If your family is anything like mine, holiday gatherings are more than just a meal. Memories are created, pictures are taken, laughs are shared, and stories are told. We don’t realize it is happening, but we are actually going to laugh about ‘this’ for years to come. Remember that year that Uncle Frank broke the wooden chair and fell on his rear end? How about the Thanksgiving when Aunt Mary burned the turkey and we all had to eat spaghetti and meatballs? These are the memories we may cry over as they are happening, but we will laugh about them next year.
Thanksgiving Tales: True Stories of the Holiday in America (Edited by Brian D. Jaffe) is a wonderful collection of stories and memories written by 48 different writers across the United States. We will all sit down and (hopefully) enjoy a nice Thanksgiving meal next week, but whose turkey won’t make it out of the oven? Whose cranberry sauce will wind up on the ceiling? Thanksgiving Tales brings us from the NYC rush that I get to experience every year on Thanksgiving: Wake up, get dressed, run to the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade, run home, get showered, get dressed – eat, eat, eat. Sleep. (Yes, this is a true NYC Thanksgiving) Other stories bring us into middle America for a country farmhouse-style Thanksgiving.
One of my favorite stories in this book is titled "Not Just Another Thanksgiving", which is a tale of an Iowan family that is forced to experience a NYC Thanksgiving. Their daughter is a college student in NYC and decides the trip back home for only four short days isn’t worth it. Mom, dad, and brother take the journey to NYC – it is the only right thing to do, after all! I was laughing at the writers explanation of NYC and her expectations as an Iowa resident versus what he actually received in Manhattan:
"…in New York, ‘roomy with two queen beds’ translates to ‘one bed and a blow-up mattress crammed next to it on the floor,’ for anyone from out-of-state. We were thankful that it was oh, so . . . cozy. We were really thankful it included a tiny private reading room with a toilet."
Although the family doesn’t seem to have a wonderful experience here in New York City for Thanksgiving, I think stories like these are memories we can take on forever. I have a handful of terrible holiday stories that I cherish. While some people sit and mope over the turkey burning or another event that seems like the ‘end of the world’, I actually enjoy these happenings (call me crazy, if you must!).
From ThanksgivingTales.com: Some of the humorous and funny Thanksgiving stories describe chaos and mishaps of meal preparation, family arguments and first-time hosts—all disasters then, but now looked upon with laughter. Other inspirational Thanksgiving stories recount family traditions, meaningful moments, memorable guests and hosts, remembering those no longer with us and being alone for the day. There are even some stories about out-and-out hating the holiday. Thanksgiving Tales is a reflection of Americans, as much as it is a look at the holiday.
It is a testament to the importance of the holiday that Americans will go to great lengths for Thanksgiving—spending money to travel long distances or taking days to prepare meals, sometimes only to find themselves seated next to the weird cousin or sick all night from bacteria-laden food. Yet, it’s done all over again the next year.
What kind of holiday will you have this year? Whether your Thanksgiving or Christmas meal is perfect or destroyed, remember that we are building memories. Head on over to ThanksgivingTales.com and purchase your own copy of this book to read more hilarious stories. You will laugh, cry, and shake your head because the stories are either A) exactly like your family; B) helping you appreciate your family even more!