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The wild card worth celebrating this year

With holidays soon approaching, you are bound to have family coming out of the woodworks for the annual Thanksgiving dinner or Christmas swap. While most families get along relatively well, there’s always that one wildcard family member you’re praying gets stuck in a snowstorm or who just can’t make it for some reason or another. This holiday season though, change your mindset.

I have met a variety of different crazy family members over the years. My friend has a grandmother who wraps herself in tin foil for fear the government is watching her. There’s always the token single uncle with the creepy jokes and the crazy aunt, who insists she help, even though she forgets the casserole every time. It’s a part of what makes family special.

My family is no different. We’ve had a trying year and we don’t always get along, but this year, I want us to just all make an effort to give thanks that we have people to celebrate with and that we have a hot meal in front of us. I think those of us who are guaranteed a spot at the family dinner table often forget how blessed we are. There are people across the U.S. who would do anything to spend a day with their family, regardless of how crazy they may seem.

I’m not saying that everyone has to sit there and pretend that everything is the best it’s ever been, because it’s okay to admit that this year has been rough and has been a bumpy road, but I am saying that for one day- one hour put aside your differences to give thanks that you have people who love you and who were willing to give up time in their lives to come see you and eat with you to hear what’s going on.

This is not the one hour to compete with your family members to see whose children did better on the SAT or compare the different pies you made to see whose was better. It’s not the time to give your stance on how the President is or isn’t doing as Commander in Chief, and it’s certainly not the time to bring up the Hillary email scandal (again).

What it is time for is food, family and fun. My uncle came up with these three “f words” that he felt represented what every good family gathering should be. The food doesn’t have to be gourmet. In fact, this year our kitchen is being redone, so we will probably be dining out. The family doesn’t have to be the typical definition of “normal.” Is anyone’s family really normal? There’s bound to be at least one family bombshell dropped this year, and I’m sure of it. Most importantly it’s supposed to be fun! Play a game with the children; get the men together to all watch the football games; plan to all go shopping on Black Friday together. It doesn’t have to be a 5 star experience for it to be memorable. All it takes is a family gathering together to enjoy a meal and give thanks that they had that time together.

Growing up, my favorite memory on Thanksgiving wasn’t really the meal or any one part; it was the day as a whole. We would gather together for lunch and all clean up and we would later go to Eames Christmas tree farm, where everyone would pick out a tree and later decorate that evening. My cousins and I would run around and play hide and go seek. Once we got the tree all loaded up, we would return home for our own personal time playing Christmas music and putting ornaments on the tree. It doesn’t take much, but it certainly had the “three f words” and made for good memories.