Thanksgiving For All Challenge

 In Holidays

Just a small number of the people who make up my west coast family now.

As the holidays start to roll in, I though now would be a good time to take present a challenge to you all. Don’t be scared. It will be fun. Promise.

The holidays are a hard time of year for a lot of people far from home. Living on the other side of the country from both me and my husband’s families has given us quite a bit of experience in this area. Sure we can Skype and laugh together, but it is never quite the same as being in the same room, fighting over the last crescent roll and debating which cranberry sauce is the best (the jelly roll for sure, not the chunky stuff.)

Many people have to choose one holiday to fly or drive out to see family. It is too expensive and/or exhausting to do both. Christmas is much bigger in our family, so we choose that as our major holiday for going east and making the rounds. That leaves just us over Thanksgiving. It’s kind of depressing actually. I get phone calls about all the get togethers and how much everyone wishes we were there. I wish I were there too!

Sure we could save money by skipping one of our adventures abroad to fly home for 2 days of eating. I’d rather spread the chaos of the holidays throughout one week in December instead of over 48 hours in November though. Thanksgiving is also one of the worst travel weekends across the universe (I’m sure there is a statistic to back that up somewhere.) Everyone is headed out for a 4-day weekend. Nothing sounds less enjoyable or more chaotic to me.

Dek’s first Thanksgiving was filled with great food and amazing friends who took us in when we were exhausted and needed family the most (November 2009)

A few years ago, just after Dek was born, we joined friends for a “Thanksgiving For All” (AKA Friendsgiving) in Seattle. I had never heard of such a thing. I’d done it before in college but there was no name for it. All of our Seattle friends who were not headed home for the holidays got together and did a Thanksgiving Day potluck. What a great idea! These people had become part of my family over the years. We were not alone. We had each other.

This phenomenon seems to have exploded. Maybe it has been growing for years, but suddenly I’m hearing of some sort of all-inclusive Thanksgivings all over the country. Friends and families inviting people who have no one to celebrate the holidays with into their homes. Friends living abroad who are sharing their traditions with new friends and family members.

My challenge to you is this– whether you are staying in town or headed out, why not ask a friend to join you? How hard is it to set an extra place and really make someone’s day? There are always leftovers.

Don’t be a loner over the holidays. Grab your friends and celebrate anyway you can.

This year we have 16 adults and 7 kids (all under the age of 7) gathering at a friend’s house. I’m in charge of turkey, stuffing and gravy. Do you think a 14lb and a 15lb turkey will be enough to feed us all? I sure hope so. I am running out of ovens. No matter what, it is bound to be just as loud and chaotic as any get together my family will be having back east. I couldn’t be happier.

If you are abroad and feeling a little homesick, grab a bunch of friends and start a Thanksgiving tradition of your own. You don’t need a whole turkey to have a holiday. Dive into the local cuisine. Head to the beach for a BBQ while thinking about the rest of us freezing back home. Tell each other why you are thankful this year. It’s not about what you eat, but being with the ones you love and enjoy spending time with.

Go spread some holiday cheer. Don’t wait. Even last-minute invites can be a welcome relief to a lonely neighbor, expat, college student, single mom, homesick traveler, distant cousin or family of friends. It is the season of giving and sharing after all.

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Showing 2 comments
  • Renee

    We have a family friend joining us for the feast tomorrow:) There is always plenty of food so why not invite a few more people to the table to join in and have a place to hang out. Better than hearing that someone ate a deli turkey sandwich over the kitchen sink on TG Day:( Have a Great Holiday!

  • Mommy

    Well, of course I’m shedding a few tears missing you so much. But, yes the family tradition continues and there will be our friend Brooks and her little Emma taking your place…well sorta…glad you aren’t stuck in holiday traffic but still wish you were here. Love you and your traveling gang so much!

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