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Where did Thanksgiving go?

By November 29, 2008Family, Jessica, Neil, relationship

As I lay here still exhausted from the sheer amount of coordination that my ‘first’ Thanksgiving required, I feel like it was never really here. I awoke today, the day after to news of “Black Friday” shock value that included 1 death, several tramplings and even shootings, and I think…did we ever really have Thanksgiving?

Seemingly the economic crisis pushed retailers into panic-mode, thrusting our collective conscious into Christmas overdrive before the leaves even turned colors. Hobby Lobby was selling decorations in August and the commercials for toys, food, and electronics started over a month ago. Growing up, Thanksgiving traditionally marked the beginning of the holiday season with trees and decorations going up the following week. On a jog three weeks ago, peeking through the windows and along rooflines were colorful lights and TREES! How does one prolong the life of a tree that long? Is it possible?

It’s sad. In a year when we should cling to what’s most important I feel even more raw from attempts to market to me or force me to consume earlier and more. I kept trying to think of ways to make this holiday as cheerful as possible and one of my mental optimism moments was this idea that we’d return to caring about the little things, cherishing eachother, and returning to simplicity and ‘less’ and…learning that it’s the better choice instead of painful concilation. If this ‘Black Friday’ was any indication, I’m thinking that hope will be disappointed. Ugh, Charlize Theron just stripped bare to sell me perfume. Nauseated.

Overall though, the brief minute that was Thanksgiving was unique and very enjoyable, albeit sad because Eric is still in Arkansas finishing his internship. It was the first Kohler-Durboraw Thanksgiving. We opted to organize this because with my parents now in Dallas, the availability and opportunity to see them is sparse, and we didn’t want to ditch Neil’s family. It was a lot of organization, but everyone seemed pleased (and full of gas) with Neil and my efforts. New additions included:

• Flipping the turkey non-traditionally to preserve moisture and juice (that sounded gross, sorry)
• Golden Delicious apples in the stuffing
• Homemade cranberries (Eric likes the jellied ones in the can, so we always forewent the traditional route)
• One pie instead of two, and we still haven’t even gotten to it

There were several other things I wish I could have tried, but we seemingly ran out of time, so I’ll pack them away for next year. The rest of this weekend will be spent collecting my sanity and cleaning the house (again ack!). My parents return to Dallas in a few hours and I’m just left wondering where all the time went.

I’m getting a taste for how complicated the holidays will become with Neil and my marriage. Essentially our marriage will mark the addition of another separate family unit, and added complication in deciding where we go and whose turn it is. Essentially, with my parents in Dallas, there are four family units: 1) my family in MN, 2) my parents in Dallas, 3) Neil’s family in Springfield/St. Louis. It’s hard when you enjoy the times with everyone but don’t want to leave anyone out. Anyone have any ideas/suggestions?

One Comment

  • kwilcox says:

    <3 Elizabeth and I have kind of settled on this pattern of rotating the minor holidays (Thanksgiving, Easter, New Years, etc.) between our FOUR families – not giving preference and not trying to do multiples unless it’s somewhat convenient – and doing our best to accomodate all at Christmas.

    My sides of the family have started to discover the difficulty already, as we are already intertwined (my paternal half-sister and my maternal cousin {no blood relation there} have been married for a while and live in Kansas City), and they try to work together, at least to some extent, to space or place our celebrations to make it easier.

    Thankfully, one part of Elizabeth’s family is also very OK with bucking tradition to make it easier on “the kids.” So, so far, while it’s been slightly stressful, it’s generally worked out. When parts of our family can’t make it, we miss them, but all-in-all, we just enjoy the time we get and try not to make each other feel bad for having more than just one set of relatives!