So if you follow my blog, most of you know that my “prince charming” or even my “Prince I can get along with you” really has never shown up. It’s a little strange, as I have a pretty great social life which revolves around open water swimming, and other outside pursuits, but what the heck… I’m not a super model, and I’m now at an age where people are in general either married or going through some kind of relationship turmoil…
So every year I either go home to my parents, or gather with my parents at my sister and her husband’s home. Alternatively, I simply stay home. For the past two years my excuse has been my back injury and recovery. It’s an excuse, but really sitting on an airplane last year would be uncomfortable, and this year, I can not imagine trying to schlep through an airport. Plus, I have discovered that a summer visit is more lovely, and about 50% less expensive in airline fare than the holiday thing. Less stressful as well.
Because of this, I am often invited to many friend’s homes over the varying holidays. Most of the time, I politely turn them down. I usually actually say that I’ve already made plans elsewhere with some other family. I sometimes really regret this because as an American through and through I ADORE the traditional Thanksgiving Feast. I can not think of a more favorite meal than the turkey, sweet potato casserole thing, regular potatoes, stuffing, cranberry… you name it, I really like eating it.
I really always appreciate the invites. I do. Honestly though, for the most part, they feel a bit strange.
I mean think about it as you invite someone over to spend Thanksgiving day with your family.
When you don’t KNOW the family, and only know one individual, one feels a little like the “Example” you know, the strange loner that you invite to holiday dinner to set an example for your kids. To the guest, all of the traditions that you hold dear are going to be pretty foreign to me. All holiday family traditions are a little corny, and while sitting through certain ones with family is just part of the ritual, for a stranger, it can be very awkward. The entire visit can be spent “getting to know you” and it can just not be that fun. The holidays can be stressful, and it can be difficult to get a full on feast on the table on time and keep your children from mutinying and get the TV off etc… adding a stranger into the mix can just make it crazy. If your kids may possibly have some difficulty with the excitement, you may be faced with some very badly behaved children in front of your friend, who is going to be just as embarrassed as you are. Your kids are always angels right? Trust me, no one enjoys sitting through any kind of family conflict.
Should you not extend the invite? Actually I think you should. Lots of people don’t feel like I feel and I think would love to join your table. And there are loads of exceptions…
Foreign exchange students/workers. I think these folks really should always be included in traditional celebrations. Firstly, they may not have had an opportunity to take part before, an if you were overseas, I imagine you’d want to learn about the local celebrations also. Plus, if they are students, living in a dorm, really everyone is gone and it’s going to feel strange, so having something to do is a good good thing.
Friends who are “like family”. If you have a friend who regularly comes over to your house to watch the game, or make crafts… or your family regularly spends lots of time with them…then they really are part of your family, maybe even more so than your great aunt who you see only once a year. Your kids know them, your spouse knows them. In fact, it might be strange to stretch out on the couch, turn on football and try to squeeze in another slice of pie without them.
Your holiday is disrupted. If your spouse is in the service, or working out of state, everything is going to feel strange anyway. One year my friend invited me over when her husband was gone for Thanksgiving. She and her family decided to make pizza. It was very casual and I did accept. We knew the day and were watching the parade on TV, but all of the traditions were kind of thrown out the window…so having a stranger there didn’t seem so strange.
You want to invite multiple lone people. If you have 4 people invited that are spending Thanksgiving alone, it becomes more like a dinner party with a traditional meal, than the one charity invite. Heck you might even set some folks up on that day, why not. The same friend as the Pizza lady invited me one year and had invited a few of her husband’s single co workers as well, so we all just hung around and it was much more like a party than Thanksgiving dinner.
So, that’s my take on it. If you want to extend an invitation, always do so, because it’s always better to have options than none… but don’t be too terribly surprised if the invite isn’t taken up….It’s still super appreciated!