Thanksgiving Open Thread

How’s it going?

Anyone need to pull out the Kazoos of Civility yet?

An attempt to fry a turkey ends in fire
This seems like it’s going fine.


As for me, I’m in my pajamas, catching up on grading for a bit, though will switch over to reading Marianne Kirby’s Dust Bath Revival at some point. Will eat with a good friend & her family later. She is a most spectacular cook and her family is great. We are bringing cheese.

195 thoughts on “Thanksgiving Open Thread

  1. A USA friend has invited me to her Baking Party for Friendsgiving, so I’ll be sending lots of virtual sweets and hugs to anyone who needs or wants them β™‘ You all can do this!

  2. Last time my brother was doing Heated Discussion aka Yelling Brother Time, my mom said, “Ok, we have to wrap this up. We’re going to start the cobbler soon and we can’t have this kind of talk while making peach cobbler.” And then when he kept yelling, I could say, “Brother, please. We’re making cobbler.”

    I’m pretty sure this can be adapted for just about anything. Can’t have during dinner/football/Uno/Anything else.

    Good luck everyone! May your dinner be delicious and your belts be discarded.

  3. Also, that sounds wonderful, Captain! I hope that you all have a great time together and that everything turns out delicious πŸ™‚ (especially the cheese. Because especially delicious cheese is a whole new level of wonderful in my book).

    1. I bought Deleece de Bourguingon aka Cheese Butter, Humboldt Fog (goaty, wonderful), some kind of raw milk Fontina the cheesemonger suggested, a blue-Brie combo, and some cheddar sharp enough to cut itself with. As well as some charcuterie (pate, dry salami, N’duja), prosecco, and cider. CHEESEGIVING!!!!

      1. Oh my goodness *^*
        That’s a godly selection, enjoy it plenty! I’m a hard-die fan of sharp Pecorino myself, but I’ll note down a few of those to try on Christmas, they sound awesome. Thanks for sending some new cheese ideas my way πŸ™‚

      2. As a cheese fan, that sounds incredibly amazing! (Well, not a big charcuterie fan, but that’s fine…. while all the meat-eaters are distracted at that plate, I can make off with more CHEESE!)

        Also, this is the first year I haven’t hosted in one way or another for a long time (“one way or another”: my parents are getting older, and so while we often have the actual meal at their place I’ve taken over more and more of the food prep). I love hosting, and enjoy the calculation of figuring out where everything goes and how to pull everything together (one year when I was in an apt. with a tiny kitchen and no counter space, the mashed potatoes were made in a bedroom and finished pies lived on the balcony), the best utilization of minion help, what goes in the oven when, and then when everyone shows up, enjoying seeing everyone else eat the food I just lovingly prepared. This is fun for me. But for various reasons I wasn’t hosting this year, just showed up at a family get-together and a few get-togethers with friends. The one today was with friends, and I made ONE thing. Just ONE. I spent the rest of my morning on a long bike ride and a luxurious shower, plus critter bonding time. I didn’t even wash any dishes, since the cooking dishes were done before I arrived and the eating dishes go in the dishwasher (I have no automatic dishwasher, so this is an amazing thing to me). I thought to myself, “Hmm. I could get used to this.”

  4. Going pretty well for me and expected to continue that way — because I’m just not doing Thanksgiving. At all. Not going over to my father’s place, where the racists are. Will do lunch/dinner with my mom tomorrow, because she didn’t feel like doing the usual Thanksgiving meal either. I wish everyone had the choice to simply opt out, but I know that is not possible for many. Best wishes to all for peace and serenity today and through the weekend.

    P.S. I assume there’s turkey in that ball of fire?

    1. Yes, someone is frying a turkey on their wooden deck!

      Opting out of holiday hoopla is vastly underrated.

        1. Despite me mentally chanting “Put the lid on the flame. Move the propane tank” it keeps repeating…

        2. I think the thing which fascinates me most about the gif is the way the guy appears to be standing by to extinguish an oil fire with what looks like a piece of cardboard. I mean, I presume it isn’t cardboard, because that would just be foolish… then again, he’s deep frying a whole turkey on a wooden surface, and the blasted thing has *caught fire*, which is Not A Good Thing in the annals of cooking. So possibly I’m being a little optimistic in predictions of lack-of-foolishness.

          May everyone in the USA have a happy and safe Thanksgiving, and please remember the best thing to extinguish oil fires is a very large and heavy metallic lid over the boiling oil.

          1. My friend Paul was also frying a turkey, and he had the whole thing on a cardboard mat (on a brick patio). But since he understands things like “fluid displacement” and “flash boiling” it went without incident.

      1. Okay, I have to tell this story really quick. I used to work at a resort in the mountains, and every guest had to sign a paper saying they would not cook in their cabins. They would go to the picnic area down the road and use the charcoal grills, so bears didn’t go where people were actually sleeping. (And since no one cooked, we left most of the pine needles around, for their rusticness.)

        I work the morning after Thanksgiving, and I’m reading notes left by the afternoon and night shift.

        3:55 pm Guest cabin #35 complained guest cabin #37 has run an extension cord to the porch, and is cooking a turkey in a deep fryer. Security dispatched, did not see fryer but smelled cooking oil.

        4:30 pm #35 has complained that #37 put their fryer back on the porch when security left. Security dispatched, #37 is on their final warning.

        8:30 pm #37 has complained that there has been a bear outside their cabin twice, and they do not feel safe walking to their car or to the lounge.

        1. If only stupid people’s stupidity affected no one but them. If only. Ugh. Were they kicked out? Inquiring minds want to know!

          1. They never got past that final warning, and no staff member ever saw the turkey or fryer. They were checking out that day, thank god.

            Not the same property, but same company as a place with iron wood stoves in every cabin. People put newspapers and clothing on top of lit stoves and smoked out their cabins.

            We always offered to do their ashes for them, but at a certain point we had to stop allowing people to do their own, because they would put hot ashes in a tin bucket and put it on top of a flammable surface. My backup quilt in my bedroom has a charred circle on it from an ash bucket. Great place to work if you like free linens and equipment with “character.” (Scorch marks. All the scorch marks.)

  5. I’m having a low key thing tonight, but the big family shindig at the Asshole Uncle’s house an hour and a half away is on Saturday. If my grandmother hadn’t seen my son in about a year, I’d be skipping.

  6. We had Thanksgiving in October, and it was more or less a trash fire. *sigh*

    But to all the lovely Americans visiting this thread, staring at a giant raw turkey and wondering what to do next, Butterball has a 24/7 turkey emergency hotline. Feel free to hide somewhere, read about the family whose chihuahua got stuck inside their turkey, and at least have some laughs.

    May your Thanksgiving be a good time, or at least provide good food. πŸ™‚

  7. I’m babysitting Baby Rey (the ridiculously adorable subject of letter #728) while Han goes hunting and Leia catches some Zs (she’s on the night shift). For anyone dealing with difficult people today, know that a ridiculously adorable toddler has just learned to “Jedi high-five,” and she would be pleased to offer you one. πŸ™‚

  8. Thought I’d pass along a hot topic deflection strategy that worked well for me when I was helping do dinner prep yesterday:

    Republican uncle: [Hogwash parroted from Faux News talking head]

    Me: Well, that’s your opinion!

    RU: But [“fact” that Faux News talking head parroted from Breitbart]

    Me: (In a tone of voice I usually reserve for those who suggest that I could cure my Type I diabetes by hunting down Tinkerbell and snorting her crushed-up wings) Isn’t it great that we live in a country where multiple opinions can be aired in a public forum like that? Boy howdy, are those dishes piling up. Lemme see if I can apply the youth I wasted playing Tetris to cramming them in the dishwasher!”

    Obvious caveat that your mileage may vary. It does help that my uncle already knows I’ll respect his opinions on real estate and car purchases but will regard his political viewpoints with amused condescension and will thus let it slide after I’ve started going to town on the dishes. Also helps that RU is the lone political outsider in a left-leaning family.

    A happy or at least minimally stressful day to all celebrating!

  9. So far, it’s going okay. I finally started medication in addition to therapy for my anxiety and depression and it’s helping a lot. We are at my husband’s grandmother’s house. She’s supposed to be resting after having a medical procedure and we cook. There’s a lot of chasing her out of the kitchen. Trying to enjoy the moment and not stress over Christmas, which is likely going to be…interesting.

  10. I’m home sick and parked in front of the tv for Macey’s thanksgiving parade and the dog show :). With a side of bagel bites and ramen. Actually kind of fun!

  11. Having a lovely Thanksgiving with my two adult daughters. Lots of singing (especially Hamilton) and laughing. No anger or yelling. We are cooking together, doing the kitchen dance with grace and love (and people can freak out and take a break and it’s ok, no one gets picked on). I am so glad I left my abusive ex – this is such a calmer, happier holiday than in years past.

    1. That makes me really happy to hear! I’m Australian and don’t do Thanksgiving but my brothers and I are all adults and I love doing holidays with them and each of my parents. I’m so glad your abusive ex isn’t around any more and you can have the fun and loving time with your family that you deserve.

  12. I have already executed my Thanksgiving Task (making the stuffing — my brother hates turkey, so we’ll be having some vast smoked cut of beef. The stuffing is baked separately in a pan.) I am contemplating how likely being stuck in a tiny house with 50-60% Trump supporters is to go to hell in a handbasket. (I am not aware that my four-year-old niece has voiced her political stances, as yet.)

    On the positive side, it’s only six people (including my niece and myself), so the potential for vast hellishness is not quite the same as a dinner with all of my Trumpish aunts, uncles, and cousins would be.

    On the somewhat negative side, I don’t particularly trust my grandma and my SIL to not be snarky about various of my life choices in the past year. (I am not sure if they think they are funny. Perhaps they think they are funny.) Most likely they will be distracted by the potatoes and I am just looking for trouble. (There is a bit of weirdness between my SIL and me, having to do with her thinking I’m irresponsible for not having a regular job and traveling a lot. Also, while I love my niece, I am not a kid person, and I am not really up for babysitting all that often.)

    I’m driving myself, and I’m planning to leave as soon as the sportsball comes on.

    Feeling pretty melancholy about the holiday, to be honest. I feel really let down by my family and my county (and my whole state.) I guess it’s no different than any other Thanksgiving in the grand scheme of things (I mean, people have ALWAYS been racist and self-interested.)

    I am looking forward to the food (foooood) and given that I’ve been traveling out of the country for the past eight months, there’s a reasonable chance that we won’t talk politics. Still feeling preemptively tired.

  13. Because of the religious connotations (we are atheist and 1/2 not from the US), my family never did Thanksgiving, so I get a glorious long weekend and one day where all I can do is putter around the house because everything is closed and everyone is busy. It is amazingly refreshing!

  14. I am going to a friend’s with the immense obligation of bringing the ICE. oh the woe! *grin* Mine is going to be fantabulous and I hope others will be too — have spent the morning packing like a fiend for house sale. yay staging! There may be stress as I have problems being near my son for hours at a time [not vice versa] (long story, and we are working through slowly) but am going to do my best not to let there be a lot of it.

  15. I am kind of consumed by anxiety. I have Trump supporters in my family, and I feel an obligation to engage them in discussion, but I’m also so burned out and exhausted and I just want to have a calm Thanksgiving where nobody yells at anybody else. But if I don’t talk to them, who will? I can’t figure out if I’m sinking into complacency, protecting my mental health, or betraying my principles and enabling bigotry by remaining silent. Where are the lines?

    1. 100% there with you. I’ve read through a lot of the scripts and articles and finally realized they aren’t for me today. The assumption seems to be that I’m going to a large family gathering with my family, which isn’t the case. We’re not able to travel this time and our immediate families are both in other states, but it’s very important to my husband that we spend holidays with family, so we’re going to his aunt and uncle’s house nearby. We only see them a couple times a year and it already made me anxious to go over there because his uncle (aunt’s husband) is a diehard Republican who makes comments he doesn’t think are political because they’re just “how the world is.” I realized that I have engaged my own conservative relatives in challenging conversations before, so I don’t need to add to my own anxiety to throw myself to the wolves this time. I’m just going to focus on taking care of my son during dinner and then hopefully getting everyone involved in a game after dinner.

      1. Update: Everything went fine. Uncle wasn’t feeling well so didn’t say much during dinner and went to bed early. I had a list of conversation topics to change subjects if needed and instead just used them to direct conversation every time there was a lull. Having a toddler also helps; he commands a lot of attention πŸ™‚

      2. Just a very gentle reminder that you and your husband *are* a family, and it’s Just Fine to do your own thing. ❀

        1. Oh, I am aware of it, but my husband comes from a very large extended family and it’s important to him to spend holidays with someone, anyone, in the family (his or mine) outside of just us. I also grew up going to large family gatherings but also don’t mind doing our own thing, but since it’s very important to him, we do it. Not a hill I choose to die on in our marriage πŸ™‚

    2. Put your own oxygen mask on first. Self care and personal attention are important. On the selfish side, you have to care for yourself and be mindful and supportive of your own feelings and needs. On the practical side, one conversation at dinner will not likely change anyone’s mind, and even less likely if you can’t rebut comments without bursting into tears or fleeing the area (which, full disclosure, is where I’m still at).

      This isn’t a sprint, it’s a marathon, and it’s also a relay race – we have to trust each other to all pitch in and help to the extent of our abilities. The more angry and strong will start us off now (they have already started us off), and us scared and anxious ones will join in when we can (there was a comment on an advice column about learning that we can often still act even in the midst of feeling overwhelmed), and we will support them and support each other through this whole long slog.

      1. Very well phrased. My wonderful SIL picked up the baton and hosted a Syrian refugee family for Thanksgiving. I am so thankful for my family and extremely proud of my nephews who spent the evening finding ways to entertain three small children with limited English. We don’t need to do it all, we just need to do our part.

    3. This definitely does not sound like a comment a complacent person would make, but a person who cares very much.

      Sometimes I think, well if I care about doing this, shouldn’t I be able to do it? But caring about something doesn’t automatically make someone equipped to do it. And if you are unable to handle engaging your family members, that’s okay. I don’t think people are usually (or ever) equipped to do every good thing at every opportunity. This is just one opportunity you may have to turn down because of your very valuable mental health – not a judgement on you.

      1. Er, that should read more like “I don’t think most, if any people are equipped to do every good thing at every opportunity.”

    4. You don’t owe them your time, especially if it hurts you. Why do you feel obligated? If they voted for That Man, their minds are likely not flexible enough to engage in an honest discussion, TBH.

  16. Spouse and I have baked three loaves of Irish soda bread and two batches of cookies (chocolate chip and butter bars!). If Uncle Racist or Auntie Republican start going on, we will use the time-honored Jam Baked Goods Into Their Mouth, Change Subject method of deflection.

    Also, 13 children under 10 will be present, and I am perfectly willing to speak up and say “Uncle Racist, you are entitled to your opinions, but Little Nell doesn’t need to hear you yelling racial slurs, and her mom is in fact standing behind you with a boat of boiling gravy…”

    1. I had to go look up butter bars because I’d never heard of them, and jebus. TWO sticks of butter? Dude, that’s a lot of butter.

  17. My quality of life improved SO MUCH when I stopped spending time with anyone except my SO and my parents, as I can browbeat my parents into behaving (if anyone tries to talk about politics or my horrible job at the dinner table I have solemnly promised to have a shrieking fit until they stop… unless someone would like to airdrop me a kazoo).

    1. Rednecks never die. They just grow old and move to Florida.

      I mean, I assume that’s a redneck. Every time I’ve ever encountered a Thanksgiving turkey fireball, rednecks (read: relatives) were involved.

  18. Just got into work. It’s a paid holiday, and I don’t have to be here, but I am so far behind that this feels like a cheat day to catch up. Been listening to 3 hours of food-related songs and stories that the local radio station does every year on this day. Right now it’s the Smothers Brothers singing about falling into a vat of chocolate.

    Planning on calling various relatives this afternoon to wish them a Happy Thanksgiving. Kinda sad to not see them, but also happy to not be traveling.

    I might bake a couple of sweet potatoes for dinner. That’s the closest I’m going to get to the traditional feast. I finally grated up the gigantic zucchini passed along to me and sitting on my counter for a week. Made a zucchini-potato torte for dinner last night, and hope to work on zucchini-chocolate cake tonight. Have some other zucchini recipes picked out…

        1. The sequels are great as well. “Dave Raises the Turkey” and “Ferrets for Christmas”

  19. Just a normal day here in Canadaland, but since your sales have traveled across the border to prevent us from cross border shopping, I’m going to try and get a pair of dress winter boots for $100 off since the only ones I have rn are much more casual and 3 years old.

    1. One of the plus-size clothing companies I’m on the email mailing list for has started their “Black Friday” sale. This is in Australia, by the way. I’ve heard of cultural hegemony, but this is starting to get just a little ridiculous.

      1. I live in Spain and we have Black Friday sales here too. It IS very weird, since most of us didn’t even know Black Friday existed until a couple of years ago, and we don’t celebrate anything resembling Thanksgiving (we do celebrate Halloween, though, so give it time…).

        1. Ditto here in the UK. I have a whole host of Black Friday sales emails piling up in my inbox. In fact, far from just Black Friday sales, a vast number of the shops I’ve signed up to mailing lists with, seem to be running Black Friday WEEK sales with a new offer every day this week – it’s ridiculous!

        2. Β‘Hola! Fellow Spaniard here πŸ™‚ , do you know whether there are others? I teach English for kids and we had some Thanksgiving-themed lessons (by imperative, not my choice). It makes no sense to me, but I also think we’ll end up importing the holiday… smh.

      2. They do it because we’re ordering from the US sales anyway, and they’re rather run a sale than lose customer dollars to an international company. Since online shopping is becoming increasingly convenient and affordable (even with shipping to Australia), “we actually exist in your country” is no longer much of an advantage over US companies.

  20. Not particularly anxious as I was (thanks for reassurance regarding changing the subject earlier). Mainly, I just found out that my brother, who lives a ways away, isn’t actually going to make it to the holiday because of work. Since my transportation is limited for financial reasons, I can’t go up and see him either, which means by the time Christmas rolls around I won’t have seen him for ~5 months now.

    I didn’t consciously realize how much I’ve missed him until, upon hearing that I couldn’t make it, I started crying. I feel kinda childish, honestly. We’re very close, since childhood, and this is the first time we haven’t at least lived in the same town. I’m proud of him for going to New York and going after his dream job, but I didn’t expect to take it this hard; nor did I realize that I was counting down to Thanksgiving so I could see him.

    I’m almost thinking of sitting the holiday out, now, but that just means I’d be alone and sitting in my own misery. And there are definitely other people there I’d like to see. I just, I dunno. I have the sads now, and I’m not sure how to snap out of it by 5:00.

    1. That’s really hard. My close friend moved across the country two years ago but has always come back to my city for Christmas. But since her boyfriend moved up there now, she likely won’t be visiting. I’m so happy for her, but also really sad.

    2. As a brother who’s missing his sibling this year (although they will be around tomorrow), may I offer you some brotherly Jedi hugs?

      1. Thank you πŸ™‚ I did end up going anyway, and caught up with one of my cousins (who’s graduating from art school this year!) so that was good. I hope you and your sibling end up having a good time catching up.

        1. Oh, also! I feel like I should mention, the Thanksgiving party actually went pretty well because the stars of the evening were TWO PUPPIES AND A BABY. The baby is actually technically a toddler now and he can walk the snowball-fluff puppy on a leash and he was so HAPPY and the larger puppy (a golden poodle?) found Baby-and-Snowball to be just absolutely Perplexing.

          I do not have baby fever at all, but I am a huge fan of other people having babies and then subsequently teaching their baby to walk a puppy. And every time the puppy got turned around and blonked into him, the baby fell down and laughed hysterically. A+ phenomenal entertainment.

      1. Thank you; it was, but I feel better now at least. Thanksgiving went alright. I Caught up with people I both love and like, and I plan on calling my brother on Saturday, so that should be good.

  21. Quiet just-us Thanksgiving today, Friendsgiving with a few people tomorrow, and Saturday will be the Australian Friends’ take on Thanksgiving which it seems will involve pizzas. I plan to alternate between mellow drunkenness and food-coma all weekend.

  22. Today is the day of no turkey, as my family celebrates on Friday in a 40-year-old tradition. This year it is the day of lumpia, salmon, and replacement sister. (My sister has other obligations, and my sister-in-law will be joining us for the first time.) Time to finally get out of bed, get packed, go pick her up, and spend the weekend at my folks’.

    1. I am full of salmon and veggies and new potatoes and a really good salad and chocolate ice cream. And I convinced my dad (who is a nice guy and also voted for Hillary but is not, shall we say, woke) not to refer to his Rottweiler’s acting like a bully or a jerk as “thug behavior”.

  23. We’re down to one paid caregiver for my mostly bedbound boyfriend, so I can’t leave the state to join my family’s Thanksgiving festivities because there’s no backup if she can’t make it. Kind of a bummer, as there are zero Trump supporters in the crowd and I quite enjoy spending time with them.

    Ideally my boyfriend would be healthy, and we could both go. Oh well.

    On the plus side, I won’t be arguing politics with my boyfriend either. If he’s feeling up to it, maybe we’ll even be able to have a brief conversation over non-Thanksgiving dinner.

    1. It’s nice to hear from you, Bad Caregiver. I hope things have got a bit easier in your life, and that you have a cosy Thanksgiving.

      1. Thanks! I feel a little guilty that I’m not cooking anything special for the boyfriend—I know he’d like that—but I’m a terrible cook and I don’t even like turkey.

        Things have gotten easier than they were since we hired the person who’s working for Boyfriend now. Even if life is still frustrating in certain ways, it could be so, so much worse. Hope things are going well for you too.

  24. Spoiler for this comment: the baby is 100% A-OK.

    We had to take the baby to the hospital because they’d fallen yesterday morning on their face, and then hours later were vomiting. The scans showed that they’re fine and should take it easy, but that sort of wrecked our T-giving plans, which were to spend time with family other-state. (They’re good family, so we’re sad to miss out on this.)

    1. Glad the baby is ok, and while it sucks that you missed catching up with family at least since you like them it’s easy to touch base with them at other times, right?

  25. I’m English and live in Scotland, I’m slightly obsessed with Thanksgiving and have be wondering how it will pan out this year for people given the normal Thanksgiving mix of emotions/prejudices/dysfunction/arseholery/love + Mr Trump. From this thread it seems most of you have a good bead on this.
    Love to all and Happy Thanksgiving x

    1. This American (and full-throated Scotland admirer) is humbly grateful that the Awkward Army is global. ❀

    2. I’m very liberal, and my family is very redneck-y and they LOVE Trump. Most of them are too lazy to vote so they didn’t vote for him, but I wasn’t about to drive 5 hours round-trip to hear them rage on about Jesus and partial birth abortion and That Man. We opted out and got to have a meal and drink alcohol without comment. As a bonus, both of our families are super awful cooks, so having a turkey that didn’t taste shitty and boiled was A++

  26. My family is mercifully all in agreement regarding politics, but since shouting at Thanksgiving is inevitable, my father decided to go to town on my request that we get a pasture-raised turkey. I’m vegetarian but flexible, and was willing to eat turkey if ethically raised, but my father got apparently triggered by the insinuation that other turkeys are not ethical (and like, yep, that is so) and threw a fit. Sigh. I’m as flexible as they come regarding my vegetarianism, and my parents aren’t foodies or from a seriously meat-oriented culture, yet any changes to my diet from childhood are seen as me judging them.

    ….which iw not incorrect, I do judge them for eating frozen spinach when it’s not like it is hard to make fresh spinach and they can definitely afford it, so yep, what to do about someone being mad about your judging them for something that you are in fact judging them for?

    1. Maybe change the subject to anything neutral, or at least non-judged, so no one feels defensive and there are increased chances of having a decent time? For example: they don’t bring up turkey, you don’t bring up spinach, pass the potatoes, how’s that new hobby working for you? (Works in my family)

    2. Maybe think of it this way: at least they will eat spinach. And being judgemental is unfortunate.

      1. If somebody was judging me for eating the wrong kind of spinach, I’d be pretty fed up about it too. It’s an annoying thing to do. Prefer it fresh? Fine. Judge someone for buying frozen? That adds a completely unnecessary conflict to things, and makes reasonable disagreements like ethical turkey look unreasonable by association. Your best tactic is probably to pick your battles and judge as little as you can. After all, if you were cooking the meal, you probably wouldn’t like your guests judging you for morally neutral cooking choices either.

  27. I’ve just finished my share of the cooking and am sitting at my in-laws’ kitchen table feeling infinitely grateful that my in-laws, like my own family, are dyed-in-the-wool liberals who would never have dreamed of voting for Trump. I’m all for talking to people with different views from me, but (1) I don’t know if I can handle dialogue with Trump supporters just yet, and (2) I’ve already sat through my share of massive family arguments on Thanksgiving, thanks. This Thanksgiving gets to be a peaceful one. Sending Jedi hugs to all of you who are having a less-than-peaceful Thanksgiving this year.

  28. I am pleased to report that my minimal family Thanksgiving (where we ate out, thank you very much) was completely landmine-free; politics was not even hinted at and a pleasant time was had by all.

    Tomorrow, Favorite Sibling is coming by with Shiny New S.O. and we will have more funtivities with them. Tonight, I plan to demolish some leftover pizza, read a book I’ve been putting off, and generally chill.

    Jedi hugs and wishes for full-but-not-overly-so bellies to all. The commentariat here is very high indeed on the list of things I’m thankful for this year.

  29. I live with my husband and two dudes. The two dudes are both with family, but their couch surfer is still here, watching Burn Notice. (I wanted to marathon the Thanksgiving episodes of Bob’s Burgers. And seriously, why Burn Notice?) And Dude A’s girlfriend who stays over literally every night ruined one of the attachments to my very expensive mixer I got as a wedding present and would never be able to afford on my own.

    Not the typical Thanksgiving problems, but they do have me sulking alone in my bedroom, unable to use my mixer.

    Really sick of six people in a two bedroom apartment, even sicker of only four of them paying, and really sick of like the three nice things I own getting broken.

    1. Posting here made me feel way more capable of fixing it.

      This just happened:
      Me: Hey, can we watch Bob’s Burgers or Alton Brown after this episode?
      Couchsurfer: Sure, no problem.

      And this: I price checked the part that got ruined, and it can be replaced for $12.

      Also, I’m not being fair to couch surfer. He may not pay rent, but he buys a large amount of groceries when he’s here.

      And this will be the hard part, but me, husband and Dude B just need to get together and tell Dude A a maximum number of nights that A-GF can be here.

      1. You are a Grade A Boss of a fantastic human being, you know that, right? You’ve tackled a bunch of annoying problems and won so hard.

        Pretty sure you can do anything. You could even get us to Mars with that attitude.

      2. Hah, that’s the way it often works for me too – a good, grumpy rant to really feel my annoyance and vent it, then I’m more ready to actually deal with the situation. A+ strategy, glad it seems like they’re all solvable issues πŸ™‚

  30. About to cry because I spent so much work on this food that isn’t even going to taste that good and that nobody is going to eat 😦

    I just want to lay back down and go to sleep.

    1. I hope it all went better than you thought it would. And if not, I hope you ditch the cooking duties and have some fun for yourself as soon as possible!

  31. At my brother-in-laws via my sister. They are alright people but no one is trying to make conversation with me and I’m tired of and there’s no where to nap. Sis and I take turns picking where we’ll go and this was her year so c’est la vie. But – I work a super exhausting job and am low key regretting the travel because I have off until Monday and if I stayed home I might have gotten really good rest…

  32. My mother is considering splitting up with her fiance (again), so he and his younger daughter are having Thanksgiving with his older daughter and her family while my mother and I eat here by ourselves. I’m trying to cut her some slack because she’s been in therapy and she really is trying, but she will. not. stop. talking. and virtually everything out of her mouth is a judgmental remark. It’s like a running monologue of negativity and it just gets exhausting to listen to after a while.

    On the bright side, she’s a superb cook, and I have plenty of mimosa and boozy hot chocolate to get me through.

    1. I have several friends who are really, really chatty (even when there’s no one there to talk to, they talk to themselves) and they are also all excellent cooks. (For the record, when I live alone and work online, I can go–and have gone–for 2-3 months without talking to another human being. I’ll still speak to my pets, but they are poor conversationalists.) I’m wondering if there is a connection between extreme chattiness and excellent kitchen skills, but am also satisfied that it is probably just a coincidence.

  33. I decided to have a solo Turkey day. Right now, I need to get up and take the foil off my bird, which treat I got for cheap after spending x at the grocery. The only flaw in my plan so far has been that the pre-holiday sampling of the pumpkin pie led to it already having been eaten by mid-afternoon yesterday. Quality Control is merciless!
    There remain yams, cranberry to leave can-shaped or no, pecan dressing and egg nog for freshly ground coffee.
    This year’s been a wild ride as I seek a therapist and it ain’t done yet. A time-out with Netflix and no TV feels very nice.

    1. Shoutout from another solo-Tdayer!
      This year I took great pleasure in my colorful side dishes: multicolored baby carrots, purple barley, butternut squash&sweet potato casserole, cranberry relish to accompany the turkey & stuffing.

      My mother’s cooking wasn’t great, plus holidays were generally awful. I take tremendous satisfaction every year in having developed my own Thanksgiving traditional menu, and in varying it when I want to.

    2. Re: the pre-holiday sampling of the pie: I’ve been starting some pre-Christmas baking of freezable cupcakes, and the recipes I use seem to consistently turn out a couple of extra cupcakes – which means I can quality-check, give my Mum an early sample, and still have a full dozen to pack in a box and freeze. So grateful for that! πŸ˜‰

  34. I am in a hotel with my husband visiting my son at his college. We decided to come to him for Thanksgiving and at the same time avoid gathering with my IL’s which would have been pure misery. We are going out to dinner for Thanksgiving. It is a lovely day.

  35. Smoked turkey breast, roasted brussels sprouts, wee baked potatoes, crescent rolls, cranberry sauce, green bean casserole, pumpkin pie.

    Also no heavy conversation. Too much eating to be done to have heavy conversation.

    A happy food day to the Captain and hers, and to all commenters!

  36. American studying in England currently. I was really psyched to have my first friends-giving and start my own traditions with my British and American friends, but I actually ended up in tears about halfway through dinner because I miss my family so much. Skyping with the boyfriend made me even more homesick and pretty soon I was sobbing over the phone with all my extended family gathered round. So…that’s how my first adult thanksgiving went! I know I’m incredibly lucky to have a family & partner that I miss, but man, I really struggled today.

    1. I feel ya. Living away from friends and family is *hard* and spending holidays away from them can catch you by surprise. After going home like clockwork for the first couple years, I spent a second Xmas away from home in US with the inlaws in Japan, thought it would be no big deal, not the first time, new holidays to celebrate. Still got weepy on Skype to mom.
      Good on you for living abroad! Stay strong, and take it easy. ❀

  37. Heh. My brother called to wish me a Happy Thanksgiving. I’m touched, really, because he never calls and doesn’t really return calls either. So It’s really sweet and touching.

    But I made sure to bring up Standing Rock to both him and my dad while chatting with them. My dad is one of the 23%(??) of Latino voters for Trump (le sigh). And my brother is Army Reserves who hoped for a career in law enforcement, so neither of them appreciated me bringing up police brutality against the water protectors or my hopeful plans to go out there in support at the end of the year. So I am the bad relative bringing up touchy politics!

    My work productivity isn’t so high today because I am immersing myself in Standing Rock social media and news coverage as an anti-Thanksgiving personal “celebration.”

  38. After a thoroughly uncomfortable couple of weeks since the election, we had a remarkably civil dinner convo, with the topics sort of straying into the political territory but luckily I had no need to fight with people over a bigoted comment. So… (Just a bit of shitty badmouthing on the part of my little brother when he thought I couldn’t hear him.) We had sweet potato pie and turkey and then I donated to Standing Rock because I’ve felt horrible about it and wanted to help since the news about it finally hit my radar a few months ago.

    Also, earlier this morning (after reading the Captain’s advice) I educated a couple members of my family on the fact that a significant proportion of Jewish families are poor or near-poor, based on the federal poverty level. They honestly had no idea. “But they’re so hard working,” one of them said. Look, I don’t like that they’re implying that poor people just don’t work hard enough because that’s a terrible stereotype, but at least it appears a light bulb went on for them. Poor or near-poor families, (regardless of religion, race, or ethnicity), may work very hard and still be poor. I gave an example of a banking scenario for how poor families basically pay a “poor tax” to try to help them understand. (Disclaimer: I am not Jewish, but I try to be aware of the issues minority groups face and dispel ignorance when I hear it.)

  39. Weird day for me. I’m living abroad in a country that doesn’t celebrate Thanksgiving, and in fact has no idea what I’m talking about (Thailand). It’s also Friday already. I miss everyone. Not sure how to fix any of these things, as there’s no way to find stuffing/cornbread here (I could have plenty of rice though) and my go-to self-care is usually carbs and a book.

    1. Rice stuffing can be pretty good, assuming you have stuffing-y spices available. I don’t know what recipe my mom uses, but based on a quick google, I think it’s something a bit like this but with mushrooms and no raisins. If I were making stuffing on its own, I’d maybe swap the sherry for chicken broth and/or bake it for a while in a casserole dish.

      I think bread stuffing made with regular wheat bread is also pretty good, but perhaps that’s only because I’m not from a cornbread stuffing region.

  40. My teenage daughter and I stayed home, ate all our favorite foods, and are now marathoning TV shows. We do this almost every year and it’s the best.

  41. Dinner with my family would have been lovely and relaxing if my anxiety hadn’t made me contemplate unrelated, unrealistic things to the point of nausea. 😦 Anyone with anxiety have tips on how to relax? I’m in therapy, but have only had two sessions so far and can’t expect miracles. I have a near-constant internal monologue about how everything is going to be fine and my worries are unfounded, but my brain never believes me.

    1. If something in your environment is setting off the anxiety, try: breathe in thru your nose for a count of 3; hold for a count of 3; breathe out thru your mouth for a count of 6. Do it 3 times. Visualize all your anxiety and tension blowing out with your exhale.

      If something going on presently is reminding you (sensibly or not) of previous bad situations, try making a same-different list: make 2 columns on a piece of paper, and put the similarities in one column, differences in the other. In this case, the anxiety can be your brain anxiously warning you that it recognizes danger signals from a previous bad experience. Writing down the similarities lets your brain know the message was received, and it can stop banging on your door trying to get you to listen. Writing down the differences helps you (and your brain) see that there actually are differences too, and often there are more differences than similarities, which helps provide evidence that your fears are unfounded, etc.

      If all else fails. I like to visualize putting my anxiety on a model train and sending it on a ride around the outside of the house. Model trains always go in loops, so of course the anxiety will be back, but then I can send it off again; and meanwhile I get a break. With practice I can make the trips longer: around the block, around the neighborhood. I think the fact that the train will come back actually makes it easier for me to let go while the train is off making its rounds: again, it signals my brain that it doesn’t have to keep yelling, I am aware of the anxiety, and it is due to check in again at the end of the trip.

      Oh, and one more: it helps me, when I notice that I’m getting anxious for no good reason, to just say to myself “There goes that thing again. Man, anxiety sucks, but there it is.” Sort of like in some forms of contemplative meditation, not trying to control the feelings but just noticing them and letting them go. Also, “Just because it feels real, doesn’t mean it is real.”

      Good luck! Anxiety sucks.

      1. Thank you very much! I will be using those techniques, I really like the train analogy because it does come back but I can track it instead of it running me down. Thank you.

    2. I very nearly got a tattoo that says “I am here, this is now.”

      Think only about what you are doing right now. Not what you need to do, or what you have recently done. I am sitting on the couch looking at my phone. My dog is next to me. I like this website. I like my dog.

      I started doing this after a really bad breakup. My friend took me out for ice cream, but I was still a wreck. They just looked me in the eyes and said, “Hey. You’re just getting ice cream. All you are doing is getting ice cream. You can’t cry about ice cream.” “But John broke up with me and…” “Nope, can’t cry about ice cream.”

      I’m sure it doesn’t work for everyone, and it doesn’t always work for me, but sometimes it does, and that’s enough. Then when the anxiety passes I cam go back to planning and doing.

      1. It does help to focus on “Be Here Now” when almost everything feels like it sucks. Suddenly, not everything is sucking all at once, as there’s always at least one thing to be happy about.

      2. I got a tattoo of lyrics from RENT “I trust my soul, my only goal is just to be” to always have a reminder that existing, in this moment, is enough.

    3. Okay, number one thing I’ve found works for me when it comes to dealing with the anxiety tapes in my brain: ask the voice of my anxiety “is there anything practical we can do about this Right Now?”. (Big hint: usually the answer is “no”). If you can’t do anything practical (“worrying” does not count as practical) about it Right This Second, then you’re allowed to put the problem on the back burner.

      Other things to put in practice: our minds are linked to our bodies, so if you’re comfortable physically, you’re more likely to be comfortable mentally (contrariwise, if you’re uncomfortable mentally, start by doing a run down of your physical situation to ensure all the immediate needs – hunger, thirst, excretion, correct temperature, adequate movement, enough sleep, etc – are met, then move on to unpicking the mental knots). So, wear comfortable clothing, have something (or someone) to hug within range, and maybe stick with comfort food for a bit (the best comfort foods are warm, milky, and sweet, because they tap into our earliest memories of being comforted and having our needs met as infants).

      If you’re really twitchy and have a lot of nervous energy, something like knitting, embroidery, whittling, scrimshaw or crochet can be a good way of diverting that energy to good purpose. If you’re the kind of person who finds they can’t meditate because the minute you try to stop thinking, your brain goes into overdrive, I’ve found “match three” games work quite well for inducing the same sort of mindset on days where I’m not likely to wind up ruminating on things which aren’t good for me to think about. On days where I am, well, crosswords work quite well in getting my brain focussed on something else (particularly cryptic crosswords, because they require even more attention diverted into puzzling out the clues).

  42. Stayed at home due to a head cold + allergies + congestion. Traded tears for nonproductive coughing.

    My sister did text me an invite but since I have figured out it’s my BIL that hates me I won’t complicate things for her by showing up.

    Since I feel bad most of my food this year was premade or out of a package (not my usual MO). Did everything except the green bean casserole – ran out of both figurative and literal spoons.

    Shared my poultry with my cats, they ran wild, now we’re all settling in for naps.

  43. Went surprisingly well until MIL randomly launched into defending the Bundys, and when I was like, oh sorry but hell no, she informed me that I don’t understand the Western mindset because I am an “East Coast liberal” and that understanding gap is why Trump was elected. Some salient facts:

    1. Though I live on the East Coast now, I was born and raised in Arizona and NM by environmental activists. The BLM and I go WAY back.
    2. MIL didn’t know what the BLM is until I explained.
    3. She has never lived anywhere in the US but New England. She did, however, own a horse once.

    I shouldn’t have engaged at all. But really? You’re going to defend those guys? Jeezum.

  44. I got invited to a friend’s thanksgiving with his lovely wife and her extended family. Meet the matriarch of the family, cool. Meet the patriarch of the family, cool. Meet the creepy uncle of the family, who immediately hugs too long, asks if I’m married, and tries to kiss me on the cheek.


    I nope’d out of that hug, backed away, put my hands up, and said in a clear loud voice “WOW UNCOMFORTABLE.” Everything in the house stopped. Even the kids stopped. I looked at my friend, who gave me that look of absolute conviction that said “If you tell me we’re leaving, we’re leaving.”

    Creepy uncle apologized. Other family members (all women I noticed) stepped in and around to bustle me away from him. And the evening improved from there.

    I feel like I leveled up today.

  45. I am happy to say that I had one in a long string of normal, friendly, delicious Thanksgivings with the side of my family that is not compelled to treat me like their pet dimwit. I beat everybody at my favorite tabletop game, got praise for my contribution to the table (it was pot luck), and took home lots of tasty leftovers for the next few days. The relatives I don’t want to deal with have not contacted me at all. πŸ™‚ I hope I never take this for granted!

  46. Today was my grandfathers last Thanksgiving, and maybe the last time I get to see him. It was really emotional, but I got to say goodbye.

    As for politics, everyone in my family is either very anti Trump or keeps their mouth shut about politics, so we were in agreement there. However their opinions towards race and BLM really suck. My mom also used a slur at dinner, which was really shocking because I thought she was cool. I wish I could call people out and get them to unpack the fuck out of their privilege but I have really bad anxiety around confrontations and I suck at arguing. So I just sit there stewing in betrayal and anger, feeling like I am complicit in their bigotry and I am failing at my duties as an ally and friend because I can’t speak up. There’s so much pressure to have these discussions this year too so that just adds to my anger. I don’t really have anyone I can talk to right now who gets any of this so I’m feeling really hurt and isolated. Holidays really bring the family together!

    1. *hugs* I have massive anxiety about confronting people too. My mum has chronic depression, and for a lot of my childhood, weighty confrontations had an unfortunate tendency to kick her brain into a major depressive swing (thankfully she has since found a med regime that 99.9% works for her) – so even now as an adult, I just end up freezing, rolling over and playing dead the moment discussions look like turning into arguments.

      Which is a long way of saying: you are not failing and you are not complicit. Anxiety is not a small thing; you aren’t being silent through laziness or complacency, you’re being silent because your brain is fighting you. I know people have been doing a lot of talking this year about speaking up and no excuses for being silent, but there’s an ableist edge to that pressure that I don’t particularly care for. Some people can’t speak up. Not don’t want to, not don’t care enough to, CAN’T. And that’s OK. It is not all on you to evangelise and convert your family.

      Why not ditch your heavy self-expectations, give yourself a bit of grace, and try to figure out a workaround that will be constructive but will avoid triggering the anxiety? Maybe leave your family out of the equation entirely and find another way (no matter how small) to contribute to anti-racism initiatives (or similar) in your local area?

    2. I’m so sorry about your grandfather. I miss my grandparents terribly at this time of year. I dream of them often. They represent a part of my life that was happy and that part is gone forever. Jedi hugs if you want them.

    3. I’m sorry about your grandfather. Same situation in our family this year ❀

      and +10000000 to what helva2260 said. Internalized ableism is a bitch!! you are enough just the way you are.

  47. I was actually shocked at the fact that neither of the meals with my family (one with mom’s folks, one with dad’s) necessitated Kazoos of Civility. I was betting on at least one uncle on each side bringing up Trump. Since I am the only liberal in my family, I was gearing up for a difficult discussion (at best) or an out-and-out argument (at worst, if the word “Libtard” was thrown out at any point.) However, one side of my family doesn’t see each other enough to waste time talking about politics when we are together. The other side, I speculate, has cooled of now that they think they’ve won. So…progress, I guess?

    However, it’s been a rocky year for boyfriend, as he has finally reached a level of financial independence that allows him to push back at his emotionally abusive mother, which is going about as well as it ever does based on everything I’ve read on this site. He’s the first person to push back at her and tell her she’s in the wrong when she loses her shit any time things don’t go her way (including his dad, who is mostly a great guy but also a HUGE enabler). Boyfriend has been taking it better than I have, since, in his words, he’s “been dealing with this shit his whole life.” I, however, come from a family with a fairly healthy dynamic outside of a strong distaste for conflict, so I have to work really hard not to push him to talk through it with me when he doesn’t feel like it.

    He blocked his mother’s number (but not his dad’s) after a particularly toxic text message chain following a car wreck that we were involved in over Labor Day weekend. (Long story.) Today she called and left a pleasant-sounding message (since whatever blocking mechanism he uses blocks calls and texts but not voicemails for whatever reason) and after some thought he decided to call her back. He reasoned that if she was willing to drop it and move forward, even if she never mentioned the situation again, that was enough for now. He’d hang up and resume radio silence at the first indication that she was using a pleasant holiday phone call as an excuse to trap him in another argument. She didn’t answer, so now I’m a little bit worried that she’s going to somehow twist it into him not wanting to talk to her on Thanksgiving because he’s ungrateful and mean (descriptors she has used in the past) despite the fact that he did try to return her call.

    In my opinion, he’s handling it like a champ. He doesn’t read the site, but I pass on bits of information that I’ve gleaned about situations close to his when they’re relevant. I’d appreciate any advice people might have about supporting a significant other in the early stages of pushing back against unhealthy family dynamics, especially around the holidays.

    1. I have my own abusive parent issues but my partner is dealing with a mother who is a total nightmare. I do my best to look after my own feelings about it vs feelings bomb him. My mantra is that he is doing his best with his family and my job is to love him and encourage him in what he thinks is right. So I take the focus off ‘WTF is your mother thinking?’ And instead focus on ‘I am proud that you set that boundary, I love you. I know you will make a good decision about it.’

      There is no way to win with his mother and everything is a game where the odds are stacked in favour of her ego being catered to. Affirming that my partner makes good choices and sets boundaries is all he needs. He has lived eith her long enough not to need to vent about it or puzzle over why.

      There is no why. There is no way to win. Our role is to live our lives according to our values and support each other.

      (When we need a laugh, I play the ‘Everything is awesome’ song from the Lego movie, which is our personal in joke about how we grit our teeth. The Fuck That meditation on YouTube is another favourite to break the tension.)

  48. I am thankful for friends who take a “more the merrier” approach to the holidays and invited me to their Thanksgiving dinner with visiting family and other friends of theirs. No Trump supporters present, lots of good food and drink and talk. We took a long walk on a beautiful trail by my friends’ house. I had sort of put into the universe that I need to do a difficult confrontation sooner rather than later because the not-confronting is eating me alive (both the non-confronting itself, and the shame I’ve been feeling over failing to confront), and to my delight, the universe responded through my friend’s mother, who offered me an absolutely terrific script. I have leftovers. And because of the walk, I even managed to keep my prediabetic blood-sugar in check (first Thanksgiving since diagnosis). Which allows me to feel better about the pumpkin pie I will be making tomorrow.

    It’s been such a lovely day that I hate to go to bed. I really needed a big chunk of time with good people.

  49. I live 2000 miles away from all my relatives and haven’t been here long enough to have a local social circle, so no Thanksgiving for me today, but also no great loss since I don’t relish loud crowded dinners full of people I don’t know very well where there’s not quite enough food and everyone will sulk at me if I try to step out early.

    Do kind of miss the food, though. And the handful of family members who I actually like. Oh well.

  50. I just got back from Australia so I slept the entire day (major night sweats and bad dreams though). My boyfriend brought me food back from his friends’ house and then we watched Adventure Time and went back to bed.

  51. I am so glad that I have the long-established tradition of Thanksgiving with just my partners, and this year we finally we got to spend the day together without anyone having to travel for hours to get there (we could do long-distance, but living in the same town is much nicer). Today we’re meeting some of my in-laws for lunch; spouse said that he thinks his family are all sane, and if not, I can and will get up and leave, and go get ice cream instead.

    1. That went well, and I am now dealing with non-holiday-related tsuris about health insurance and prescriptions again.

  52. My mother and her husband arrived, bickering, and yesterday while I was prepping TG dinner, they had two arguments that I left the kitchen to get away from. Apparently, during the second, my mother said she wanted to divorce; I know because she told me after. I don’t believe she told him she told me, so I had to pretend nothing had happened. They spent the next couple hours ignoring each other. They don’t leave until Sunday.

  53. Thanksgiving has always been a very flexible holiday for us. One year we hosted a group of my daughter’s college friends, one year we were at her boyfriend’s with his parents, when my mother was alive we were at her house. Without the toxic ex, it’s really pretty easy. This year we were with my sister’s in-laws; the chain extended to my sister’s husband’s brother’s wife’s grandmother, who is 99, sharp, and delightful, and my daughter loved her stories.

    The only political conversation was one of generalised uncertainty and concern about the future, which is not a partisan issue.

  54. It was a weird, sweet, gentle Thanksgiving here. My 95 year old grandfather is at the end of his life– we’ve spent the fall adjusting to this, and setting up some hospice & home care, and my mom and her brother have been taking turns staying at his apartment with him.

    We had dinner at my grandfather’s apartment so he wouldn’t have to go anywhere. And BOTH of Mom’s brothers made it, for the first time in ages πŸ™‚ With 2 extra cooks, it was possibly the easiest thanksgiving we’ve ever done! I made the pies and the cranberry sauce; Mom made the yams and the stuffing; the “boys” roasted the turkey and made rolls and brussels sprouts.

    MEANWHILE… I’m adjusting to being autistic. I’m 33 and I only figured it out last year, due to burnout. Basically, a lifetime of trying to do things on neurotypical terms, with great difficulty– and being gaslit into thinking that my difficulty was my own fault for not trying hard enough– equals one crrrrrrriiiispy-fried critter.

    So family gatherings are a WHOLE other ballgame for me now, since I go into sensory overload and social overload so much easier these days. I brought my headphones and they tidied up the guest room so I could have a quiet spot. And they are really trying to adjust to my “new” situation, but there is still So Much Awkward in trying to get myself situated at family gatherings.

    So I had a ton of difficulty last night and it was very awkward and I was jittery and scattered and not as present as I wanted to be… but it was still sweet. And dinner was good. And we even watched an actual old-school slideshow of old family pictures after dinner, which I WAS able to sit all the way through! My uncles are such dorks, I love it ❀

    OH…. oh oh oh…. AND, on Wednesday, I did a Really Big Thing in family therapy. I named the elephant in the room and (gently!) introduced my parents to the idea that Mom is codependent, framing it as an opportunity to help them as much as to help me……. it went really well…….!!! So I just started the process of bringing THAT out into the open to heal. And I just found another therapist who might be able to help with my PTSD from it all!! (Mom was VERY intrusive with her affections and constantly violated my physical boundaries. She would either refuse take no for an answer– "I don't care, I'm your mother, I will touch you any way I want to", yes really– or she would lay on the tears and manipulate me into letting her have her way. Very ouch, especially for someone with sensory issues.)

    So between that and watching things unfold at Standing Rock, yesterday was pretty much all the feels and all the weirdness but also very sweet. And I'm grateful for it all ❀ Love to all y'all!!!! ❀

  55. For the… third? year, we stayed home. I brined a pork tenderloin and made biscuits and roasted butternut squash and shredded brussels sprouts (thank, TJ’s). It was a low-key day. The only baggage we had in the house was the baggage we were already carrying, so yeah. Quiet is good. Christmas is going to be enough: Eve at his dad and MIL’s (twelve people, ngg), Day at my parents’ (six adults and one very energetic six-year-old. That pretty much fills up my Holiday Family Time reservoir for a year.

    Also, my husband did the dishes. ❀

  56. To my immense, overwhelming relief, apparently the entire family was on the same page re: Let’s Not Talk About Politics Today. (I don’t actually know that there would be much disagreement; most of them were in-laws who I don’t know well and politics has not yet come up.) So I managed to enjoy my father-in-law’s lovely spread without any desire to pour gravy on anyone’s head. WIN.

    And today there are Thanksgiving Leftovers, which I may very well enjoy more than Thanksgiving Round One. Hoorah.

  57. My dad hasn’t actually had any sort of real conversation with me since Wednesday. I’d think I was imagining it or that he was just being his usual quiet self except that he’s spent a fair amount of time chatting with my brother.

    On the one hand I get it, he’s talking to my brother about my brother’s job (in the same field as him) and the possibility of him going back to school to further study in that field. They’ve also talking about cooking, which they both enjoy, and they cooked the turkey so it’s not like they could’ve done that in silence. I barely scraped through university with my sanity intact and I hate cooking. Then I made breakfast for everyone this morning and had to make it in batches. No one except my partner stuck around while I ate and only my mum thanked me.

    I love my dad. He’s a great dad usually. But I just went to join my family because I heard them chatting and he literally left the room. I really don’t know how to take that and the fact that he almost certainly isn’t doing it on purpose doesn’t actually make me feel better.

      1. Thanks for the hugs. Whenever I found myself getting upset again I pulled out my phone to look at your reply and it really helped.

  58. Well, I ruined another holiday singlehandedly, according to my spouse. We’re involved in a lawsuit at the moment and under a lot of stress. It involves a neighbor who is up our ass (house is several feet away from ours). This guy has been a thorn in my side for 10 years. Now we have to go to court. Yet my spouse thinks we should keep on living here because he likes living in a single house where he can play movies at earthquake level and not have to listen to neighbors on either side of the wall. Oh, and I should pay for it all. I told him I’ve had it; I’m not living here anymore. He told me if I spoiled this holiday, he’d not spend another with me ever again. So now we’re not speaking.
    So much for avoiding family arguments and having to Put on a Happy Face and Pretend Everything is Fine in front of my family. We were going to have a nice, quiet, vegetarian T-giving at home.
    Fuck the holidays.

    1. Oh my god, I’m so sorry. Huge Jedi hugs if you want them. That does not sound like a healthy place to be, and I applaud your choice to advocate for yourself. I hope your husband figures his shit out, because that is just not okay.

    2. Sounds like it is time for you to arrange to move to a place you can afford, remove your name from the house stuff, and if husband wants to stay, it’s on him to work that out.

      Of course it isn’t that simple, but that is what I’d be super-tempted to do: Ditch two people being jerks to me in one fell swoop, pick house I can afford, disentangle self from house I can’t afford and don’t enjoy living in, tell them both to suck it.

  59. This is our first Thanksgiving on our own (we’ve moved cross-country in the past two months), so without any family- or friendsgivings to attend, we opted to go hiking. It rained the whole time, there were parts of the trail that were less a trail and more a streambed, and while it wasn’t stress-free, it was loads less stressful than trying to figure out how to navigate family politics could’ve been. πŸ™‚

  60. My MIL made a big fucking deal for months about how she wanted to make Thanksgiving dinner for us and my parents. On Tuesday she decided she’d rather spend Thanksgiving with some other relatives instead, leaving me to plan Thanksgiving dinner on less than two days notice. This is the last time I’m celebrating Thanksgiving.

    1. That would be a good excuse to institute the all appetizer thanksgiving.
      Or maybe the many-your-own-sundae thanksgiving.

  61. I still work in retail, so Thanksgiving weekend has become Extended Four-Day Black Friday. Customers complain about the lines and tell us we shouldn’t have to be working while telling corporate to the tune of several hundred dollars just how little they care that we opened at 3:00 yesterday.

  62. I made it. \o/
    The Obligatory Thanksgiving Screaming Match was, for a nice change, not about politics. That’s good; some of my family members have vile political views, and I went in with full willingness to turn around and walk back out the first time someone got in my grill with a pack of lies, or dropped an n-bomb.
    Fortunately, nobody did, and when the local Racist Uncle tried to start something, everyone ignored him until he gave up and changed the subject. Everyone but RU seemed to have gotten the memo that there would be no politics at dinner.

    There was still some weirdness – the Obligatory Thanksgiving Screaming Match was about someone’s small business, which is not being run to anyone’s satisfaction and everyone has Opinions about how to fix it.

    I’m also trying hard not to take offense at being specifically, firmly, and politely disinvited to bring any food. I’m a good cook, I swear. My box lunches are the envy of my coworkers, but my family has decided that I am the Weird One and thus I can only make Weird Food. Never mind that I specifically avoid bringing anything they’ve told me they dislike… nope, Shishi is Weird and thus can’t be trusted to make friggin’ whipped cream. I noticed that other people brought food, so it wasn’t just that MIL wanted to do all the cooking.

    Okay. I’m kind of hurt by that, but it’s an expected sort of hurt. *sigh*

    Christmas will be with my side rather than the in-laws’ side, but you know…I don’t actually expect it to be any different.

  63. I’m not sure what the worst moment was for me – listening to my BIL talk about how glad he was that he didn’t vote for president this year or watching him feed leftover turkey to his dog from his own fork. *shudder*

    But other than that, it’s been a pretty good holiday. The food was great – my SIL made killer sweet potatoes with candied pecans on top. I had leftover apple crisp for breakfast and I’m currently in my room “resting” while the rest of the fam watches football.

  64. Since we’re new in town and don’t have any family here, a friendly family invited my mother and I to their family Thanksgiving. It’s kind of funny, actually, because they’re a very wealthy family and I get the feeling they think we’re poor people who need to be taken in over the holidays :p

    Anyway, it was a pretty nice evening, although there were a couple of awkward moments and I found a hair in my soup (:C). Their daughters have a thing about reading long things out loud, and one of them tried to read the entirety of an article entitled “7 Things Not To Feed Your Pet This Thanksgiving,” despite the fact that neither of us own a pet. I tried to do the usual polite deferments but she didn’t pick up on it so I Used My Words and said I didn’t want to hear the whole thing. I hope I didn’t offend her; she asked why and then went quiet after that.

    And then there was a bit of an intra-family fight when the other daughter tried to read out loud the entire list of Christmas themes events to do in December. I would’ve been okay sitting through that but then the rest of her family tried to stop her and started talking over her and AUGHFOGLKDGJG I CAN’T HANDLE PEOPLE ALL TALKING AT ONCE IT SENDS ME INTO SENSORY OVERLOAD AND ONCE I AM IN SENSORY OVERLOAD I’M NOT COMING BACK. I thought *I* was gonna make a scene for a moment there. But luckily it was resolved quickly.

  65. Turned down the opportunity to reconnect with friends in favor of spending time with immediate family. Choosing on option over the other often ends up putting an extra pressure on the chosen option to be “worth it”…

  66. Thanksgiving was a roaring success, with the exception of a toasted step-aunt. But her antics didn’t interfere with the overindulgence of magnificent dishes and diverted attention from any possible catalyst for WWIII, so I’m putting it in the Win column!

    I was a bit concerned about tonight. My stepmom decided to throw what was essentially a second Thanksgiving so she could spend time with the kids of hers who were in town (they spent the day at their dad’s) with the secondary goal of letting my family meet my 6-week-old step nephew. As I analogized it for a friend by email in a manner that will instantly separate readers who have gotten this far in the comments into the 30+ and under-30 categories, arachnophobes : tarantulas :: NTNA : babies.

    As I am female-appearing and have reached the age where my biological clock is starting to tick like a bomb in a cheesy action movie, or so I’m told, I worried that I’d spend all night dodging requests for comment on the baby’s cuteness (dunno how long my deflection-to-date of, “Y’know, I’m reeeeeeally not a baby person, so I’m not qualified to say,” would hold up) or, worse still, offers to hold the kid.

    A similarly kid-averse friend I was texting with my concerns jokingly told me he would invoke the patron saint of the childfree on my behalf. It seems his invocations came through – I am currently sequestered in a bedroom upstairs from the party with what seems to be the early stages of some sort of virus. As unenthusiastic as I am about the prospect of being knocked flat on my ass for the next few days, I actually do think this is a blessing of sorts from the patron saint of introverts – I love my family, bio and step, but good gravy, have I already been drained by the past few days.

    It’d be nice if I could rally enough to come to the family Broncos-viewing party tomorrow night, but if I have to watch my home team most likely stuff themselves farther down the divisional rankings toilet by myself from under a blanket at Grandma’s, that’ll be okay, too.

  67. I had my Thanksgiving tonight, so we could have my brother and his girlfriend with us (and because they’re the only ones who really wanted to do it). I love everybody there, and we have good relationships, but MAN was it hard. My mother’s dying, probably very soon now, and can’t eat, and my dad and I are exhausted and pretty sick ourselves from trying to keep her comfortable and keep her spirits up these last years. My brother and his partner did almost all of the cooking, but it still felt so wrong to be sitting there eating while mom was in pain and off in a bedroom away from us. I feel like we shouldn’t have even tried this year, like it was just the wrong thing to do. I don’t even know why I’m sharing this but I think I just had to tell SOMEBODY, even if this thread’s mostly done. There were good moments, but…I don’t know. It just sucks. Fuck you, cancer.

    1. I wrote a reply to this but think I lost it in having to reset my password. My apologies if this is a duplicate.

      My father died of cancer shortly before Christmas almost 30 years ago. I still remember sitting around the dining room table in the room next to the bedroom. It felt wrong for all the reasons you say, but it also felt right for all the good things about family. We were together, and we did traditional things because it gave us something to DO other than sit around looking at each other and being miserable. We couldn’t do much of anything for my dad at that point, so we did our best to be good to each other. It’s not enough, but you do what you can.

      Hugs, if you want them.

  68. Coming out of the woodworks for this thread… The Thanksgiving dinner with close friends I thought would be wonderful was ruined by being groped by the husband of our friend couple. Twice. In front of his teenage daughter. Friday was spent crying with my husband and two close girlfriends. I’m feeling like I’ve taken some power back by composing my thoughts to both him and his wife (who didn’t see this happen), and I think I’ll send those emails tomorrow morning. It was both the shittiest holiday ever and the best holiday ever. I got to experience the joy of having a kickass Team Me, but I also feel triggered and scared.

      1. I’m so glad to have this website–I’ve gotten so much better at asserting my boundaries and not taking on blame for shitty things happening to me! Thank you to all the Awkwards out there for helping my recovery.

    1. *hugs of solidarity* if you’d like them. I’m so sorry you had such an awful experience and such a betrayal from someone you trusted. (And I’m so sorry for his daughter too, that this is the example she’s growing up with.)

  69. My family Thanksgiving was pretty much free of political discussion at all; local politics came up a little, and there was one mention of national politics in a discussion of how the presidential race eclipsed all other national politics and how weird that is. But most of the talk was of family stuff. Two of my cousins had baby girls last year within two months of each other, so cute toddler antics abounded on Thursday but were kept in reasonable check by parents and other responsible adults. We went to a high-school basketball game on Friday evening to watch one of my cousins play (their team won, 64-48! I like certain sports as a spectator, and I hadn’t been to an in-person basketball game since my own uni days) in a tournament, and the hosting school was actually my mom’s alma mater although they’ve gotten a new campus at a new location since she was a student.

    So it was all in all a good visit, although I was tired by the time I got home and I missed my kitty and she missed me by her Velcro-Kitty behavior when I got home last night.

  70. My husband works Thanksgiving. My kids don’t particularly like the turkey and fixings. We go to a restaurant that is open on Thanksgiving morning/afternoon and have brunch. BUT…my mom and sister live in the same town I live in. They never invite us over. They invite another sister and four of my cousins, all of my aunts and uncles, but never us. They know that my husband works and that it’s just me and the kids. It hurts. If I’m honest, I probably wouldn’t go, but it hurts more than I want to admit that we’re never invited.

    What makes it worse is this year my daughter asked why we don’t do at least one holiday with extended family. I realized that we none of our holidays involve extended family and some of my best memories are of hanging out with the “good cousins” and I started beating myself up over how I was depriving my kids of those same moments.

    I HATE the Holidays!

  71. I survived drawing some hard lines with family about how much of my time they can have vs. my husbands family vs. my friends – and no one threw a fit. I got love, we found good compromises, and it ended up being the most relaxed Turkey Day I have had in years. Sending everyone who needs one a jedi hug and hoping others found good ways to make it work

  72. My narcissist mother sought to punish me by avoiding a Thanksgiving celebration, but that backfired on her as I had a lovely Friendsgiving without her. Her birthday is Tuesday, and she wants to punish me more by refusing to allow me to take her out to dinner until we have a “discussion about our relationship” which, to my mind, is going just great since she’s been giving me the silent treatment since March, and I’m all for continued sulking on her part if it means no emotional or verbal or financial abuse from her. My birthday was last month, and I was not bothered at all by not celebrating with someone who would be a pain in my ass and erode my therapeutic progress within a few hours.

    But I’m all BAH HUMBUG about the holidays anyway. The day after Hallowe’en starts The Shit Season for me. It is expen$$$ive, food is typically too rich/fatty/sugary to be the best or healthiest choice for me, traveling is hard and stressful, family stuff is difficult and stressful, and even though I prefer winter to summer and don’t suffer from Seasonal Affect Disorder, there comes a point when multiple dark days of below-40 Fahrenheit (my threshhold for “it’s now officially bloody cold” because I’m Southern) just grinds me down and all I want to do is live under fourteen pillows, two ferrets, and twenty-seven comforters while parked near a heat source, and then not move. Add depression to that (thanks to the financial and familial wangst), and the holidays can kiss my tooter.

    St. Patrick’s Day / Easter (whichever comes last) marks the official end of The Shit Season for me. I get a few months of peace after that.

  73. Not much of a thanksgiving person, so a couple of friends had me for friendsgiving on Wednesday, and we had cheese and wine. Then I stayed in my apartment until Friday afternoon. I watched ALL Gilmore Girl revival AND started re-watching Mad Men, it was magical.

  74. I think I’m on my family’s shit list because DH and I decided to have our own Thanksgiving. Which was a disaster anyway. Even though my mom said it was “fine” and “you need to celebrate as you think best,” I have not heard a single word from her, either by email or by phone, since then, which is highly unusual. But you know what? I”m in my 50s. When do I get to bow out of family gatherings that I don’t want to attend?

    My younger brother gets to stay out of them because he has a persnickety wife, an infirm mother in law and a son. So they get to stay home whenever they want to.

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