Sunday, November 22, 2009

A big Thanksgiving with all the trimmings -- and relatives

Nostalgic for those big family Thanksgivings of yesteryear, we've decided to invite the whole family to our house this year. That means we'll be gathering relatives we haven't seen much over the past few years, mainly since they had kids.

I have nothing against kids in general, but when there are too many of them, they tend to run around the house like wild turkeys on herbs. My couch turns into a trampoline, my expensive knickknacks become toys and the cats barely escape with their remaining lives.

That's not the only reason we've avoided the mass invasion. One year, a battle broke out between the two major clans — the vegans and the carnivores — and the tofurkey food fight was not funny. You can't get that stuff out of your tablecloth, let alone your hair.

Talk about guests who never leave, my relatives were still partying at midnight when I came out in my flannel pajamas and turned off the lights. Before they left, they raided the refrigerator and ate the leftovers that would have fed us for a week.

But my kids have been nagging us to have another big Thanksgiving. They miss the frenzied chaos, deafening noise, and broken furniture the holiday brings with it. Now that they have kids of their own, they want to show them off at a "family reunion" this year.

Fine. So, I mailed off handmade invitations to anyone with a related surname. In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I asked them to bring a dish to share (a bag of chips?), a game to play (Pass-Out?), and something they're thankful for (that they're not hosting Thanksgiving?)

Around the dinner table we'll take turns sharing our blessings. The kids will say they're grateful for video games and iPods, and the fact that Christmas is only four weeks away (which means more video games and iPods). The adults will just say "Alcohol."

Then, after we all devour enough food to feed the city of Fresno, we'll sit around with our guts exposed and watch a sports event, like "The Jerry Springer Show," on the plasma TV.

My kids will leave early because they have to go to their in-laws for a repeat Thanksgiving, ditching the rest of the relatives who've brought their sleeping bags.

Exhausted after everyone leaves, we'll try to get back into the spirit of the season. Before you know it, the relatives will be back for Christmas.

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