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Family, Stuffing and Laughter

Oh, the holidays. For some, it brings thoughts of great memories and family traditions, and for others, it brings stress and the pressure to get everything just right. With Thanksgiving just over a week away, we understand that the latter may be mounting, so our team shared their holiday stories to provide a little perspective — and hopefully a few laughs — so you can stay sane this season. 

Rolls and Black Friday:
“My mom makes the BEST homemade rolls, so my fondest memories of Thanksgiving are eating as many rolls as I could before they were all gone. To this day, no other roll has ever been able to compete with my mom’s rolls. My siblings and I would also sit in a circle and pass around the Black Friday ads after our Thanksgiving meal. We would always wake up early and go out with my mom (this was before stores started opening on Thanksgiving night), so we would scan all the ads and devise our ‘plan of attack’ for each store.”

The Kids’ Table:
“My younger brother always had to eat at the kids’ table when he was growing up because he was, after all, the youngest. When he was in his 20s and even 30s, this tradition continued as he had to sit with his nieces and nephews for years. Watching him try to cram his long legs under the Fisher-Price picnic table next to the three- and four-year olds and carry on the funniest conversations with his table-mates still makes us laugh to this day.”

“My aunt (who cooks for the whole family) won’t let us take leftovers if we don’t have our own take-home dishes. One year she flipped her lid because nobody had any, but everybody wanted to take food home. She started to pour gravy and any other food we wanted in plastic bags! Now we all come with a bag of to-go containers!”

Recipe Blunders…and Losers:
“My grandma always made the stuffing in our house, and it had to be made with her recipe that no one knew until she passed away. The year after she passed, we used her recipe card to make the stuffing. It was horrible. We followed the ingredient deck to a ‘T’ and couldn’t figure out what we did wrong. It wasn’t until months later that we realized she had accidentally transposed some ingredients for that recipe with a recipe for a casserole on the BACK of the card. She really never even looked at her cards, as she seemed to have her Thanksgiving dishes memorized, so we decided she never caught her error. But we sure did!”

“My great grandma always brings orange Jell-O with shredded carrots mixed in…no one eats it because it is gross! By the end of the night, we play drinking games and dare someone to eat it when they put it out for leftovers!”

Life Lessons:
“I have a friend who organizes turkey and food donations for those in need during Thanksgiving, and the first few years she donated turkeys, she didn’t leave them out beforehand to thaw. Even though giving them was a thoughtful gesture that people appreciated, they couldn’t cook the turkey because it was still frozen!”

“One Thanksgiving it was rather warm, so my dad thought it’d be a good idea to crack open the kitchen window, grab his BB gun and teach my son how to shoot squirrels. I was so upset watching my six-year-old son shoot a gun for the first time out the kitchen window while we were supposed to be relaxing and enjoying a piece of pie. My sister even popped a Tupac CD in the CD player to ‘set the mood.’ I was trying to be a cool mom and not freak out, but when he actually shot a squirrel, I almost lost my mind while the rest of the family laughed at my expense. Looking back now, it is one of my favorite memories of our non-traditional holidays and has helped teach me to not take stuff so seriously!”

No matter how you celebrate the holidays this year, remember that they don’t have to be perfect. Focus on giving your family your presence rather than an immaculate house or a meal that’s 100% home-cooked. Trust us: The quality time matters more. The stress may still be there, but you can choose to not let it overtake you. The best part is, your family will still love you regardless of what happens.