We have started a new Thanksgiving tradition at the Kelly-Brunt household called Fakesgiving – the fake Thanksgiving we celebrate the weekend before the real deal.
It started last year right after my sister died. We really wanted to spend some time with her kids, all three of whom are in their twenties and young thirties, but we had travel plans for the five of us on the actual holiday. Thus, we decided to celebrate it on another day. It turned out that getting everyone together the weekend before worked well because my niece and nephews have demanding jobs or significant others who had their own celebrations to go to on Thanksgiving itself.
Well, we’re on our second year running and I have to say: #NailedIt.
I did not cook because, as you know, I can’t. We ordered every dish from Citarella (a grocery store), and I hired a couple of gals to help warm it up and serve it. It was spectacular! Was it as good as my mom’s Thanksgiving turkey? No, but we didn’t have to cook it and it got delivered needing only a warmup. A win-win!
The best part was I got to spend time with my sister’s kids who I haven’t seen nearly enough of these past few years. None of them live close by. One had even been living in South Korea for the last decade. My mom came too and she was in such good spirits, getting to laugh and celebrate with six of her grandkids and one great grandson.
She particularly came alive when we played charades, a game she crushed. Case in point: Book… 3 words… second word… small word… “AND.” At that point, Doug pretended to sprinkle something on the ground and my mom correctly called out “Hansel and Gretel!” How??
Watching my nephew Chris, who is 32, in full angst as he brilliantly acted out “Copacabana” – getting his team to accurately get “Coco” and “Cabana” but not able to figure out what song sounds very close to “CocoCabana” – had me in actual tears from laughing so hard. My son Thatcher totally stumped me with his “Last Chance University.” I acted out “Last” and “Chance” okay, but “University” was a tough one. Later, it was suggested to me that I might have considered doing a unibrow and then shortening it. Good tip.
Getting together for the holidays can be a challenge. You often have to travel, which is a hassle and can be expensive. The host has to cook (or, in my case, warm up) and make sure everyone is well looked after. Every “yes” in one’s calendar comes at the expense of another possibility. It’s a commitment, especially this time of year. But it’s worth it.
Spending time with family over a good meal, reminiscing about family memories, laughing, playing games, eating too much and then regretting it – it’s part of the joy of life. Family. Laughter. Love. Shared time. For all of it, I’m thankful.
I hope you have a similarly wonderful experience with your family this week. And in case you are looking for a little entertainment, I am sharing with you a few pages from my nephew Chris’ birthday gift to me this year (my birthday was on Fakesgiving): A recipe book in which he hand-penned entries.
I laughed when I saw it because he has a lifetime of experience with my terrible cooking and knows quite well that giving a recipe book to me is one step up from giving one to Strudwick. But when I looked inside I realized this was no ordinary cookbook. He filled out page after page with memories of food experiences at my home over the years – memories which validated my choice to not even turn on the stove this year.
They include: That time he visited and I served him ‘diet’ maple syrup:
That time I invited my sister’s family over for Thanksgiving and, let’s just say, I did not understand the defrosting process:
And an old practice from my younger years of making brownies or cookies only to eat just one and throw the rest out. In order to stop myself from dumpster diving later, I would pour some toxic substance on the discarded food. A ridiculous practice, but – can I tell you? – it worked!