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Thanksgiving Guilt Trip, No Passport Required

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We will not be with my parents this Thanksgiving ... and we won't be with my husband's parents, either. The only trip we're taking this holiday season is a guilt trip ... come along for the ride!


Momlogic's Julie: There are definite advantages to NOT spending Thanksgiving with faraway family members. No fights over politics or religion. No stress over spending time at one house then dashing to another. No grandma's Jell-O salad to pretend to eat.

But when you spend Thanksgiving away from your family, there is definite guilt that comes along with it. You feel guilty you didn't make the effort to fly cross-country to see them ... because, you know, that's what you're supposed to do. (Or at least that's how the world makes you feel. It's the busiest travel day of the year, after all -- which means they're all making the effort to get somewhere and you're not. Which must mean you don't care as much as they do. Right?)

Then there's the guilt you feel for your children. All those Thanksgiving memories you have of a huge table full of food, surrounded by aunts, grandparents, and cousins? Your kids won't have any of those. And it's your fault.

But after you stop feeling guilty, you start feeling thankful for what you do have. We spend every Thanksgiving with our nearest and dearest friends in Los Angeles. There are about 10 or 15 of us who get together every year for a potluck dinner. Between us, we have 12 children, and there's another one on the way. These are the memories my kids will have of Thanksgiving: Being surrounded by friends who love them dearly, eating good food, laughing and having fun. Sure, those are different memories than I have of growing up, but they're just as meaningful.

And that's something to be thankful for.

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4 comments so far | Post a comment now
JMM November 26, 2008, 1:44 PM

I think what kids remember is tradition and happiness. So if that’s what you’re providing… you’re a pretty damn good mom, in my book.

Noreastmom November 26, 2008, 6:59 PM

I agree! Thanksgiving is way overrated anyway, and why fly across country just to eat? Spend the time on the times of the year that mean a lot to all: family vacations, summers, maybe even birthdays, and make turkey day a wonderful event of friendship… that’s how it started anyway.

Steph November 26, 2008, 9:14 PM

I am very thankful for this article. I am not able to be with my family this year due to a separation between my parents late in life. This has caused a complete separation of the entire family, where no one is getting together at all anymore on holidays. And i am the only one that lives out of town. I feel guilt…a lot of it. But I did not know how I would do it if I were to go visit for the holiday…probably splitting myself in two, visiting all the homes (mom,dad and brother). Was too difficult especially with having an 11 month old. Anyways, was feeling pretty alone in my decision to stay home and appreciated this article more than you know!

just sayin' November 27, 2008, 10:27 AM

ok, my first post didn’t post. grrrrr. But to sum it up, we are staying home this year due to the fact that my husband is working. I feel great because we do not have to run from my parent’s to my in-laws! Just for one day of eating! With a 2 yr old? forget it! now, taking a week or so off for christmas to visit everyone is much better.

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