Hosting Thanksgiving

We tried to host Thanksgiving for both sides of our family, with mixed results.

Since we moved into our house, we’re at least just as far, if not farther, away from both sides of our family. In years past, we’ve tried a couple alternatives. Option one: we spend some time with both families in one day — which involves more driving and much more food than is comfortable. Option two: we dedicate Thanksgiving Day to one family and spend some time over the following weekend with the other family. Either choice invariably ends up cutting time short or hurting some feelings, neither of which is ideal.

This year, in order to avoid said hurt feelings and cut down on the amount of driving (well, ours more so than others’, I suppose), we proposed to host Thanksgiving for both sides of our families. Everybody was open to it, so we proceeded to plan. Jessica and I bought a 23-pound turkey and a 13-pound ham, and everyone planning to attend volunteered to make the various side dishes. (Point of contention: I maintain that my sister-in-law’s corn casserole is no side dish, and is no less than the main focus of the day. Others disagree.)

Then, at the beginning of Thanksgiving week, my mom tested positive for Covid. A couple days later, Namine’s cousin came down with the flu. My sister also had to work until the middle of the afternoon, so she and her husband wouldn’t be able to come until the evening. All these last minute changes cut our expected number of people in half. Now we faced a dilemma: with the turkey and ham already thawing in the fridge, should we still make both? Jessica was hesitant, thinking we might have to refreeze the ham. I, being a fan more of ham than of turkey, insisted we make both. We could always send food home with family, as we intended to do anyway.

We might have had less people than we’d hoped for, but we still filled the house. I put the leaves in the dining room table to elongate it, and set up another table in the family room for the kids. One of Namine’s cousins was still able to attend, so Namine had a friend to eat and play with. She managed to convince her mom to let her stay the night, and I’m pretty sure that neither girl got a whole lot of sleep that night.

My sister and her husband were able to make it to our house, albeit well past when everyone else had left. We played a board game and talked while Namine and her cousin played. As with all our other family that had come, we sent food home with them — and enough for my parents, as well. We still had plenty of leftovers for ourselves, too.

In the morning, we made waffles and bacon for breakfast. Namine and her cousin played before and after we ate, vocalizing a unified, disappointed “Awww!” when it was time to leave so we could get her home. I do want to tell you about something they did before we left, though.

Namine has several piano books for her lessons, one of which is filled with Christmas carols. Jessica and I were in the living room when we heard the sound of the piano being played. We had thought the girls were in Namine’s room, but obviously we were wrong. It’s a big house, and the piano — being located in the dining room — is on the literal other end of the house as Namine’s room.

We also, however faintly, heard singing. As I walked closer to the piano, I realized that they were singing Christmas carols. Namine was playing through all the songs in her Christmas piano book, while the two of them sang together. ?

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