Holiday Season Without Our Parents

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There are tons of articles and posts online about holiday season tips and getting ready for the holidays. This post is a little different.

We became waifs last year, and it’s finally settling in on us that our parents of both Kevin and me are gone. Within the years 2000 until 2017, both sets of our parents have passed on leaving us feeling the weight of that loss as the holidays approach once again.

Thanksgiving 2017

Last year, it was only months since my mother-in-law passed when the holidays were approaching. We were focusing on spending Thanksgiving in Cabo with a dear friend and her friends. We slid through the November holiday season pretty easily thanks to that enjoyable distraction.

Ordinarily, I would have been planning out another feast for Thanksgiving that we would share with Kevin’s Mom and others in the family. It’s a big job to put out a sumptuous spread for this special holiday, but it always gave me joy to do it, especially if there were other helping hands to make the task a lot more fun.

Planning Holiday Season

We’re still in early October but already my thoughts are planning next month’s calendar. The realization that all of our parents are now gone is settling in. I guess that’s no surprise as the holidays are most usually shared with family and closest friends. Our closest friends are now States away, and our families are getting scattered, too.

So, what do we do when the patriarchs and matriarchs are no longer with us? Do we carry on the same, familiar holiday traditions that made us feel warm and comforted with our loved ones? That could be bitter-sweet. Bitter because it highlights the absence of those no longer with us and sweet because it spotlights the wonderful memories of holidays of yesteryear.

A Year We Thought We Could Pass On Thanksgiving

One Thanksgiving several years ago, Kevin and I were living in another state far away from any family or close friends. As Thanksgiving was approaching, we decided we were going to be brave and independent and not “do” the traditional dinner thing. So, we headed out on a sight-seeing day trip, which was wonderful.  We kept seeing families celebrating their togetherness and talking about the up-coming turkey dinner that was being prepared for them as they were out having fun. This made us feel bad that we didn’t have a family to share dinner with. We were alone.

Towards the end of the day, we looked at each other and realized that we had made a mistake. We should’ve stayed home and prepared dinner even if it was just for ourselves.  We were missing the tradition of the day. But, here we were. Many miles away from home feeling so misplaced on a day when we should’ve been smelling all the yummy smells associated with Turkey Day!

Turkey! Turkey! Where Can We Get A Turkey Dinner?

As we drove home, we tried feverishly to find a restaurant that was still open and one that still had any turkey dinners left to serve. We just HAD to have turkey with all the trimmings before the day was over!

Finally, as we were losing hope and feeling really tired from the many miles we covered that day, we found a restaurant still open and still able to serve two more turkey dinners, cranberry sauce and all, right in our own town! Thank goodness! Our appetite for a turkey dinner was satiated, and we finished our journey home with full bellies.

So, this little story is good for me to remember as I’ve been having thoughts of not doing much next month for Thanksgiving. That would be a big mistake. We would regret that as my story reminds me.

Enjoy Your Thanksgiving 2018

We all have experienced having a vacant seat or two at the holiday table that was once filled by someone who made the holiday a little brighter just by being there. For some of us, the gathering around the table is small. For some, the family crowd has grown with daughters-in-law, sons-in-law, grandbabies, etc.

This year for us the gathering will be small – perhaps a crowd of two – but we can reflect and smile as we enjoy the memories of Holidays past that were enjoyed with loved ones who are no longer with us. We can enjoy the special, traditional dishes that filled the holiday table and the super-yummy pies that followed. It just means more leftovers for us!

As we live through the ebb and flow of our family members, we can remember “Family is not an important thing. It’s everything” says Michael J. Fox. Some years, the table is overflowing with an abundance of goodness surrounded by lots of filled chairs and happy chatter. Other years, fewer chairs with less chatter but still a lot of love and maybe more tales of earlier days.


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  2. Denise | 11th Oct 18

    Hi Christine,
    I have lately become more aware of “food combining” and I’m wondering if you can post some information about it? No protein and starch? Yikes! But it seems to make sense. Thanks! Keep the awesome articles coming!

    • Christine | 13th Oct 18

      Hi, Denise. Thank you for your great question! I will research that and post quickly so that it may help with Holiday meal preparations. I appreciate your input

  3. Denise | 11th Oct 18

    Great article Christine! Why do holidays put us into such a tail spin?! I’ve noticed a trend with me. I get grouchy and resentful about the whole ordeal. I think I don’t care. I think it’s way too much trouble and too expensive. I think I want to skip it. I think it comes around too often. I don’t feel like cleaning my house. All of these feelings and thoughts happen every year! YET, when the day comes…..guess what? I’m happy. Huh?! I’m happy to see my family – whoever is coming. I’m happy to share my home. I’m pleased with my lovely table and excited to put a big dinner on it. I am thankful.
    I’ve noticed another trend. My husband doesn’t go through any of the stupid pre-holiday emotions that I do. He just rolls with it. And, (I know I’m super lucky) he busts his butt to help out with everything. He has claimed Thanksgiving. He loves it and it doesn’t cause him one moment of angst. I’m trying to be more like him, haha!! Once I realized that I do this – get all stressed out – and then pull it off and have a great time, it became easier for me to accept it for what it is, and what it is not. Cheers!

    • Christine | 13th Oct 18

      Hi, Denise. Oh boy, can I ever relate to you with this comment! My days of hosting a big dinner are memories for me now, but I can certainly remember feeling exactly as you so completely described: first the dread of it all and then the complete satisfaction and happiness the day and night of. You put out your delicious dishes of yummy Holiday food that everyone enjoys, and at the end of the day, while everyone is topping their bellies off with coffee and pie, you can sit back, relax now, and compliment yourself on having made a wonderful Holiday – again – for your family and friends. Kudos to your husband for all of his help and support, especially during the phase of your difficult moments. 🙂 Keep up the good work, Denise. You and your husband put smiles on lots of faces year after year as you open your home for the Holidays!

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