We're almost never alone on Thanksgiving. Either we travel or someone comes to see us. We've been here for 9 years and I can count on a couple of fingers the number of times it's just been our family. This year, no one was able to come visit us and we didn't make plans to be away. Weeks and weeks and weeks ago, Garrett asked me who was coming for Thanksgiving this year. When I told him we'd be alone, he loudly declared, "Thanksgiving is for a lot of family getting together. I HATE when it's just us."
My sentiments exactly, kid.
And that's when my idea of Orphan Thanksgiving was born. If we were going to be all alone, we were going to make the best of it. I invited two families from our church. One family is here from Ukraine and the other moves a lot and has no family in town. About a week ago, another couple, who'd heard about my plans for Orphan Thanksgiving asked if they might be able to come over.
The more the merrier!
I asked each family to bring a dessert and a Thanksgiving staple. I handed out a list of what would be on the menu. I told everyone that if there was something they always had, if it just wouldn't be Thanksgiving without it, to please, by all means, bring it.
There would be six kids so I decided to do a table for them. I bought a tablecloth (tablepaper?) that they could color.
The adult table took some work because my house was not made for entertaining. Seriously, I don't get it. Utah homes are built for Mormons. Mormons have big families. This house was not made for entertaining big families. It makes no sense. After reconfiguring our furniture 32 times, borrowing a table and chairs from the church, and buying some blue tablecloths (tableplastic?) from Dollar Tree, we were finally ready.
On Thursday, we woke up, turned on the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, debated the merit of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, and got to work. About the parade. I generally find it boring but I love all the musical numbers from Broadway shows and all the aerial shots of NYC give me chills. My husband would rather be watching football. My boys told me when I turned on the parade that they hated it. But then they were squealing like school girls over the giant Pikachu balloon. Garrett helped me in the kitchen while Matthew yelled, "MOM! GARRETT! COME SEE THE GIANT POWER RANGER!" or, "WHOA! YOU SHOULD SEE THIS PIRATE SHIP!" Troy cleaned floors.
I cooked this guy...
and yams and green bean casserole and gravy. I made a Cool Whip Fruit Salad which my family just refers to as Pink Salad. I opened cranberries and olives and pickles. We set out drinks and we waited for the stuffing, potatoes, rolls and pies to arrive with their people.
At 1:30 our guests began showing up. One of them brought us this!!!
We ate at 2:00. It was delicious. It was a feast to behold. We stuffed ourselves and talked and laughed and before we knew it, it was after 6:00. The kids were all getting along--although loudly. The adults were having a fantastic time. Everyone seemed to enjoy themselves and everyone left around 7:00 pm.
It turns out that family is fantastic but orphans are pretty great too.