Dear Readers: This is the 11th episode of the series: HELP, I WANT TO GET OUT OF THE KITCHEN. If you are new to this series, you may want to start with Chapter One–IF THEY’D HAD HAMBURGER HELPER BACK THEN. Thanks for reading.

In writing this column last month, I reflected—not without a bit of envy—about the way Shirley’s large extended family celebrated Thanksgiving.

Back in the 1960’s, I knew I had to establish our own family traditions. But how?

I described my steps and missteps in holiday celebrations in the column below which was published in the print edition of the Loveland Daily Reporter Herald on November 19, 2015.

I don’t usually repeat a column but thought this might be of interest as young families develop their own traditions for holidays.

Thanksgiving tops the holiday list for many folks—no gifts to buy—good food and football. And who can resist the spray cans of Reddi-Whip topping we glob atop favorite pies?

So how do we go about celebrating this holiday? Have your traditions evolved over the years? What are the mishaps you’ve experienced on the way to getting that turkey on the table?

In nuclear families like ours—no grandparents or relatives nearby—we’ve had a kaleidoscope of Thanksgiving adventures—with chips falling where they may.

When Bill and I moved to Loveland with three very young children and no family nearby, I wondered how we’d celebrate Thanksgiving. I convinced myself our kiddos would prefer to have us play board games with them rather than fuss over a turkey dinner. Hot dogs with Twinkies for dessert, anyone?

Actually, using kids as my excuse was just a sneaky way of avoiding being a grownup and fixing a proper Thanksgiving dinner. But there was no way I wanted to get up at dawn to stuff dressing into the rear end of a cold, slippery turkey.

My dilemma was solved that year when a friend of a friend invited us to a potluck Thanksgiving dinner. Sure, it was a second hand invitation, but I jumped at the chance

Soon I became brave enough to host others at our home—keeping in mind that—just like the first Thanksgiving in 1621—potlucks are the way to go.

Over the years, our Thanksgivings have been marked by mishaps as well as merriment—sick children on Thanksgiving Eve—a Jell-O-salad that landed on the floor. These became the “Remember When?” stories of our lives.

Fortunately, Thanksgiving traditions are not written in stone—either in our home or in society at large. Many men now take over the kitchen or the grill—and grandma—and great grandma—may be donned in sweats, running in the Loveland Turkey Trot 5K Run/Walk.

Perhaps the best Thanksgiving for folks who work hard all week—is simply to enjoy a day off—hang out on the sofa—order pizza and relax. The turkeys will thank you. To all my readers—however you spend Thanksgiving—I send the best of wishes on this holiday.

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