Every family has their share of Thanksgiving Day memories, and Wanderlust is no exception. We asked the team to share some of their most poignant holiday recollections and traditions, and we got the good, the beautiful, and the downright hysterical.
Before I came out to my family as gay, I came out as vegetarian. In fact, the gay thing would be a non-issue compared to the awkwardness caused by my new, plant-loving lifestyle.
That year, like every year, my family and I sat at a table that gave even Rockwell a run for his money. And as each dish was passed my way, my mother, gotta love her, rubber-necked in her seat to see what it was. “OH, watch out! He doesn’t eat MEAT anymore,” she barked before any awkward banter could result from turkey encounters. I rolled my eyes at this episode, just as she rolled her eyes at my vegetarian phase.
It was that same eye-rolling acceptance she exhibited when I dyed my hair blue, or turned down sports scholarships. But looking back, I can only be grateful for this ally I’ve had. So, Mom, my dear companion at the dinner table 10 years ago and in the world ever since, thank you.
– Ryan LeMere, Art Director
When my cousin’s children were in late elementary school, they got really into staging performances for the family. After Thanksgiving dinner, for at least three years in a row, we’d all gather in my grandma’s super small living room and they’d put on a show. One year my cousin’s husband had to be the turkey. I forget exactly what happened, but he got stuck in his “costume” when trying to crawl out from under the table. He’s never lived it down, but all people can recall is: “Remember when XX was the turkey? Hilarious.”
– Lisette Cheresson, Managing Editor
I was in fifth grade, and my family was driving to Chicago to celebrate Thanksgiving with my dad’s side. It was a 12-hour drive, so we broke the trip up and stayed at a hotel in Pittsburgh for the evening. As we made our way from the car into the hotel, my mom reminded me to bring my coat. I, on the brink of sassy tween-hood and finding any reason to be difficult, refused. My mother (bless her), who was growing accustomed to this independence, decided to let it slide so that I could learn the hard way.
The next morning was freezing. I shivered as we made our way from the hotel room back to the car. My father had a coat, my mother had a coat, and my brother had a coat. I clutched my arms pathetically. We passed an older couple, at which point I looked to my mother and, with the breath misting from my mouth, said, “Mommy, why won’t you buy me a coat?”
– Wanderlust Anonymous
Each year, my extended family would fly from San Francisco to Hawaii and we’d take to the town, driving all the way across O’ahu to Waikiki, the famous commercial haven on the ocean. We’d walk like tourists up and down the main strip, dotted with ABC Stores and excited crowds, landing at our favorite landmark, The Moana Surfrider Hotel. The building is known as the “First Lady of Waikiki.” It’s an epic open-air building with a deck full of Koa wood rocking chairs, and the scent of plumerias heavy on the breeze with huge banyon trees out back. At over 100 years old, it was reminiscent of an older, more peaceful way of life.
Inside, a decadent buffet awaited, and we took turns filling our plates with fresh bites from all cuisines. Once we were stuffed to the gills, the young ones in our family would run off to the beach, where we’d soothe our full bellies by playing in the sand and surf, dancing as the sun set and losing each other on the beach once it became dark. It was positively idyllic; I would realize this years later, listing it high alongside the long list of things I took for granted growing up in paradise.
– Maria Gotay, Graphic Designer
My sister and I used to play “Kill the Pilgrims” every year. My grandparents had these little plastic statues of pilgrims and we’d take her matchbox cars and shoot them down the table, singing “Kill the pilgrims, kill the pilgrims…” I don’t know why. We played a lot of “Native American” make believe all year round.
– Wanderlust Anonymous
When it comes to cooking, I’m not the best multitasker, but I do love this time of year. I always welcome a challenge to prove myself to, well, myself. What better time to do that then surrounded by family and friends?
Thanksgiving is always a bit of love/hate thing in my home. First the cooks gather on Google Hangouts for a pep talk. Cooking for several hours to create a 10-course meal is comparable to the Olympics in my family. Cartwheels and somersaults included!
Last year, while brazing, basting, slicing, and shake-and-baking, I received a text from my cousin Anamika requesting a dessert. Not just any dessert, mind you—my (self-proclaimed) famous gingersnap bars. No biggie, right? Except that it was Thanksgiving Eve, and the grocery shelves were most likely empty at that point.
But, due to the holidays, I was filled with gooey optimism, and I headed to the store to pick up the ingredients. To my luck, I found everything quickly, and only needed the marshmallows before I could head to check out. I spotted them on the shelf, then an elderly woman and I made eye contact. We both dashed for the last bag of marshmallows, which apparently are a commodity this time of year.
Lets just say that there were no Gingersnap bars. But after my traumatic duel with Granny, my cousin dare not refuse the rice krispie treats I got instead.
– Patricia Persaud, Graphic Designer
Photo via iStock
Amanda Kohr is a 25-year-old writer and photographer with a penchant for yoga, food, and travel. She prefers to bathe in the moonlight rather than the sun, and enjoys living in a state of the three C’s: cozy, creative, and curious. When she’s not writing, you can find her driving her VW Bug, looking for the next roadside attraction or family diner. She also roams the internet at amandakohr.com.