I kind of blame television and movies for giving me really unrealistic ambitions about Thanksgiving. Think about it for a moment: the beautiful dining rooms, the well-laid table, the perfect food and the matching china. Everyone in perfect sweaters with great hair and no one is sweating. There is laughing, and happiness. Old wounds get healed. Then, after a perfect meal, everyone trims a gorgeous Christmas tree in an effortlessly clean house. It’s glorious and despite a childhood of Thanksgivings that definitely didn’t come out of a television show or a magazine (we’re the family that spent a Thanksgiving in the ER because my mother dropped the turkey on herself resulting in third degree burns) I had some strange hope that as an adult things would be glossy.
I’ve been away from “home” for Thanksgiving for about twelve years now and none of them really look like television. There have been the takeout food Thanksgivings spent alone, the go-to-friends’ houses versions, even the work the day shift at the shelter for double time version. For the past several years I’ve gone to my faux-parents’ house (they legitimately consider me their child) and while it looks more like television it’s certainly more colorful. I’ve joked that I should write a screenplay about how dysfunctional it is. I’ve also done a friend version of Thanksgiving in my own home for three years (Friendsgivingsmas) with mixed result. I mean, I can roast an incredible turkey (baste with beer, my friends) but hosting doesn’t always go as planned.
This year, though, something interesting happened. Sitting on the ottoman in my living room while talking to friends and drinking inexpensive champagne I realized that I had finally gotten my perfect holiday on my own terms. I had a gorgeous holiday meal in my own home, then had a great evening at the faux-parents’ house, and ended Thanksgiving playing video games and watching movies with one of my besties. It didn’t look like a television show. We ate on paper plates at my house, and it was raining and miserably cold for the other festivities. My house wasn’t totally clean. My hair looked awful. It was perfect because it was imperfect and with all the crazy and chaos in my life right now to be surrounded by warmth, and love, and friends was exactly what I needed.
That doesn’t mean I won’t shoot for matching sweaters next year. 🙂