Thanksgiving DinnerWhats your situation for the upcoming holiday? Is it one of these?
Your three grown kids and their respective families live nearby, but you dont have enough room in your home to accommodate all those people for Thanksgiving dinner, not even by setting up a separate childrens table. (Possibly youve downsized to a smaller home or condo and dont even have a place to put a childrens table.) None of your kids has enough room in their respective homes to host the whole gang either.
None of your kids lives nearby. Either theyve moved out of the area, or youve moved, and youre not going to be anywhere near any of them for the holiday.
Both your kids live near you, but each of them has agreed to go to their in-laws for the holiday this year.
How are you going to spend your Thanksgiving? A quiet dinner for two (or one, if youre divorced or widowed) just doesnt sound very appealing. Cooking a big feast for just the two of you (or one of you) seems foolish. And going to a restaurant on Thanksgiving just isnt your style. What to do?
Time for New Traditions
For most of my adult life, I have hosted holiday dinners (both Thanksgiving and Christmas) for friends. Of course, when my daughter still lived with me, she was part of the group, but after she moved out on her own, there wasnt a glaringly, achingly empty seat at the tablethe table was surrounded, as usual, with friends.
I began this Thanksgiving-with-friends tradition as a young single, living on my own in New York. My mother, whom I was very close to, lived nearby, and it would have been easy to go to her house. But I chose instead of spending the holiday with her to cook for my single friends and neighbors who didnt have family nearby to spend the holiday with. Within just a few years I was inviting all my friends; and even some of those who were married and/or had family in the area chose to join the revelers at my tablewith the married ones bringing their spouses along, of course.
Maybe its time for you to adopt this tradition and host your friends at Thanksgiving dinner.
If space is an issue, dont invite more people than your dining room can comfortably handle.
If money is an issue, or if the task of preparing dinner for all those people seems too daunting a chore, make it a potluck dinner, with everyone contributing something. You can still roast the turkey yourselfor leave that to one of the guests and simply let the hostessing be your contribution.
If youre not a traditionalist, you neednt even roast a turkey at all; have several guests bring chicken (or some totally different meat, or some chicken and some other meat).
Besides inviting your friends, do you have any neighbors who might not have anywhere to go? That was how I started my tradition, after all. Is there a widower with no family in the area? A recent divorce whose kids have other plans? A couple who recently moved to the area and havent made many friends yet? If theres room at your table, consider inviting them, too.
It may not be the type of Thanksgiving dinner youre used to, with family gathered round and a feeling of closeness among kin, but youd be surprised how close youll feel to your friends, neighbors, and any other invitees by the time the dinner is over.
You may find you like this new tradition really fine and are already looking forward to doing the same thing next Thanksgivingor this Christmas.
About the author: Writer Cynthia McGregor hosts her Thanksgiving dinner in South Florida.
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