It seems fitting that once you get married you begin having multiples of holidays, it seems only sustainable until you have children and then you do it once and the extended family has to deal a little bit more with your decisions. Of course every couple chooses how to do this differently. For us, for our first married thanksgiving, we did it twice.
Thanksgiving is a big deal to my husband who’s birthday falls near and sometimes on thanksgiving, it’s a holiday he gets to go shooting on in the morning and watch football all afternoon. Overall a win in his book.
So for actual thanksgiving day the Mr woke up early to join his father and brother in law with the beginning food prep before heading out for their early morning hunting while the women of the family slept in and enjoyed not doing those things.
My mother in law is a woman who loves tradition and my husband has followed in her footsteps. So we had their traditional meal with the asparagus casserole just so, the right kind of fruit salad, and milk served with the meal. But it’s also proof that families grow and change that we now have a sweet potato dish to satisfy the son in law and I bring corn pudding to satisfy my family tradition bit.
It was a relaxing and enjoyable holiday for the Mr and I as we were responsible for very little, spent time relaxed with family eating delicious food and soaking up family traditions.
Second thanksgiving we actually hosted at our own home! The first holiday meal we’ve hosted and organized together. Nine of my out of town family members came in on that Friday as I roasted my first ever turkey! We made mashed potatoes, rolls, gravy, stuffing, and candied carrots. My uncle contributed a delicious cranberry relish and my sister and brother in law to be brought wine. For dessert I made a pumpkin roll and apple pie and the Mr contributed cranberry ice cream!
Planning a meal with so many parts, organizing the timing, checking all the dishes finish at approximately the same time, and hoping all the family will arrive on time can be a stressful and tiring time. It was good for me to remember that I was serving people who loved me and would be light on judgement. Once you have the responsibility of organizing the whole meal and day I think it gives you more grace for others in that position, it takes a lot out of a person and it’s good to be kind, both to ourselves and those we love.
We are often hard on our families and family holidays often get a bad reputation as we have to put up with the awkward and hard to love parts of our families on those holidays. All families have their own struggles and I believe I have been extraordinarily blessed with a family I love putting up with and an easy to love family in law. But especially at times when large amounts of people in our world are separated from family, refugees are stuck in limbo, families have lost children and fathers to war, and we have knowledge of so many families in pain it seems especially fitting to sit down with our own families at the holidays. To enjoy the unique blessing and frustration we have with each member of our family and while we might not be thankful for each part to the full, I encourage us to use the day of thankfulness to try to be truly thankful. For the family we do have, for the family that we have to work to love, and for the families that take us in when our own family falls apart.