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When I was in college, I had part-time jobs that scheduled me to work holidays. I remember the first Thanksgiving I worked through and missed, my family sent down a plate of all my favorite fare and I took my break to gobble it down. Another year, they held dinner until I could be there.
My study abroad year in Ireland, my flatmates and I prepared a traditional Thanksgiving feast for our Irish friends. That was somewhat difficult as they don't have turkeys readily available. We had traditional decorations, thanks to our parents who got together to send us a joint package. But it was difficult for our Irish friends to get what the holiday represented.
Another year, I chose to have a Friendsgiving instead of family Thanksgiving. It was quite a shocker. Scandal! But I was a head-strong college know-it-all and wanted to have fun instead of the tense extended family gathering. It was Friendsgiving before that term was even coined. We played ping-pong, had non-traditional foods, and movie marathons. Memorable. I remember laughing all day long.
In the past decade or so, Thanksgiving has become a muted affair. Usually just my parents and me. Sometimes we order from one of the local restaurants for our meal. Sometimes we prepare our own small feast. They are stress-free, mellow days where we enjoy each others' company and talk about the upcoming holiday season (which is especially busy for my dad as a professional musician).
I try to live in gratitude all the time. I am thankful for my many blessings. I know my quiet life is envied by others. I am appreciative for where I am and who I am. But Thanksgiving is a nice reminder.