It’s Thanksgiving week! Like many, I am excited to only be working a 3-day week this week, although the brevity of it makes it challenging to go through the motions of the first few days.
I love Thanksgiving. It’s one of my favorite holidays because it has the delicious food, family time and festive mood that Christmas has, but without the stress of gifts and typically with better weather, and a 4-day weekend. Plus, once it’s over, you still have Christmas to look forward to, unlike post-New Years when you realize it’s January and winter is hanging out for 4 more months, minimum.
My parents are coming, so Todd and I are hosting Thanksgiving at our place. This will be my third time hosting them, but the first year in this place and officially with Todd. The first year I hosted them was back when I was married, at the condo.
BORING, MOVING ON.
Second time was last year in my apartment. Todd was with me, but this year we are making everything ourselves at home, so after an epic shopping trip yesterday, I am feeling excited and ready!
This is all sounding pretty adult, right?
But that’s just the plan, and the execution always leaves some room for… variety. Last year I had grand plans, too. Rather than put the pressure on myself to make an edible meal, I had Thanksgiving largely catered from our favorite local deli. I still decided to make a couple of the sides myself though, and my plan was to get up early on Thursday and get going on that, have snacks and cocktails set out, thrown on a festive dress and do it up!
The execution, though, was, as my parents were nearing the apartment from their hotel, I was in the shower, having to lean out at one point to vomit in the toilet.
I’d stayed in bed until the last possible minute. That’s because, when my family, including my brother (we’ll call him Henry), had arrived the night before, we’d gone out to dinner. Because my brother and I don’t get to go out together a ton, he, Todd and I continued the party at a nearby bar. With whiskey. I got carried away with the excitement of having him in town and meeting up with friends, and in the morning I was not in the classiest shape.
One of my favorite things about Thanksgiving besides the grand meal is snacking on delicious appetizers all day, doing a bit of day drinking and watching football. I wanted exactly NONE of that last year. Plus, the sides still had to be made. Thankfully, Todd and Henry stepped up to take care of that while I lay on the couch with a washcloth over my face. I felt like a complete and total LOSER. Really?! At 31, I can’t even manage to hold it together to host Thanksgiving and not be like this? UGH.
I was finally able to pull it together for the big meal later that day, but I spent most of the day “recovering” and not wanting to partake in all of the things I normally enjoy, so that was crappy. No one judged me — outwardly — but I was still a bit ashamed. It’s just hard to spend a day like that when you only see your family every so often! And I kept thinking, I’m just too old for this.
So, this year, I’m hoping things go a little differently. First, Henry is not coming. That’s not something I’m happy about, but I understand (he seems to be very excited about his new lady friend and is spending the day with her family), and it’s just a difference from last year. Second, my parents are staying with us since we have a guest room. So there won’t really be time for me to “pull myself together.” I just have to attempt to be, together.
Now, it’s not like my family doesn’t know me. Ohhhhh, they do! All too well. But that doesn’t mean I don’t want to someday make them proud by being able to say, “Hey, see, I’m a real full-functioning adult now! I made it!” My brother is starting to surpass me in that area and it’s alarming. Plus, he’s a musician, is good at sports and is charming. I had him cornered on the maturity market and career success/school for most of our lives, so if I start to lose out on that, I have nothing! I’m just, “Our other child, Henry’s sister.”
I’m optimistic, though. I have a crock pot meal planned for their arrival Wednesday evening, so we are not going out. That might help. Todd and I have pretty solid meal plans. I will stay well-hydrated. I’m ready.
It’s not as if this meal won’t have some classic crazy Alyssa flair to it. Todd and I got a free turkey with the purchase of a ham. Since we weren’t originally planning to have ham, we have decided to soak it in rum, inspired by the classiest of characters from It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.
My parents don’t know about this yet. It’s a “surprise.” Thinking more, I made an adult decision last night to only do this to half of the ham, so the other half can be actually edible.
See? I’m making strides.
Oh! And I got a free fondue kit with cheese at work last week, so I’ll have that out. Fondue… that’s classy af, right?!
I’m very curious to see how they take in our place and the neighborhood too, as it’s different from where I’ve lived the past 7 years.
Another tradition of sorts over the years is playing out when our friends Michelle and Derek come over for leftovers. We typically watch Christmas Vacation, but since the Packers are playing prime time football this year, we’ll be watching that. Go Pack Go! I think my friends typically view spending time with my family as such, and I’m proud of that:
So yeah. That’s the plan. We’ll see. I wouldn’t be toooo surprised to find one or both of my parents sighing about the apartment at some point, saying, I wonder what Henry’s doing…
What do you do to survive the holidays with family? Or, like me, are you the one causing trouble? Drop me a comment or email firstname.lastname@example.org!