Skipping Thanksgiving

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Categories Parenting

Thanksgiving is a struggle in my family. Actually, as much as I want to be one of those “family dinner” moms, I have to admit that getting everyone to sit down and eat is one of the worst parts of my day. My kids try hard, but they are so excited to chat with each other, they have ideas, they bounce up and down to write notes, get toys, giggle and tell jokes that there isn’t a whole lot of eating. I have to put on my “mean mommy” voice just to get enough dinner into them so they are not hungry later. And this is all ten times worse when my husband makes it home for dinner–they are so excited to see him that they can’t concentrate. Remember, my twins are four and my older one is seven, and yes I am appalled just writing this!

Living in the D.C. metropolitan area, with family along the I-95 corridor, the thought of slugging through Thanksgiving traffic to a sit down meal is exhausting–especially with kids who can’t just sit and eat. I am aware of the whole purpose of the holiday–passing on tradition, visiting family, teaching manners and values. However, our whole meal will be filled with cajoling the kids to sit down, try your food, no you can’t get up yet. Two hours of cooking will be over in 20 minutes and I usually end up with a bad taste in my mouth. I don’t want my kids to grow up thinking Thanksgiving is the holiday full of food they don’t like; where they have to sit still and eat without fuss. That’s no fun.


A hike with Big Sister leading the way, as always

So this year we’ve given ourselves permission to take the holiday “off”. We plan to be tourists in our own city–swapping museums and monuments for Macy’s parades and football games. I will cook the usual Thanksgiving foods the day before and have a casual meal of leftovers after the kids go to bed, exhausted after seeing the sites. This plan sounds relaxing and more along the lines of our family’s values–having fun, active, learning experiences together. Yes, we are still reading Thanksgiving books, doing turkey crafts, making the requisite Native American feather headband, and hopefully my kids will learn that Thanksgiving is a fun day for our family no matter how we celebrate it.

How do you celebrate Thanksgiving with multiples?

Leslie H. is a freelance writer and mom to a spunky seven-year-old girl and adventurous four-year-old twin boys.

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5 thoughts on “Skipping Thanksgiving”

  1. My kids are smaller at 20 months, but I can’t even imagine making them sit through a whole meal with us adults. We got lucky this year at our (Canadian) thanksgiving and the boys napped through while we sat down and ate leisurely with family. When the kids woke up, they sat down with us to eat and play with family chatting.

    I see nothing wrong with letting the kids play when they’re done eating and the adults taking their time.

  2. My girls were able to sit in their high chairs and eat, but as soon as they were done I let them get down (rather than torture them by sitting at the table until everyone was done). Having said that, I think your idea of a relaxing day exploring sounds like a lot of fun!

  3. I don’t think you are “skipping thanksgiving” as your title says – instead you are just finding another way to celebrate! Enjoy your holiday!

  4. Holidays can be so stressful. Coming from Finland and being married to an American who appreciates a good meal, Thanksgiving has always caused me lots of headache. I love the family get together part of it but cooking such a huge meal right before Christmas seems daunting. I’m grateful we live very close to some of his family and can easily divide cooking responsibilities as well as get more people to enjoy the meal. As for kids.. they love turkey so if that’s all they eat I’m ok with that. The best thing for them is to get to play with their cousins.
    Your plan sounds wonderful! Maybe we’ll see you in tv watching the parade!

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