The one thing about holidays that can be slightly more stressful than enjoyable: the splitting of family time. It’s a wonderful thing to have enough family members for this to even be an issue, but it can feel like an issue nonetheless. Christmas, although seemingly a more important holiday to many, is actually the less difficult one, I think, compared to Thanksgiving—given that it’s really a two-full-day celebration at minimum. Therefore, most people I know don’t have too much trouble splitting it someway between Christmas Eve day and night, as well as Christmas morning and night. However, Thanksgiving can feel like the trickier one due to its meal-centric nature. It’s hard to have an early meal at one location and then move to the next place to endure your food coma and not partake in that meal. It’s ok, of course, because company is still enjoyed, but there’s something about not being able to partake in the meal that just doesn’t feel right.
A good friend of mine (Hi Julia!) has a tradition in her family that I think is an absolutely brilliant alternative to splitting time. And as an aside, Julia is my favorite foodie friend—our similarities include but are not limited to being OK with the idea of overdosing on cheese, wanting to spend all of the disposable income we don’t have on eating out and filling the cupboard space we don't have with kitchen tools and supplies, aspiring to open our own restaurants/bakeries some day, and truly enjoying cooking and trying out new recipes. We love sharing this part of our lives with each other, and deep down I remain very hopeful that someday it can become more than just a hobby for the two of us (cooking, that is—and as for eating, well, that would be the most ideal).
So, Julia’s family was accustomed to celebrating Thanskgiving with her dad’s relatives but, as many of us can relate to, her mom, Sharon, was wanting to celebrate with her side of the family but dreading the whole turkey x2 thing. Julia’s mom is kind of my spirit animal of entertaining, and I not-so-secretly yearn to be part of Julia’s family, if not just for this Thanksgiving tradition, then to be a part of Sharon’s inner circle of fun get-togethers. She started the tradition of hosting a lobster dinner on the Friday after Thanksgiving every year for her side of the family. And they've all become huge fans of it over the years, taking it as seriously as Thanksgiving itself. I know, I know, I know, isn’t this idea AMAZING? I love everything about it—it’s as decadent and celebratory feeling as Thanksgiving, but yet so starkly different that it doesn’t compete with the traditional Thanksgiving meal, and it can absolutely be served the very next day without being spoiled at all by the previous day’s festivities. I love the idea that it extends the Thanksgiving holiday to be a bit longer, without cramming everything and everyone into one day.
I’ve been obsessed with this idea ever since I first learned about it. I swear that someday I’ll institute the tradition in my own family’s customs. Do you have any great Thanksgiving traditions? Share 'em with me!