. Really!
We sort of did last year. And the turkey police never found out.
Thanksgiving 2012 fell six days after we had arrived in the U.S. from Italy but this wasn’t a visit. We were moving. From another continent. With three small kids in tow. Luckily we found refuge at my in-laws’ Florida home, but really I’ve never felt more like a pilgrim. Beleaguered from an already long trip with a baby, a toddler and a preschooler too, I was also suffering from the flu and trying to figure out if I’d ever get my milk supply back after not holding anything down for three days (I didn’t). We basically crash landed.
Even though I’m a family food blogger, the idea of dressing everyone up, cooking for hours, cleaning for hours THEN doing the usual bath time and bed time routine was too exhausting to even consider. My blessed mother-in-law roasted a chicken, made a sweet potato side dish and called it a night. I believe there was pie too. But for the simplicity of it all, I love her for it.
It doesn’t even have to be such dramatic circumstances. If you’re tired out, burned out or cooked out, there’s no rule that says you MUST produce a giant pan of poultry in order to prove your gratitude. The point of Thanksgiving is simple: to reflect on everything that’s awesome in your life. You can easily do that over pizza. Especially if there’s wine.
Holidays have a way of turning on you. In the beginning it sounds so fun, your thoughts full of promise. Let’s turn on the music! Dancing around the living room, setting out pumpkins and affixing plastic leaves to windows. The kids are getting into it too. Rousing courses echo in the halls. One little, two little, three little Indians… Then the fun fades, usually around the time you’re holding a still-frozen turkey neck in one hand and a gooey bag of giblets in the other. Wait, HOW long does this thing take to cook?
There comes a point when you have to consider the worth-it meter. If it’s not going to be nice and enjoyable, a memory you want to relive, why do it? In fact, just don’t do it. The pilgrims do not care. I’m not saying holidays don’t matter. To most of us, they do. Deeply. But when the kids are young, especially babies, there are two things to consider: It’s difficult to get things done with babies and toddlers afoot, and because they’re so young, they’ll never remember the year you skipped Thanksgiving.
This year we’re in our own home. The adventure is still going but less scary. My husband has a job, so do I. We bought a house outside of Chapel Hill, North Carolina. It has got the rolling hills we dreamed of and 4-year-old is in a Montessori preschool that we love. It’s coming together, and because it wasn’t easy, I’m more grateful this year then I ever have been. I’m also not moving. So this year we invited my in-laws to our place and they arrived yesterday.
Our 12-pound turkey is on hold at the local co-op, sweet potatoes await their fate in our pantry and my MIL keeps saying things like, “Why don’t we try making the pies from scratch this time?” So this year, it’s on. And this year, I’m excited.
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