Where The Hell Did Thanksgiving Go?

Halloween is over. Luckily we had a ton of trick-or-treaters  and there was not one piece of candy left for me to shove into my mouth. The neighborhood kids are angels for helping me to stick to my diet.

Oona was in for a visit this past weekend and the two of us delightfully answered the door and “ohhhh and ahhhhh-ed” at all the wonderful costumes.


I miss making Halloween costumes for my kids. It was so much fun–Oona as Pebbles. Roman as a drowned Titanic passenger and Jake as The Penguin!

Sunday, November 1st, the day after Halloween, Bonaparte and I, along with Chippy the wonderdog, drove Oona to New York’s LaGuardia Airport from our home in the Philly suburbs. It was also the day of the New York Marathon–something neither of us realized until the night before!


Thanks to the Marathon, I was unable to get across the Verrazano Bridge–either way!

 Our only entryway into Queens was to drive to the George Washington Bridge, which was the only bridge opened.  We then drove across the island of Manhattan at Dykman Street and took the Harlem River Drive to the Triboro Bridge.


It was worse for Oona. Once she boarded the plane there was an announcement that the pilot forgot he had a flight and they had to wait for him. American Airlines–thankfully, the pilot wasn’t in a bar drinking!

I’m getting off track here.   Driving Oona to the airport was basically easy peasy. No traffic to speak of. But…we got a look at the traffic leaving the city and it was one big mess.  The Verrazano was closed. The Queensboro Bridge was closed and the George Washington Bridge was the only way back.

Nahhh..It wasn’t. We just redirected ourselves and took the Queens Midtown Tunnel into Manhattan and the Lincoln Tunnel to the Jersey Turnpike. It was the first time we had NEVER hit traffic leaving NYC to go home.

And my point is this—when we arrived back into our development, I noticed Christmas lights on one of the homes down the street. The day after Halloween. Christmas lights were flashing.

Martells house

OK..so this is an exaggeration.  It isn’t the house down the street. It’s Mr. Martell’s house in Hamilton, New Jersey–the BEST decorated house in Central Jersey.  But the house down the street DID have their Christmas lights flashing!

A few houses down were those little welcome candle lights that people put in their windows at Christmas time. The day after Halloween. And…directly across the street from us stood a lighted Christmas tree in our neighbor’s living room. The day afterHalloween.

Christmas tree across the street 2

Yes. It’s the tree of Christmas and it is directly across from me! I could not believe it!

Which brings me to wonder. What the Hell happened to Thanksgiving?

Elf Meme

Yeah–but what about Thanksgiving?

I’ll admit it; Thanksgiving has never been my favorite Holiday. Growing up in the 1960’s, in an age of convenience, my mother had the deli across the street “cater” the turkey with all the trimmings.  The only part of the turkey that I liked was the dark meat and I could only eat it on a sandwich with stuffing and cranberry sauce.  I cannot stand turkey.

I don’t like pumpkin pie.  I despise green bean casserole.  Sausage stuffing gives me heartburn.  I only like bread stuffing and cranberry sauce. And the cranberry sauce has to be the jellied kind.  My four other siblings also liked cranberry sauce so there would be massive fights at the dinner table to see who got the most cranberry sauce.  Then my sister Theresa would start to cry because Thanksgiving was supposed to be about giving thanks and we were acting like animals. Then my mother would get in on the act and give us all that “pursed lip mom is pissed off” look.  My father would just sigh and light up a cigarette. At the dinner table.

Norman Rockwell Thanksgiving

Honest to God, I think Norman Rockwell was delusional. We’ve NEVER had a Thanksgiving that resembled THIS picture. Never!!!!

Thanksgiving became worse for me when I got married. My mother-in-law had a rather “strong” personality. OK?  That meant we had to travel up to Connecticut every Thanksgiving.  While the night before Thanksgiving was usually fun—especially when the entire family was visiting, the next day was more stressful.  Some family members would attend the local high school’s football game. They would bring flasks. Before sipping from the flask, there would be a lot of beer consumed. I’m talkin’ early in the morning.  Are you catching my drift?   Along with my distain of turkey is an even stronger distain of beer. Need I say more?

Sometimes it just sucks to be sober.

Jake as pilgrim

Jake, in Kindergarten at St. Ignatius Loyola in NYC.  He was an Indian–Oops–I mean “Native American” at his class Thanksgiving. It was most likely the most refined Thanksgiving celebration he’s ever taken part in!

That being said, my mother-in-law couldn’t sit still.  Her pressure cooker whistling away, working swiftly, she would have that dinner on the table in two minutes—and would be clearing the table the second the last guest sat down to eat.  It was “extra” special during the years that her oldest son was not in attendance. She would sit at the table and cry—literally cry because Richard wasn’t there.  I cannot make this up.

My solace came in the form of the great desserts she made. My mother-in-law was an amazing baker—and no matter how many times I asked her for recipes—she would never give me any! Her “Texas Chocolate Cake” became my bestie during those Thanksgivings because I would lock myself in the attic with a few slices and a glass of milk and pray that the weekend would end.  I gave thanks because that Texas Chocolate Cake saved my sanity during quite a few Thanksgivings!

Then Oona became a competitive Irish Dancer. And Thanksgiving dinner took on new meaning.

Medusa rollers

No. It isn’t Oona dressed in a Native American headdress. Nor is she Medusa. This is how she sat at the Thanksgiving dinner table for a few years before the curly wigs came into fashion for the Irish Dancers.

The Mid-Atlantic Oireachtas (as in Oh-rock-this)—Irish Dance regionals were held on Thanksgiving weekend every year. That meant cooking turkey with all the trimmings, scarfing down the meal and immediately after dinner, Oona and I would head for three days of competition at the Downtown Marriott in Philly.

Thanksgiving 3

Ten Thanksgiving weekends were spent with Irish Dance friends. And we had a great, great time!

My sons gave thanks for three days of football –turning the house into a man cave of sorts.

I’ve had Thanksgiving disasters in the form of the year we had Turducken. The chicken stuffed into a duck stuffed into a turkey. Each form of bird layered with a strange stuffing.  Turducken tastes like shit.  However, my sons ate it with no problem.


Turducken. It was horrific and worse than regular turkey!

One year, to save time, I decided to let Wegman’s “cook” my turkey. What I never realized was that the “cooked” turkey was only partially cooked. I’m not even going to explain that disaster.

Later on, as the kids got older, we started to enjoy Thanksgiving dinner at my sister Germaine’s home out on Long Island.  Even then, I would have to listen to Bonaparte fret about how bad the traffic back to the Philly burbs would be. But it was always great to get back to Long Island and enjoy the traditional meal with my sister and her family and all the kids!

Last year Bonaparte and I spent Thanksgiving at home. Just the two of us. Oona was visiting my brother and his family in Texas.  Roman had to work the parade so he and Jake spent dinner with my ex-husband.

I roasted pheasant and baked bread and we had a nice bottle of wine.  I was thankful we did not have turkey. But I missed the kids.

This year, Bonaparte and I are meeting the kids in Manhattan. Oona will be flying in from a business trip in Toronto and then coming home with us.  Roman has to work the cue cards for the parade.  Jake made reservations at Claudette, a French restaurant and we will enjoy our Thanksgiving meal in the heart of Greenwich Village.


I’m looking forward to Thanksgiving dinner here at Claudette!

Naturally, Bonaparte had me call the restaurant to see if there were choices besides turkey for the main plat.  *Sigh*  My Frenchman.  I am happy to say that Bonaparte is giving thanks that Claudette’s chef is French and is offering more than turkey.  Oh let’s all give thanks for that one!

In spite of all my complaining though, Thanksgiving still IS a holiday.  And despite the family drama and the yelling and screaming and stress of it all, this holiday shouldn’t be hidden by the Halloween festivities or the prepping for Christmas.

Happy Thanksgiving

Seriously. Let’s not forget this day. It’s sad but this was the only sign of Thanksgiving in Walmart today….and this…

Thanksgiving baking center

What a sad looking display!

Let’s put the stress and the yelling and the screaming and the fighting and the drama with our families on the table and give thanks for all that noise that families bring to the plate!

Turkey mug

You can say that again Tom Turkey! The struggle to keep Thanksgiving IS real!

Let’s give Thanksgiving the respect it deserves—even if we don’t like turkey.


I wonder if they REALLY had jellied cranberry sauce and Jiffy corn bread?

Let’s try to welcome Santa and Frosty and the Christmas decorations after our Thanksgiving dessert has been digested.

Santa and Frosty are waving Thanksgiving goodbye

Hey you two. I’m gonna wait till after Thanksgiving to allow you into my home. OK?

I gotta go now and take inventory of my Christmas decorations!

In the meantime—Adam Sandler has a nice Thanksgiving song for you!

About Catherine

Far from perfect, but enjoying life as a non-perfect and flawed individual at 60 years young. I'm still wondering what I'll be when I grow up! The characters in my life's screenplay include my better half. He is a refined Frenchman who grew up in Paris and summered in St. Tropez. I grew up in Long Island and summered in Long Island. I am not refined. My three grown children are also a big part of my life. For their sake, they happily live where their careers have taken them! But I can still mother them from a distance! I write about the mundane. I write about deeply shallow issues. But whatever I write or muse about--it'll always be a bit on the humorous and positive side! It's all good!
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33 Responses to Where The Hell Did Thanksgiving Go?

  1. I love Thanksgiving, mainly because I’m glad for the day off and also because I love Turkey! 😀
    Great post by the way! 🙂

    • Catherine says:

      I’m glad you enjoyed the post. And I forgot about the fact that Thanksgiving is a day off from work–and many have the day after off as well! I’m also thinking that I’m definitely in the minority because I am not a fan of turkey–lol!! XOXOXO!!!

  2. izabolinha says:

    Last week my youngest came home and told me : “Mom you don’t want to go shopping in Supermarket X …they already have Christmas everywhere” 😉

  3. izabolinha says:

    We used to put our trees up around the 8th of Dec (an holiday – Our Lady of Conception) and take them down on Jan 06 ( Dia de Reis – Kings Day referring to the Three Wise Men) and that would be almost a month with the decorations around which was plenty.
    I do understand the need for businesses to try to sell as much as they can , and that they might think that the longest exposition and availability of goods will make for better sales results , but I think it just results in customers becoming tired of the overexposure and turned off. Besides that, they’re just ruining the Christmas Magic 🙁

    • Catherine says:

      Turtle–we put our tree up that first Sunday in December but when we were younger, my parents also waited until December 8th as well. In fact, we took the tree down on Epiphany (same as Dia de Reis) Sunday. These days I take the tree down on New Year’s Day–kind of a beginning to the new year! And you are right. The timeliness of Christmas Magic is so important–especially for children!! XOXOXO!!

  4. Oh my god! I just laughed so hard! Costco has had the Christmas stuff out for 2 weeks already! I mean, come on! I can’t believe your neighbors, that’s really crazy early for their tree to be up!

    • Catherine says:

      LOL. Meg–I’m sure that in a week or two Costco will have the summer pool and beach items out on display. But—- I always buy my Christmas Roast from our local Costco!! XOXOXOXO!!!

  5. I hate anyone who puts Christmas decorations up before Black Friday . Although thanksgiving is actually my favorite holiday. I love it all, even turkey:)

    • Catherine says:

      I’m beginning to find out that for more and more folks, Thanksgiving is their favorite holiday! I’m starting to feel like a Thanksgiving Scrooge or goblin! Hehehehehe! XOXOXO!

  6. calensariel says:

    Every time I hear the word turducken I bust out laughing. A friend of mine sent me a short story (about zombies no less) to read. He used that word in it, and I swear I thought he made it up. I laughed and laughed at it. Then Nathan told me it was a real word and I was so embarrassed. I still, however, cannot NOT laugh when I hear or read it.

    Thanksgiving actually used to be my favorite holiday of the year until the Walmart (or was it Kmart) employee got trampled to death on black Friday. It spoiled my taste for the holiday I’m afraid. I can’t think of Thanksgiving without remembering that poor man’s family… I think we should outlaw black Friday and restore Thanksgiving to its rightful place!

    • Catherine says:

      Darling if you were at my house the year of the Turducken you would have fallen off your chair from laughter! Actually, I think everyone, at least once, should serve this gastronomic mystery just for the heck of it! Don’t even get me started on Black Friday….XOXOXOXO!!!

      • calensariel says:

        There’s just something so WRONG about it. Like it says in the Old Testament not to boil a kid (baby goat) in it’s mother’s milk. It’s just…WRONG!!!

  7. Haylee says:

    Oh no that’s far too early. We’re not even in the correct month!! No earlier than a week before for me but I do keep them up until 12th night (Jan 6th). Luckily, my other half’s birthday is Dec 13th and he won’t entertain any celebration of Jesus’ birthday until he’s had some attention!

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Haylee! OMG. A December birthday for your better half??? He had better get all the attention because he will get lost in the Christmas shuffle if he doesn’t! XOXOXOX!!

  8. Miss Bougie says:

    You guys have 3 holidays to celebrate in a row; Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas. We’ve only got one during that period and that’s Christmas. There are some smaller celebrations, like Saint Martin (Portugese and German) and Saint Nicholas (Germany, Alsace Lorraine region of France, Austria) who tend to celebrate. I’m sure I have left some other European nations out like the Swiss and eastern countries who also celebrate these two saints.
    I went grocery shopping yesterday at Leclerc and the toys section was up already, but not the Christmas decoration. They are sure to follow this month.
    In France people tend to decorate for Christmas beginning of December, especially when you have children. Others wait till mid December. Towns are in the process of decorating with Christmas lights, but they will only be illuminated around 1st Advent, end of November. We take our tree down on Epiphanie, January 6th, when you generally have la Galette des Rois ( cake). But most people will have la Galette on the weekend, sharing with family or friends. La Galette des Rois is on supermarket shelves starting end of November and at bakeries in December through to mid February. That’s a long time for a celebration on January 6th! Probably our equivalent to your early Christmas decoration. 😉

    • Catherine says:

      Oh…that Galette des Rois–I made my first one last year and Bonaparte loved it. It brought back a lot of memories for him. As far as Christmas goes–take a look at the photo below–it’s a Christmas candy display that we saw at Carrefour on rue Buci when we were in Paris two weeks ago. (time flies!!!) I was shocked!!!! I think it just comes earlier and earlier and earlier each year! XOXOXOXO!

  9. That house is AMAZING! Call me tacky but I’d love one of those on my street (not my own flat though- our electric bills are plenty high enough already!) x

    • Catherine says:

      Oh Ella. Mr. Martell’s house is the best house in New Jersey! I took the kids there every Christmas season when we lived there. His neighbors are the luckiest–in fact, some of his neighbors allow him to use their lawns. Its crazygood!!! XOXOXO!

  10. hipchick66 says:

    I saw Christmas items for sale in stores BEFORE Halloween! When my Gram was alive, I loved Thanksgiving. She was Italian, Pop was Polish, so along with turkey and trimmings, there was ravioli and kielbasa, and a whole lot of family. Once she was gone, that was all gone.

    • Catherine says:

      My mother-in-law was Polish and I can tell you, we FOUGHT over the pierogies she made. Fist fights with my brothers! I would kill for mushroom and sauerkraut. My mother-in law never gave me her recipe either. You had a great ethnic combo there. The best cooking for the holidays! XOXOXO!

  11. The trick with turkey, is wait till the next day when its gone cold, then sneak into the larder and pick at it before it goes for soup, without being caught. Delicious!

  12. spearfruit says:

    Good post, I soooo agree! I was driving back home this past Sunday from a trip and I saw houses with Christmas decorations in the yard and lit. I love to decorate for Christmas, but I always waited till after Thanksgiving to light the display. Rush, rush, rush in the holidays – and let’s move on. 🙂

  13. I love Thanksgiving so I enjoyed this post. I love the food. The turkden or whatever it is called didn’t sound bad to me at all. My least favorite of the typical dinner is the jellied cranberry sauce.
    I can’t wait til the skin on the turkey gets all crispy. Love skin of any kind. Good thing, I only eat it on special occasions.
    Our thanksgivings were the Norman Rockwell family ones. Seriously. We would all get together and enjoy the time we had together. Everyone in and out of the kitchen tasting.
    I miss all of those family times.
    My great grandparents. My grandparents. Now my mom.
    I miss Bobby.
    Miss getting together with family.
    Last year, I was home for Thanksgiving (and mom’s memorial). It was wonderful and SAD.
    My sister and I in the kitchen cooking together. Missing mom. Missing Bobby who was always so much fun .
    I also had a huge Thanksgiving meal at my nieces a couple of days early.
    Family times. Awesome food. Stories. We had it all.
    Here in Our Neck of The Woods…..It is a given ….Danny will work (usually late field) all 4 days.
    Which means I work as well,.
    We all eat our Thanksgiving dinner at the managers house.
    We have all a wonderful time.
    I cook Danny and I a Thanksgiving dinner , usually the week before.

    Don’t get me started on Decorations coming out BEFORE THANKSGIVING.

    I can understand the stores and towns decorations. But Halloween . No. That is just too soon.

    My birthday is December 11.
    I enjoyed it then. My sister’s is the 1st and my aunt’s birthday is on the 12th, the day after mine.
    Sandy lived near us. So the 3 of us celebrated all month long. Usually once in Kansas City at my grandparent’s house.
    We never put the tree up until after my birthday when I was growing up.

    Danny and I put our up in my birthday last year. It was wonderful.

    The tree never comes down until after January 6th,

    As you can tell, I love this post.
    I am craving Turkey with lot’s of skin and all of the fixins.
    Love you

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Darlin’ . LOL. I think you really need to experiment with a Turducken at some point and report back to me. Wow! You REALLY have a lot of Thanks in your giving! But I can’t believe you aren’t in love with the jellied cranberry sauce. Oh I could go for some right now. Now you’ve got me wanting to get the house ready for Christmas pre-maturaly! XOXOXOXO!!!

      • I use to love it but after having to drink a lot of cranberry juice for year because of my kidney problems…..well, I just can’t get excited about it.
        Funny thing is : I always make it or buy it for Thanksgiving.
        As far as the turducken goes, I am more than willing to try it anytime. I couldn’t afford to make it though. I am praying I can afford to get a duck.
        You my friend have been on my mind and in my heart more than usual lately. How are you and your hubby doing? I have kept up with your posts. Gentle hugs

  14. junedesilva says:

    Another interesting and informative and funny post – thanks! In the UK we don’t have Thanksgiving but we do have November 5th, Guy Fawkes/Bonfire night.

    • Catherine says:

      Thanks June. I think I need to research Guy Fawkes more. Perhaps I’ll be rebellious enough to actually celebrate November 5th next year rather than Thanksgiving! XOXOX!

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