I feel like Thanksgiving snuck up even faster than ever this year. But hey, maybe people say that every year. I am never really ready for the cold or the holidays and the long wait until I can see the glorious red of tomatoes at the farmers’ market again. To me, the holiday season has seemed to really, at its center, be all about food. I learned a little something more this year (although food is still important, hence the images).
This year, for the first time, I planned a get-together with my friends who were in town for the holiday on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving. We all brought a dish or two, a bottle of wine, some beer. And even though the meal wasn’t the most traditional (a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store, barbeque chicken sandwiches, instant mashed potatoes, and a fancy cheese plate, etc.), I found myself really getting into the whole holiday spirit of it. I loved squeezing around a way-too-small table with armchairs, stools and anything else we could find. I loved the teasing and faux reverence before starting to serve the meal. And as we finished off the local Sleepycreek Hen-Pecked wine I brought, I didn’t even mind cracking open the $2.99 pinot grigio that my best friend who was home from Virginia had supplied. The complete lack of reverence for tradition just made this Friendsgiving celebration all the more Thanksgiving-y. Friends are the family you choose, isn’t that what they say? And what could I be more grateful for than the fact that they chose me back?
Maybe it was all the wine, but I came home feeling all warm and fuzzy that night, thankful for a celebration (despite its questionable history) that brought us all together even after our lives had drifted apart.
Two days later, on actual Thanksgiving, I sat down with some family members who we always saw, and some who had traveled up for the holidays. Even as I endured the usual interrogations and watched pityingly as my brother was scolded about the next steps he should take with school/work/apartment hunting, I thought back to my Tuesday Friendsgiving. Sure, friends were the family I chose, but family are friends without a choice in the matter. It is just a powerful genetic link between us. The question of whether one was or could be more important or meaningful than the other is completely missing the point. Coming to realize the intrinsic connection between “friend” and “family,” I found a deeper understanding of each.That realization is something I am very thankful for this year.