Normalize A Non-Traditional Thanksgiving


Normalize A Non-Traditional ThanksgivingDid you know you don’t have to eat turkey for Thanksgiving? That’s right, I said it. I was on the phone with my mom and sisters quite a bit the last couple of weeks figuring out what we were doing for the holiday and I admitted I didn’t really care that much about the turkey. “You know, neither do I,” said my mom. One of my sisters suggested we have a couple of chicken casseroles with a recipe that calls for dressing on top, and we all agreed. It will be cheaper, easier, and honestly, we’ll all probably like it better. And we’re still making our favorite sides which is what really counts if you ask me. Cranberry jelly, macaroni and cheese, fresh sourdough bread my sister learned to make this year, and of course at least two kinds of pie.

Believe me, we won’t be missing out!

And if you don’t care for turkey or anything else that normally graces a Thanksgiving table, guess what?! You don’t have to eat it! The pilgrims ate what they did because it was all they had and they were grateful for it, but we can eat a big pot of chili or pizza or sandwiches or whatever and be equally grateful for that.

Another thing my family does that is a little “non-traditional” is that we’ve done our Thanksgiving every year on Wednesday, not Thursday. There are three girls in our family and we’re all married now, and it just makes it much easier for us to get together on Wednesday so that we can all go our separate ways and visit with our in-laws on Thursday. Especially when you have a bit of driving to do to get somewhere else, it’s so nice not to have to split the day up and get to devote an entire day to each side of your family. I’ve always thought it was very gracious of my mother to be willing to do this, but I also know my mother-in-law would do it as well if it made it easier on everyone. I know not every family is as flexible as ours, so I feel pretty lucky in that regard. That’s another reason we don’t mind eating something different for our family Thanksgiving…we all know we’ll have the traditional dinner the next day, so everyone is happy. 

Your Thanksgiving might also not be spent with family at all and that’s okay too. Maybe your kids are grown or you share them with a co-parent, so maybe you and your spouse go out to eat on Thanksgiving. Maybe you’re not married and it’s just you and your kids, so you think of other ways to make it special. Maybe you don’t live near family so you have a Friendsgiving or go to a neighbor’s house. Maybe you volunteer at a church or shelter that day. Maybe you have family close by but you can’t have the relationship with them that you wish you did, so you stay home with your immediate family instead of getting together with extended family. It may not be the ideal Norman Rockwell Thanksgiving, but I think if you can find something for which to be grateful, you’re doing it right. And if you can’t find anything for which to be grateful, maybe you can change something this year.

My prayer for all of us is that we truly have something in our lives that makes us thankful, just like generations of Americans before us have always found something for which to be thankful.

Happy Thanksgiving!


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