Sometimes the sweetest "family" moments can come from breaking tradition.
Lenore Moritz: There are 37 units in my downtown apartment building and, barring a few rabble-rousers, we are a pretty tight community. My floor is especially connected, it's a bit like a dorm: we loiter in the hallways and catch up; we have dinners together; we have each other's spare keys. Amazingly, in just seven homes, we represent four different nations ... a mini-UN.
Because many of my neighbor friends are -- like me -- transplants and far from family, they are often alone on the holidays. So what it amounts to is a floor full of holiday orphans, and for the first time ever, my family will count ourselves among them.
My husband and I decided against the joy that is holiday flying (coffee? tea? snippy flight attendant?), as well as the cost (an added tax on holiday flying? maybe a Skype Chanukah/Christmas isn't that preposterous ...) Though we'll miss our families back east, we'll celebrate this great fall holiday with our adopted building family ... but how?
Being the mishmash of people that we are in the building, I wanted to think of something that everyone could enjoy. I also wanted something that didn't involve cooking a turkey, because (a) I've never cooked a turkey (I like baking -- cooking, not so much; cooking 16 lbs of poultry, not at all), and (b) I'd have to take out a shelf in my fridge to store the big bird until Thursday, and then my olives, salsa, homemade cheesecake (my husband's specialty) and the kids' Jell-O would be displaced. Priorities, people!
My big idea? The start of a new tradition: a pajama party open house to watch the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade (which I love, but oddly -- or wisely -- never saw in person all the years I lived in New York).
Since none of us have to leave the building, pajamas and slippers are the perfect attire for a morning party. I'll invite all my neighbor friends and we'll unite as Thanksgiving orphans, being a "family" together ... minus the judgments about the direction of our lives, the way we're raising our kids, or why we're filling our plates with seconds. Hey, I'm liking this more by the minute!
This Thanksgiving, our motley crew will gather around the parade on TV, say we're thankful for each other, and indulge in things I've baked (another turkey-shaped scone anyone?). My family may not get turkey and stuffing this year, but I know the pumpkin cookies will be a big hit. And maybe we won't forsake turkey completely ... I'm thinking about serving turkey bacon BLTs for dinner.
|Lenore Moritz is the curator/editor of Mom Culture, a culture fix for your inner grown up. Each Friday, a new artist interview and their art will inspire and energize you. High culture, pop culture and everything in between is covered.|