This was my Thanksgiving, 2010:
1. Woke up (late!) in a rented condo.
2. Had a leisurely breakfast cooked in the condo kitchenette.
3. Had some more leisure time, audially decorated by three v. excited children.
4. Donned eighteen layers of snow and cold protection, in as leisurely a fashion as such an activity allows.
5. Went skiing en famille. Despite the inevitable bouts of screaming, the disappointment at low-bar goals unmet (I always begin a day of skiing hoping to ride the lift at least five times, and am always laughed off the mountain by fate), the cold, the inopportune demands for food, drink, or bathroom breaks, the day was lovely and made lovelier by the thought of a steaming warm dinner to come.
6. Went back to the condo and helped my SIL prepare Thanksgiving-in-a-box (turkey, gravy, rolls, three sides, cranberry sauce, and a pumpkin pie). My role was primarily confined to rereading the directions and confirming that, yes indeed, you left the plastic bag on the turkey to bake.
7. Ate said dinner, watched a movie with the kids, got to bed by 9 pm.
Nice, right? It's a bit of a departure from our usual Thanksgiving, although the past few years have been a steady exercise in the art of letting good traditions go. I haven't cooked a Thanksgiving dinner since 2007 and I don't think I've made a pie since well before that (and for so many years I was dedicated to the making a pie that began with an uncooked pumpkin and a pile of flour and ended with something that was definitely different than what you could get at King Soopers, but not necessarily better). We hastily dropped the midday-meal tradition after the Family Fiasco of 2008 (it involved plate pushing and bread throwing by a seven-year-old who'd just moved and changed schools, was expected to endure the guarded tensions of having both divorced grandparents at the same event, and broke when asked to come to the table at 2 p.m.) (the fiascality of the tantrum was enhanced by a certain relative, who, instead of a gentle comment about how children are such sensitive instruments or, perhaps, a hearty laugh, commented acidly that she found his behavior "very disturbing" and that, furthermore, I ought to be careful--someone might call social services if they found out he preferred to sleep on the floor.) (GOD) Thanksgiving has always been about friends and family, and it will definitely continue to be--but sometimes it's nice to have it be about family members who actually enjoy each others' company.
Anyhow. While I might tweak with this year's formula a little--by adding some brussels sprouts, maybe, or remembering to pack some whipped cream--I think we've found ourselves a new tradition.