“Thanks so much for picking this up,” I say to my husband. I set the takeout containers on the counter and start to dish food onto four plates, rushing so I can get it to the hangry children in the living room. My husband hides two chocolate lava cakes in the refrigerator without the kids seeing him, and we give each other a silent nod. We have big plans for those lava cakes later that include vanilla bean ice cream and sleeping children.
Friday movie night is coming together; now we just need the kids to agree on a movie. I grab some napkins and forks while the kids try to convince us to watch Frozen 2 for the 57th time. Then my husband casually drops some of the sexiest words that hath been spoken in this, the year of our Lord 2020.
“I meant to tell you,” he starts. “The restaurant is doing Thanksgiving meals to go. Turkey, stuffing, potatoes…all the normal dishes plus two pies.”
I try to play it cool and act like I don’t care, like that time my seventh grade crush asked me to slow dance to “All My Life” by KCi and JoJo. So, you know, grinning like an idiot and hoping my pit stains aren’t showing. I might start doing the running man, maybe throw in some raise the roof action. Totally cool.
“Yeeeeeeessssss” I say, handing the kids their plates on the splat mat. They are pouting because we nixed Anna and Elsa to try something new. “We-should-def-in-ite-ly-do-that.” I don’t know why I’m talking like a robot.
We settle onto the couch, and I am so happy about not cooking on Thanksgiving that I almost tell the kids about the lava cakes. Almost.
“Are you sure you wouldn’t mind takeout on Thanksgiving?” I ask later, in between bites of cake and oozing fudge. “I’ll cook if it’s important to you to have a homemade meal. But if you don’t care, then I think takeout is a fabulous idea. Plus, we’ll be helping a local business.” I might be overselling, but I am all-in for Thanksgiving To Go.
I am the primary meal planner and cook in our home, and the thought of spending Thanksgiving Day in the kitchen does not sound like a holiday to me. Cooking dinner for our family each evening is already a craptastic maelstrom on a regular basis. Chasing my four-year-old out of the kitchen for an entire day while taking breaks to nurse a baby and also not incinerating dinner doesn’t sound any better.
“I really don’t mind,” my husband replies. “I think we should do it. It’ll make things a lot easier.”
Breaking holiday traditions isn’t new to us. We spent our first Christmas as a married couple in St. Lucia on our honeymoon. Two years later, friends we had met just six months prior were our only guests on Christmas Eve in California, all of us military families away from our loved ones. New friends from Louisiana hosted us for our first Thanksgiving in Japan. We didn’t even eat turkey that year. Do I regret not having traditional experiences on those days? Not one bit. While I can remember what made those days different than prior celebrations, I also remember what made those days wonderful: the people. The relationships we were building are what make those occasions most memorable, not who cooked the meal, if we broke the wishbone, or if we watched football after filling our bellies to the brim (which is fine because I’d much rather watch “Planes, Trains, and Automobiles”).
“I’ll call tomorrow to order,” I say after loading our chocolate-streaked plates into the dishwasher. I am thankful that my husband and I are on the same page with our vision for Thanksgiving this year. I love the idea of Takeout Thanksgiving not only because of what I won’t be doing that day – cooking – but also what it means I will be doing. I can spend the holiday enjoying my family. We can run around outside, do puzzles, play board games, watch movies, read books, and, of course, indulge in a traditional Thanksgiving feast…just one that we didn’t make.
This post is part of a blog hop with Exhale—an online community of women pursuing creativity alongside motherhood, led by the writing team behind Coffee + Crumbs. Click here to view the next post in this series “Savor.”
And just for fun, here is one of my favorite TV Thanksgiving moments: Debra v. Slippery Turkey