When Kim and I first got married we had to work out whose family we’d go to for the various holidays.
Obviously, we’d go to her parents’ house for Christmas and Easter, we went to her aunt and uncle’s house for Christmas Eve, and we’d go to my parents’ house for Thanksgiving.
The problem with that was that I love to cook and we wouldn’t be hosting anything.
So a year or two in, I suggested to Kim that we have a pre-thanksgiving dinner and invite a couple of people over.
That’s how we began our “Non-Dysfunctional Thanksgiving Dinner” tradition.
There were many great years.
One year we invited my parents over and then took them and the kids over to see our new house that we would be buying. Kim’s parents hadn’t wanted to join us for dinner but they met us at the house as well.
Our kids ran around the two trees in the front yard and I knew our decision had been made. We could see ourselves in this house and would make an offer the next week.
We’d looked at a couple of houses. The other house we had narrowed it down to had an amazing kitchen and very little backyard. This house had a nice backyard and very little kitchen.
I’ve cooked in this “one-butt kitchen” for fifteen years and now I spend much of the year working from the back yard. Turned out to be a win-win.
Year after year we hosted people the Tuesday before Thanksgiving for this pre-Thanksgiving meal.
Then we had two bad ones in a row.
At the first, the family we’d invited over argued the whole meal. Kim and I looked at each other. This isn’t non-dysfunctional. We could have hosted our own families and argued less than that.
The following year the husband arrived late and wandered into the kitchen. He didn’t approve of the way I was making the gravy and made some suggestions.
Kim followed him in and ushered him out and said we’d be ready in a minute.
She looked back in and said, “be nice.”
“I was,” I said. “Is he drunk?”
“I think so,” she said.
“I’m ready, can you get everyone to the table, please.”
I brought in the food and everyone ate and had a good time.
Kim and I cleared the table and walked back in to serve dessert. Almost everyone was at the table. I furrowed my brow. Kim shrugged.
I wandered into the living room and there was the husband lying on the floor, fast asleep and drunk.
That was our last official non-dysfunctional Thanksgiving. We decided once the “non” was gone, there was no sense in continuing.
We only did one more pre-Thanksgiving.
A friend of ours was going in for surgery and wouldn’t be home til the day after Thanksgiving.
We always love having them over.
So we cooked a small Turkey and made all the usual sides and had the best time ever.
The last half a dozen years, Kim and I took over hosting the regular Thanksgiving dinner. It was a great way for us to see both her family and mine. Each set of parents could enjoy the holiday with their three children and their spouses. Each set of parents could spend Thanksgiving with their three grandkids.
This year we’re continuing the tradition and hosting both sides again.
Here’s to our regular Thanksgiving dinner this year being non-dysfunctional.