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View Poll Results: How do you feel about Thanksgiving?
Love it. 62 32.98%
I like it good enough. 44 23.40%
I have no strong feelings one way or the other. 30 15.96%
I don't like it. 22 11.70%
Hate it. 17 9.04%
Don't celebrate it. 13 6.91%
Voters: 188. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 11-17-2012, 09:18 PM
 
Location: Columbia MO
1,686 posts, read 1,854,480 times
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I don't care for turkey. I find white meat flavorless and dark meat funny-tasting.
I hate dressing, stuffing, that sort of thing.
But either could be my favorite food compared with cranberry sauce, which I despise.
My birth family is a thousand miles away, and we're not close.
I have no memories of the holiday from childhood, except that sometimes my mother would take pity on me and cook some sausage or something.
I spend the day with the in-laws. They start drinking and telling family stories I know I've heard dozens of times. I go find a tv and see if there's something, anything, besides football. My wife, who is usually attentive, loses herself in these reunions and stories.
One of the small joys of not working on a weekday, watching Jeopardy, is not there-there's something pre empting it.

But I do have one Thanksgiving ritual- Mexican food on the day after.
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Old 11-18-2012, 05:04 AM
 
Location: Greenville, NC
2,078 posts, read 5,022,877 times
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I wouldn't be without holiday meals. We've had our fair share of disasters too. When we first moved to NC we went back to Maryland, to our daughter's house for Christmas. She was about 7 months pregnant at the time with her second child. My daughter had invited a bunch of people for dinner. About 3/4 of the way into preparations my daughter had a breakdown. Something she had cooked didn't turn out right and she threw it into the sink and ran off to the bedroom crying. Everybody just sat there looking at one another. My wife and I looked at one another and we knew what we had to do. Go somewhere else. Just kidding. We moved into the kitchen, kept things cooking, got it done and the dinner turned out just fine for everybody. With the exception of my daughter. She stayed in the bedroom for the remainder of the day.

But these things happen. We used to have a certain relative that would have too much to drink at every holiday dinner. He'd eat, drink and then pass out on a bed. It happens.
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Old 11-18-2012, 07:04 AM
 
Location: Wonderland
44,303 posts, read 35,852,560 times
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I think the key is establishing your own personal parameters/boundaries to these gnarly family get togethers.

For instance - and I am serious - my mother is narcissistic and my father is an enabler. I could allow these dynamics to ruin my time with my family, or not. I choose not to let them ruin the holidays.

Sometimes this means spending the holidays elsewhere, but honestly, it's been a long time since I've had to get so severe with my parents (or the siblings that their crazy ways produced). I've had to practice tough love in the past, but it's rare now. Now that I'm older and wiser (and more patient and take their weirdness less personally), and I've finally "trained" them to some extent, things are a lot more relaxed.

What has helped is developing a sense of humor about the whole fiasco. Finding an ally (in this case, it's my husband and my oldest daughter) to be able to look over at, wink, and compare stories with afterwards, has been really helpful. Also, I've learned simply to not allow my mother to pull my strings - and if she gets too out of hand, I'm emotionally prepared to just get up, pack my stuff up, and leave. But she knows that - so she toes the line.

Now that I've successfully established parameters, and emotionally fortified myself, I can usually laugh off or just ignore the weirdness - or even be entertained by it. Of course, this takes a lot of the steam out of the folks perpetrating the weirdness - so it's doubly effective.

Honestly, it took about ten years of tough love to "train" my mother to SORT OF behave herself on such holidays, and to train myself to let some of her foolishness just roll off me for the sake of spending time with the rest of the people I love. But - mission accomplished.

This year - as usual - we divvied up the list of who brings what. We're having T Giving at my parents house as usual. It's a four hour drive for everyone to get there. As usual, I'm bringing a ham, a corn casserole, a dessert, and various breads. My daughter is bringing green bean casserole, a pie, and a salad. My mother is serving a smoked turkey (in other words, she doesn't have to cook it), and dressing. When I mentioned to her a week ago that she also usually cooks the sweet potatoes - and they're really great - she said this:

Mom: (huge sigh) "But - I'm hosting the event."
Me: "I know, Mom - as usual, everyone is driving four hours and coming to your house. And staying in a hotel. And bringing lots of stuff. And we'll help you set up and of course clean up."
Mom: "But I don't have any sweet potatoes."
Me: "Right - but Thanksgiving is over a week away, so I'm sure you'll be able to pick some up between now and then. Or, tell you what - we just won't have them. I don't care one way or another."
Mom: (huge dramatic sigh again) "If your dad will go pick up the sweet potatoes, I MIGHT make them."

Then yesterday:
Me: "Hey, looking forward to the big day! We went shopping and got the goods and I'm going to make my famous red velvet cake tomorrow!" (we are having T Giving on Monday)
Mom: (huge sigh) "Well, I have spent ALL MORNING struggling with these sweet potatoes."
Me: "STRUGGLING with them? What were they doing, putting up a fight?"
Mom: "They are just the biggest mess you ever can imagine. I spent hours cleaning them and cutting them up. Now I have to bake them. It's such a massive ordeal."
Me: "Natalie is making a homemade pecan pie."
Mom: (huge sigh) "I can't talk right now. I am too tired because I've been struggling with these potatoes all morning."

See? I can laugh this off now. A few years ago, I would have argued with her and then gotten mad.

Now I have to be sure that I'm ready when she asks me to stop at the store and get something at the very last minute. At least now we don't do TG on Thursday, so stopping at the store to pick something up the night before is not the hellish experience it used to be. In the past, I would be working till 6 pm on Wednesday, and then my retired parents, who have had nothing pressing on them for days, would always come up with some petty item that they had "forgotten" and that somehow became critical, and they would call and expect me to pick it up AFTER work, on the most hectic and crowded evening in grocery land, and BEFORE I drove several hours to their house. Eventually I caught on and learned to say no.

I can't wait to hear what they expect me to pick up this year! I am sure they will come up with something!
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Old 11-18-2012, 08:57 AM
 
Location: North Fulton
1,039 posts, read 2,033,738 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BrnTmr4Brkfst View Post
I can't be the only one who dreads this holiday. Since both sides of my family have significant numbers of people in AA, drunkenness isn't ever the issue. My mother hosts it in our house, and every year for the past few years she puts off preparations until 0-4 days ahead of time, often missing important things. She's also slept in on getting the turkey in the oven leading to turkeys which are hours late and dried out from a too hot oven. She has refused help with these preparations and refuses to give up hosting Thanksgiving.

Last year I asked her if she needed any help on the Monday before Thanksgiving, because I had Tuesday free and she said no. I had classes from 9am to 9pm on Wednesday, and that night she called me up asking if I could go out and get something she forgot when I was still in class. Even though she had gotten out of work. After I tried to tell her "no" without sounding too blunt about it, I got an annoyed and guilt-trippy response about how Thanksgiving would be ruined if it didn't have cranberry sauce, and eventually did get some on my way back from school.

So for the past two years I've gone to my father's house, because they've started to host their own Thanksgiving at his mother's house (my nana and him used to come to ours, but my nana stopped driving and they decided to have one at her house). While I still got a lot of the preparing drama that I hate, the food was noticeably better (my father fried a turkey), on time, and I didn't get yelled at the day of about how I was needed in the kitchen. Last year she wasn't even awake when I left at 1 pm despite my best efforts starting at 8 am. When I got back from my nana's at after 7 pm, they had just started eating a dinner that was scheduled for 4 pm.

Unfortunately this year, she's invited some family friends from Louisiana over, which makes me feel obligated to stay.
Yep, the family drama is draining and ruins holidays. I know and relate to some of what you mentioned about being yelled at. I hate that. I like seeing some other people in my family who aren't as dysfunctional, but it is stressful in dealing with difficult relatives.

If you feel obligated to your Mom, just go for a little while and then go over to your father's house to break it up and then you see everyone and your mom doesn't feel slighted.
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Old 11-18-2012, 09:19 AM
 
679 posts, read 1,047,717 times
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LOL at the image of sweet potatoes putting up a fight!

One of my relatives doesn't tolerate bad behavior at his home. You act like an a**, you don't get invited. I'm thankful to be going there this year! Of course my aunt Mary goes on about my mom's sister, we'll call her Rhoda, and their Cousin Mimi and how she wishes they could come too. Rhoda's golden child son is coming in from out of town, so I think she's busy preparing to slaughter fattened calves. Mimi is going out of town with a friend.

Both Rhoda and Mimi insist on dominating and monopolizing the conversations with their issues/problems. It's hard for anyone to get a word in edgewise. I don't get to see the out of town family very often, so I like getting a chance to hear what they've been up to. And quite frankly, they are more interesting and better conversationalists than Mimi & Rhoda, who have been yapping about the same crap for DECADES. I know I've mentioned a fair amount of stuff from my own past in threads, but I don't yammer on about it at Thanksgiving dinner. It's called time and place for a reason I keep the conversation light and tell a funny anecdote or so about things which have happened recently.
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Old 11-18-2012, 09:53 AM
 
5,703 posts, read 16,127,345 times
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I used to hate it. I mean really really hate it. My mother never liked to cook so we always ate out. When I was a kid only a select handful of restaurants were open and they made an awful turkey dinner. I'd hear people joke about having leftovers for a week. Had no idea what that was like. One year I begged to have a dinner at home and my mom was pissy about it all day. She slammed dishes and complained the whole time. Not exactly what I had hoped for, so I didnt push the issue after that.

When I met my husband I totally picked up his mother was a tyrant about Thanksgiving. She actually had a book where she wrote down who showed up so if someone tried to say they came the year before she would whip out the book to prove them wrong. I was actually excited about entering this large family that all got to dinner for Thanksgiving. Umm ya. The dinners were stressful, his mother has always been critical of me and used the dinner table as her platform for interrogation. I gave her many Thanksgivings and each year she became more impossible. My husband worked swingshift and she was never accommidating. She always catered to a rich uncle in the family (MIL is shallow and materialistic) and let him choose the time. So one year we were going to miss out on dinner. I decided to cook. This actually pissed off my MIL. I guess we werent suppose to eat. Well my husband and I enjoyed eating our dinner at home so much that it was our new tradition. Then over the years others stopped going to MIL's as well. My own mother now comes to our house for dinner and she admits that she cant imagine eating out anymore. Its a low stress, no pressure holiday for me now. I really enjoy Thanksgiving now.
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Old 11-18-2012, 10:48 AM
 
679 posts, read 1,047,717 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fallingwater View Post
I used to hate it. I mean really really hate it. My mother never liked to cook so we always ate out. When I was a kid only a select handful of restaurants were open and they made an awful turkey dinner. I'd hear people joke about having leftovers for a week. Had no idea what that was like. One year I begged to have a dinner at home and my mom was pissy about it all day. She slammed dishes and complained the whole time. Not exactly what I had hoped for, so I didnt push the issue after that.

When I met my husband I totally picked up his mother was a tyrant about Thanksgiving. She actually had a book where she wrote down who showed up so if someone tried to say they came the year before she would whip out the book to prove them wrong. I was actually excited about entering this large family that all got to dinner for Thanksgiving. Umm ya. The dinners were stressful, his mother has always been critical of me and used the dinner table as her platform for interrogation. I gave her many Thanksgivings and each year she became more impossible. My husband worked swingshift and she was never accommidating. She always catered to a rich uncle in the family (MIL is shallow and materialistic) and let him choose the time. So one year we were going to miss out on dinner. I decided to cook. This actually pissed off my MIL. I guess we werent suppose to eat. Well my husband and I enjoyed eating our dinner at home so much that it was our new tradition. Then over the years others stopped going to MIL's as well. My own mother now comes to our house for dinner and she admits that she cant imagine eating out anymore. Its a low stress, no pressure holiday for me now. I really enjoy Thanksgiving now.
I'm glad you were able to re-claim the holiday. I think it's important to do do. Whether it means setting boundaries or having it elsewhere or doing your own thing. I don't think people should feel compelled/roped into spending holidays with difficult people if it's going to prevent them from enjoying the holiday.
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Old 11-18-2012, 10:51 AM
 
679 posts, read 1,047,717 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard Martin View Post
I wouldn't be without holiday meals. We've had our fair share of disasters too. When we first moved to NC we went back to Maryland, to our daughter's house for Christmas. She was about 7 months pregnant at the time with her second child. My daughter had invited a bunch of people for dinner. About 3/4 of the way into preparations my daughter had a breakdown. Something she had cooked didn't turn out right and she threw it into the sink and ran off to the bedroom crying. Everybody just sat there looking at one another. My wife and I looked at one another and we knew what we had to do. Go somewhere else. Just kidding. We moved into the kitchen, kept things cooking, got it done and the dinner turned out just fine for everybody. With the exception of my daughter. She stayed in the bedroom for the remainder of the day.

But these things happen. We used to have a certain relative that would have too much to drink at every holiday dinner. He'd eat, drink and then pass out on a bed. It happens.
A one time outburst, I'd tend to overlook, everyone has their bad moments. When it's an ongoing year after year thing, then it gets annoying. That's when I tend to change from sympathy to "go get some freakin' help and stop ruining the holiday for everyone else"

As for the passing out, people doing it properly in a bed, while not ideal, is better than doing it on the floor on the way to the room with the coats. A relative did that one year and we had to step over him to get to the coats. Also, parents with minor children shouldn't pass out as it alarms the kids who don't understand. i was old enough to understand why my mother passed out when she did, but my brother wasn't and it upset him a lot. I tried to explain that my mom was ok and she'd be better in the morning (I was a pre-teen/early teens myself), but it was difficult for him to accept.
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Old 11-18-2012, 11:55 AM
 
5,703 posts, read 16,127,345 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by exscapegoat View Post
I'm glad you were able to re-claim the holiday. I think it's important to do do. Whether it means setting boundaries or having it elsewhere or doing your own thing. I don't think people should feel compelled/roped into spending holidays with difficult people if it's going to prevent them from enjoying the holiday.
Thank you. Should have done it sooner.
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Old 11-18-2012, 12:07 PM
 
6,791 posts, read 7,092,442 times
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I wish people could appreciate whatever family they have, and just accept a little "drama" for one day. Thanksgiving is supposed to be about being with family, not a "perfect dinner," with a "perfect" family. I'd happily trade other people's "drama" to get one more Thanksgiving with my mom and brothers that I no longer have. I deeply appreciate having Thanksgiving with the few family members I have left, I don't give a crap if the food is dry, late, or take out from the grocery store.

Someone who posted earlier mentioned xanax, maybe every American should be supplied a xanax on Thanksgiving, so they could all just chill and appreciate each other instead of worrying so much about having some impossibly perfect dinner.

Last edited by detshen; 11-18-2012 at 12:16 PM..
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