First of all, welcome to those of you who are new and joined me--thanks very much!
Now for the main event: I need suggestions on how to handle Thanksgiving. It is my first big "foodie" holiday since surgery, and I'm worried. Here is how Thanksgiving normally transpires at my house:
1. My parents come for an extended stay, which puts three adults in a condo for one. Not only are there more people in a smaller space, but the people in question all have somewhat big personalities (I actually think I may top the list on this). So while I love it when they come visit, it can also be overwhelming.
2. We wake up and turn on the Thanksgiving parade and my mom and I cook. My mom's job is to hold the turkey while I fill it with stuffing, and to amuse me by making the turkey dance while she's doing it.
3. We eat the food. What is it? For me it's always a little bit of turkey on the side of a large plate of carbs--stuffing, mashed potatoes, and rolls. We try to have salad and veggies to make it a slightly rounder meal, but I usually push those to the side.
4. My mother cleans up. Our deal is that I cook (with the exception of preparing the naked turkey for the oven), and she cleans up. That, and she's somewhat compulsive about cleaning so even if we didn't have the agreement I would just leave it until it drove her so crazy that she cleaned it up anyway. So the trade-off is actually a much better deal. During clean up, there is usually a great deal of "stuffing-stealing" on my part, which consists of me deciding that there is no way for all the stuffing to fit into the tupperware and I should therefore eat it while standing in the kitchen. And maybe another roll. With butter.
5. Then there is much laying around in a tryptophan-induced semi-comatose state while my father attempts to watch football with his eyes closed and my mother and I attempt to change the channel to something girly without waking him.
6. We eventually make it over to a friend's house for a dessert buffet and to practice having more appropriate social skills than sneaking stuffing and slumping on the couch.
7. We go home, we have a late-night snack (ie. a second Thanksgiving dinner), and we go to bed.
These are things that I cannot do this year. I can't make it all about the food. I can't eat the same type of food, nor can I eat it in the same quantity. And I'm realizing that I'm going to have to re-design Thanksgiving. Here's where I need your help.
How do I celebrate the holiday without making food the centerpiece? How do I get some physical activity space for that day? What food can I have that feels festive and holiday-like for all of us, but doesn't make me hate myself the next day? How can I change our holiday without making my parents feel punished?
I don't know. I've thought about going out to dinner (not a great option for us), ordering a "Turkey Dinner for 2" from Whole Foods, having yummy and festive nibbly things (since I have to eat small amounts several times a day) and avoid the one major holiday meal altogether, or invite ourselves to a friend's house. I'm just not sure.
What are you guys all doing for Thanksgiving? What do you do to stay on plan for the day (or do you just give yourself a free pass for the day)? How do you make it feel like a holiday when you have to change everything?
Any and all suggestions are welcome--please leave them in the comments.