Y’all, one of my favorite things about family is that when cultural traditions don’t float your boat as they are, you can feel free to MAKE UP YOUR OWN.  For example, my mother is Jewish, and my father is… well, probably nothing, but was raised Methodist, and so we grew up with a menorah and a Christmas tree.  We put our shoes by the fireplace on Christmas eve for St. Nick to put oranges in the toes and chocolate bars in the feet, and we gorged ourselves on latkes as often as we could convince my mother to make them (these we topped with ANYTHING AND EVERYTHING, not feeling constrained to the traditional applesauce and sour cream).

But this is not a post about Christmas, but Thanksgiving.  You’re welcome, I know you’ve been DYING for the past three weeks to hear what I got up to over what I suppose should now just be called “Pre-Christmas” or “What, There’s A Holiday Between Halloween and Christmas?” If you’ve been to a mall in America, you’ll get that last one.

So, as I mentioned, traditional traditions are not exactly my family’s forte, if you will. We like our traditions untraditional, which is why we celebrate Thanksgiving a couple weeks early, eat duck instead of turkey, almost never have pumpkin pie, and call the whole damn thing Faux Thanksgiving.

Mostly this is because… Have y’all ever tried to FLY somewhere over Thanksgiving weekend?  Shit be EXPENSIVE.  I think that weekend is supposedly the most traveled weekend of the year, and since we’re Jewish, we’re always looking to save a buck (OMG, if a Jew can’t make a thrifty Jew joke, WHO CAN?).  The same flight, two weeks earlier, costs at minimum half as much, and so my brother and I pack up our families and head to North Carolina for Faux Thanksgiving on the cheap.  My mom puts out a giant spread, and we eat and drink and laugh ourselves silly.

The first time we did it, my brother Paul and I brought our significant others with us.  The second time we did it, both my sister-in-law and I were pregnant.  And this time, we both brought babies with us.

 

My dad and Olivia

 

My aunt and Caetano

 

The weather was ridiculously gorgeous, the way only fall on the East Coast can be- bright and crisp, with that SMELL, you know the one, cold air and dying leaves and maybe a hint of burnt?  I don’t know the best way to describe it, but an East Coast fall has a smell, the kind of smell that takes you right back to there, except I’ve never smelt it anywhere but the East Coast, so I guess I’m then already there.

We walked to the mall, walked to the coffee shop, stayed up way to late, and left the babies with my parents in order to go out for dinner like grown-ups.

Ridiculous Hat

 

Ridiculous Hoodie

 

We took family photos, and we talked about how much fun we’re going to have when we do it again next year.

 

Alyssa, Caetano, and Paul

 

The Whole Gang

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