Tag Archives: holidays

People You Might See At Thanksgiving

The Hostess. In my family we refer to her as “Stefanie”, and boy is she a chump. She’s hosted Thanksgiving for the past I-don’t-know-how-many years. For her birthday I gave her a gravy ladle, which is just like your husband giving you a broom. It’s a gift that says “you can feel free to keep doing the thing you’ve been doing for me.” She takes a good ribbing when her turkey is over brined and always says yes to a straggler. We revere her as the MVP of my extended family.

The Newlyweds. Boy are they shiny. The rings, the youth, the tales of a honeymoon they haven’t quite unpacked from. They represent hope at the table: a bright future, a new generation and maybe someone else to start hosting someday. The bride doesn’t know it, but she’s got a ladle in her future.

The Straggler. You’re not sure why he’s there or to whom he belongs, but, in the spirit of inclusion, no one wants to ask too many questions. Seems like maybe missed his flight somewhere else? There were complications due to the weather, he mentions under a clear blue sky. You never get the whole story, but wherever he was headed, he definitely didn’t pack a collared shirt.

The Does This Have Onions In It Lady. This lady doesn’t eat onions, and she makes it clear when offered her first martini. She wants to tell you why she doesn’t eat onions, but it sounds largely intestinal right out of the gate, so you demur to the kitchen to see if anyone needs help. This lady brings her spectacles to the buffet to inspect the stuffing. She mostly just eats dessert.

The Senior. This poor kid. He’s 17 years old and people are just trying to make conversation. What more lively topic to bring up than college admissions? This kid smiles a lot and says “We’ll see.” You try to keep the conversation going by telling him he’s more likely to get struck by lightening than he is to be admitted to his first choice college. He secretly hopes for a lightning bolt to end this conversation.

The Mysterious Cousin. This guy graduated from college with an interest in the CIA. This was fascinating Thanksgiving talk over the past few years, maybe the best ever. Now he returns, having moved to Virginia, and will not discuss his job at all. He uses phrases like “government related” and “hard to explain” a lot. You consider following him home.

The Bachelor. This guy shows up in better clothes than the rest of the men, mostly because he’s still trying. He’s brought a date, a blonde, who looks a lot like the woman he brought last year. This is tricky because you can’t remember well enough to be able to tell if it’s her. You decide to ask open-ended questions and look for context clues to find out, but honestly you don’t get too vested.

The Trouble Maker. He likes to say things like “I think women use the term ‘sexual assault’ for things that are really just misunderstandings.” He doesn’t believe this; he says it because he’s bored or drunk or both. Depending how bored or drunk you are, you decide to take the bait or not.

The Grand Dame. She’s made this meal 1,000 times. She’s paid her dues. She had her hair done today. She loves The Hostess.

The Rememberer. This lady wants to know if you’ve finished that book you were saying you were going to finish last Thanksgiving. No. Why not, she’d like to know. Because I got a dog? Why’d you get a dog? Because I went on a cleanse and lost my mind? Clearly this woman came to Thanksgiving to nag you, and clearly she doesn’t read your column. You excuse yourself to the dining room to audit the place cards to make sure you won’t have to suffer through this interrogation all throughout your meal. This is the sole occasion where it is permissible to switch place cards when The Hostess isn’t looking.

The Old Guy. If you’re going to switch, you opt for The Old Guy. This is the best guy at the table. He’s got stories to tell, and they must be told. He doesn’t want to impress you or sell you anything. He just wants you to know what air travel to Europe was like in the 70s. He wants you to know what the real problem was with his first wife. He doesn’t care who he tells these stories to; you’ll do. Besides the pie and the wine, this is the reason you showed up.

(Happy Thanksgiving!)

Notes for Next Christmas

I have a friend who has a very thoughtful way of living her life, and I try to pick up her habits when I can. She recently told me that every year after Christmas she takes a few minutes to jot down what worked and what didn’t, so that she doesn’t make the same mistakes… Continue Reading

Cords For Christmas

When my oldest son was two-years-old, he saw a toy in a catalog that fascinated him. He carried that catalog around wherever he went for six months, hypnotized by the little plastic animals that seemed to graze around a plastic tree. Because I was a person who had $20, I bought him that toy for… Continue Reading

Warning: It’s Christmas, Mom Might Snap

As published in The Huffington Post on December 18, 2014 One of my favorite holiday traditions is watching stuff I’ve seen a hundred times and sobbing in front of my television. By the time Harry Bailey says, “To my big brother George, the richest man in town,” I’m pretty much a mess. Among these odes… Continue Reading

I Want to Pull Back the Curtain on the Food Network

As published in The Week on November 21, 2013 Because I lost control of the clicker about a decade ago, I spend November watching a lot of football and a lot of the Food Network. My husband flips back and forth between the NFL and home-style cornbread stuffing, mesmerized by the way these TV chefs… Continue Reading

M.O.M Local – Inaugural Union Meeting

As published in The Rye Record on June 20, 2013 Opening: The first meeting of the Mothers Organizing Madness (MOM) union was called to order at 1 p.m. by the self-appointed Interim President and Secretary of MOM. Said individual asked for volunteers to replace her in both capacities. Preamble to constitution and adoption of bylaws:… Continue Reading

Happy Holidays Mr. Bernanke!

As published in The Rye Record on December 16, 2012 Dear Mr. Bernanke, First of all, I’m sorry to butt in. I know you’re really busy trying to figure out how to massage the economy back to life. There is no amount of money that you could pay me to do your job. But I… Continue Reading

The Procrastinator’s Guide to Holiday Shopping

As published in The Rye Record on November 30, 2012 The daydream is always the same: It’s December 1st and I gently toss my holiday shopping list into the recycling bin. I’d planned ahead, you see, taking advantage of the November lull. I’d walked the quiet malls, collecting thoughtful gifts for everyone on my list.… Continue Reading

Valentine’s Day Smackdown

As published in The Rye Record on February 10, 2012 My kids watch this unbelievably ridiculous show, “The Deadliest Warrior”, where modern day super nerds re-enact fantasy battles between warriors from various times in history. Examples include Attila the Hun vs. Alexander the Great or Joan of Arc vs. William the Conqueror. I’m not making… Continue Reading

Pulling the Plug and Then Pressing Unwind

As published in The Rye Record on January 13, 2012 We decided to stick it to Santa this year. Christmas is so hectic, and we all needed a little down time, so we did the unthinkable – we went to Turks and Caicos on December 23. I’ve felt guilty about this since booking the flights.… Continue Reading

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