The End of a [Thanksgiving] Era

Traditionalist, domestic, quite-the-cook, family-oriented, homebody, entertainer - these are all words that describe me that can probably show you, in a nut shell, why I am so bummed that I am not hosting Thanksgiving dinner in my new house this year- but for very good reasons.

Until I was about eight years old my Grandmother hosted Thanksgiving dinner every year, then my Mom took over. You’d never know the difference – same creamy mashed potatoes, same delicious stuffing, same tasty turkey, same loving family members, same enjoyable conversation. There is something to be said about consistency during the holidays. I love knowing what to expect and I love that every aspect of the day has become ‘tradition’ for our family.

Since I can remember, not much has changed – I still make place card settings for everyone (this will be my 20th year!), I still go around the room and ask everyone what they are thankful for and I still wear an outfit that will match my apron! The only thing that has changed year by year is my contribution to dinner. I went from only providing place card settings to cooking the entire meal with a little help from my Mom and Grandmom. I have to say, they were quite impressed that I could handle it and extremely relieved knowing that they were confident enough in my cooking and entertainment skills to hand down the tradition of hosting Thanksgiving dinner to me.

Well, November really snuck up on me this year. A few minor set-backs are keeping Patrick and I from hosting dinner this year. 1- we don’t have a dining room table (YET), 2- we don’t have china, 3- we live so far that people aren’t going to drive all the way to my house to eat on a folding “TV dinner” tray table and off paper plates!

No, my family members are not a bunch of “Thanksgiving snobs!” – we all know what Thanksgiving is really all about – being together, enjoying the great meal and being thankful for our wonderful lives that we share together (and letting one another know what we want for Christmas!). I just seem to have this weird hang-up about hosting our first Thanksgiving in our new house. I want it to be special and perfect, just as it should be. I want Patrick at one head of the table and my Pop-Pop at the other. (I can’t wait until carving the turkey is Patrick’s job!) I want my table settings and centerpieces to be beautiful and everything just right! When it comes down to it, I guess it wouldn’t be a true McHugh family Thanksgiving unless we were sitting at one long table all together and eating off expensive plates!

This year I will still be contributing a ton to our Thanksgiving dinner. My Mom, Grandmom and I will have a great time bonding over peeling potatoes and snapping green beans and the day will be just as memorable as it has been for the past 24 years. It will be a bitter sweet day knowing that this will be the very last Thanksgiving hosted by my Mom and that next year the Tom the Turkey Torch will be passed down to me. I can hardly wait!

If there is one thing that I will want to instill in my family once I have children, its tradition. Once my [future] children are old enough to contribute to Thanksgiving dinner, I will certainly give them a job that they can be responsible for every year (until then I guess I am still the ‘baby of the family’ and will be making the place cards!). Is there some that you have done with your family as long as you can remeber or are you in the midst of of figuring out what your family traditions will be? I would love to hear from you!

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3 Responses to “The End of a [Thanksgiving] Era”

  1. Kalisha November 26, 2008 at 9:27 am #

    That’s great that you have such a deep family tradition…I am really intimidated at the idea of cooking a Thanksgiving dinner for my family all by myself and I have yet to do it. I don’t live near my mom or grandma so for the past three years my Mother-in-law has been in charge of Thanksgiving. This year she is cooking all of it herself and I think she wanted to treat us. I hope to one day learn how to actually cook a turkey and be a good hostess.
    Have a great Thanksgiving and goodluck to you next year!

  2. kim/hormone-colored days November 26, 2008 at 1:35 pm #

    I love that my family serves the same foods year after year. One year my dad got creative with this stuffing recipe and I was devasted. I love his stuffing!
    My husband, on the other hand, appreciates a new take on traditional foods.
    Good luck with your Christams wish list!

  3. Erin November 26, 2008 at 2:20 pm #

    I hope my future MIL never takes over- she is a vegetarian. No tofurkey for me!!

    Thanks for the well wishes!!

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