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thanks but no thanks

When I was young, Thanksgiving used to be my favorite holiday. No gifts to buy. Just a day off to gather with relatives and friends, cook a lot of great food, load up on stuffing, mashed potatoes, and gravy, kick back and really be thankful. Maybe watch some football, or better yet, play touch football in the yard. Laugh and tell family stories. It used to be so nice.

Not anymore. My siblings and I don’t get along very well, and our spouses have so little in common that arguments are always just one barbed comment away. Yet again we’re making plans to get together to celebrate the holiday together. It’s insane. We’re not children anymore. Why do we have to go through with this charade, trying to create the appearance of a big happy family? I don’t wish them any ill-will, I just think we’re all happier when we maintain some distance.

Instead, there we will be, trying to make inoffensive small talk around the table in order to break the depressing din of knives and forks grating on the china. Our kids don’t even get along. There’s always some sort of discontent around the card table where the kids are sitting in the living room. Then, after dinner, they fight over the controls to the video games.

How are any of us supposed to be thankful for that?

Jive Turkey

The Practical Cogitator says: I have been toiling with this same problem for years. For the last six years I have been traveling all over the continental US as each of my siblings takes a turn hosting this Thankful holiday. Traveling over TNXG weekend is not only expensive but congested and chock full of delays, etc. We are all usually exhausted before we even arrive!

This year, I have chosen to stay home. I can feel a tremendous amount of relief already. I’ve invited some friends over, some family, it wont be too large, or too many people. I’m having such fun finding new recipes to prepare! Just think, no more marshmallow-covered sweet potatoes! The guests will arrive reasonably at 3pm or 4pm and they will go home after dessert and drinks. I will not be sleeping on anyones couch, displacing any eighth graders from their rooms or sleeping on the floor. On Friday when I wake up, I may have some clean up to do, but I will be home! I will not be in any airports on Saturday, I will be home enjoying my own leftovers for the first time in six years!

I am thankful that I have have siblings, and this year I am thankful that I have chosen to simply stay home and enjoy the holiday, my way. I suggest you do the same. If you find that you missed all the annual family dramas, then there is always next year.

The Advisory Counsel says: Thanksgiving is one of the best holidays, so stop spending it with people that make you miserable. Host your own Thanksgiving and invite the people you want to be there. I’m sure you have friends that are in the same boat as you. Just because you’re family doesn’t mean you have to spend every single holiday together.

Also, friends tend to bring over nice boozy gifts to share.

The Omniscient One says: Invite about a dozen people from your local soup kitchen and say you plan to do that every year from now on. Either your Thanksgiving will take on a more significant meaning or your relatives will banish you from that particular holiday celebration from here on out. Your ahead either way.

The Designing Woman says: Family can drive you crazy. I opted out of the last family gathering I was invited to for such reasons. It turned out to be the last time any of my family would see my grandfather alive. While the rest of them have those last memories to look back on, I sadly do not. Your family might drive you insane, but they are the only one you got. Maybe in time you will feel differently about those memories.

Smart Money says: You can pick your friends, but you can’t pick your family. Just because you’re related, doesn’t mean you have to be pals. Take a page from my book—if you don’t like them, dump them. I have family members I don’t see for years. It’s wonderful!

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