My Family: likes their eggnog on Thanksgiving and College Football is the entertainment. My mom thinks she is Martha Stewart and insist the kids eat off fine china even though one of them breaks a piece each year (sometimes two). My dad makes casseroles and fancy dishes that he has seen on the Food Network and my kids pick at it all and eat a large slice of pie. It’s an exclusive event where only the most elite are invited 😉

My In-Laws: believe in paper plates and plastic cups and inviting everyone they have ever met (even the lonely looking grocery store clerk). Every traditional Thanksgiving food you could imagine is covering the stove where it stays and we walk through like a cafeteria line. No ones watching football but they are playing it outside. The cider is hot and always plenty but it is liquor free. The kids have chicken nuggets and mac and cheese made just for them. The house is full of people that we love and then some we don’t care much for.

It’s two different worlds yet without them both Thanksgiving isn’t complete. I love watching College Football with my dad and eating food fit for a king. I love that the house isn’t crammed full and we can enjoy being with the ones we love and that my mother doesn’t do more than sigh when one of my kids breaks her china from the 1950’s. When we sit to eat it looks like a Southern Living Holiday edition photo with the food covering the table and the turkey as the center piece. Let’s not forget how good Dad’s eggnog taste and what good spirits it puts everyone in.

However, I love the Thanksgiving full of strangers, friends, family and slightly annoying people crammed into a house that I know my kids can’t hurt. We crowd around the appetizers covering the kitchen counter and drink hot cider while we talk about holidays past. I don’t have to hold my breath when my kids eat on their paper plates. I watch them fill their stomachs with food they love and don’t have to worry that they filled up on pie. Instead of yelling at the football game on the television we are cheering on the game in the backyard laughing as the old men try to keep up with the young.

As long as we are with the ones we love it doesn’t matter how we eat, what we eat, or what we do. It’s a time for family of all kinds. It’s a time to share our blessings and accept everyone for who they are, not ridicule them for their differences. Sure, Great Uncle Ed may show up with his third wife, drunk off his rocker and pinching the butts of all the females present. Cousin Jean may bring her wild undisciplined kids that cause everyone to cringe when they come near but then without them it wouldn’t be the same. Each year things change, kids get older, grandparents pass away and families begin to break away and start their own traditions. Enjoy every moment and cherish each memory. Happy Thanksgiving everyone.