As a child growing up, the holidays were always about
turkey and presents, getting pinched on the cheek, and
having relatives over. My family usually hosted a big
meal that centered around either a turkey or ham with
all the usual fixings. We would stuff ourselves silly,
then sit around sleepily, loosening our belts.
About four years ago, when I first went vegetarian
(and later vegan), my mother despaired of ever spending
a family holiday together again. "If it were up to you,
there wouldn't be any holidays," she told me once, meaning
that my festivities must somehow be diminished for lack
of bird or pork. She overlooked the fact that I hadn't
eaten any Thanksgiving meals with them since I had gotten
married years earlier. What my husband and I had done
every year was to invite some family and friends over
for dinner, followed by a trip to visit my parents.
That way, we got to spend the holiday with everyone.
Since that first Thanksgiving, every year our festivities
have grown. We have gradually invited more people. While
our dishes have become increasingly creative and ambitious,
the time involved in preparing the meal doesn't seem
like such a chore. We have greater energy afterwards
to enjoy the time we spend with our family and friends.
After all, isn't that what the holidays are all about?
e x t e s s a y -
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