Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. It’s a day when the entire country chooses to pause. In a world that so often seems full of sorrow and fear, this day is a soft reminder to be thankful for the blessings that we have. We are thankful for the food, our family, our friends, and our freedom to be happy and seek out our dreams. Plus, the next day is the first day of the Christmas season! 🎄
For my family, it brings my entire extended family together for a week of many traditions. We wear matching flannels; we fry our turkey🦃; and we play board games until midnight. This year, my youngest cousin even got her first deer while hunting! I spent most of the week overwhelmed with happiness and the joy of being with people who have never stopped loving me and have never stopped supporting me. This was a Thanksgiving of thoughtfulness, so here’s 10 things that I learned this Thanksgiving season.
- It brings people to you that you haven’t seen in ages. We all have those family members and friends that we don’t see often. My sister wasn’t able to make it to the two family weddings we had this past year, so this was the first time she had seen some of our cousins in three years!
- The first hour or so can be awkward. Let’s admit it, when we see people (even family) that we haven’t seen in a long time, things are awkward at first. The “how have you been’s” and the “what are you doing now’s” can feel forced and uncomfortable. I’m learning not to let this unnerve me, but rather to embrace this as meeting the person that they are today while recognizing the person from the past that I know them to be.
- The food is always a mix of where everyone is from or lives. My dad’s family is from Wisconsin and Chicago, while my mom’s family is from South Carolina. When we celebrate Thanksgiving in Charleston, our food has a southern flare complete with butter beans and rice. When we celebrate in Nashville, we always have bread crumb stuffing rather than cornbread stuffing, and we lack the butter beans and rice. It’s cool to see how my family celebrates in different ways based on hometown.
- As you get older, you can share new things, like alcoholic beverages, together. I’m appreciating life as my cousins are all starting to grow up and become adults. With two of the seven married, and only three under 21 now, we’re navigating our adult lives complete with bills, marriage, and mulled wine.
- Board games are more fun with family. My family has a tradition of playing board games when we’re together. Our favorite one is Ticket to Ride, but this year, we learned new games like Wits and Wagers, and Dicescapades. My sister and I taught our family Fishbowl too! It’s a game that is a combination of Charades and Taboo and is always a huge hit with groups of people.
- It’s fun to show people around your city. My sister and I spent the entire week exploring Nashville murals, bars, and local music. We all even went to the Listening Room as a set of cousins and had an amazing Nashville time!
- The first time hosting Thanksgiving in your home is a huge milestone. Y’all. I hosted Thanksgiving. Not only did people stay at my house, but we ended up eating Thanksgiving in my dining room! It made me feel like an accomplished family member.
- When you’re Southern, everyone keeps apologizing for eating the Thanksgiving food and they go out an buy new things to replenish it all. My mom especially. So thankful for her, but I literally looked in my fridge today and realized that because we ate all of the salad, she bought me an entire bag of lettuce, another bag of mixed greens, a bag of carrots, a bag of radishes, and a cucumber to replace what everyone had eaten!
- When people leave, there is more food in your fridge than you could ever hope to consume. Y’all. Not even kidding. I have a pumpkin pie, a bowl of mashed potatoes, a bowl of sweet potatoes, a few bottles of wine, six cartons of milk, random bags of veggies, and all the salad stuff I’ve mentioned above too. So. much. food. I will not be buying groceries for a month.
- You wouldn’t trade the memories and the happiness for anything in the world. Obviously. Wouldn’t trade this family for anything.