After our nine years of living in St. Louis, half a continent away from family on either coast, one of the things we looked forward to when we moved back to Northern California was spending the holidays with family members.
I don’t know about you, but I love having large groups of family and friends at my table for the holidays. A few years ago we had 22 people for Thanksgiving in our small condo—we had to move out all our living room furniture to make room. And even though it was a lot of work to have so many in our home, I enjoyed sitting down that evening to our table (actually three tables) and seeing family members gathered together for the holiday.
A few years ago there was a huge family squabble which now means that many of our west coast relatives will not get together for the holidays. It is not worth recounting the disagreement or the disappointment; it is just something the family has to accept. I have learned that not all disagreements have resolution. When this split happened, my immediate family (husband and two kids) started a new Thanksgiving tradition: instead of eating a meal loaded with carbohydrates that linger on our hips and mid-sections for weeks, we started serving cooked cracked crab.
Online I learned that it is a California tradition to serve crab (scroll down to alternative to turkey) for Thanksgiving as the crab season starts in early November. One of the many benefits for serving crab on Thanksgiving is that it frees up the cook from having to babysit baste a turkey every few hours, so taking a nice long walk on Thanksgiving also become part of our tradition. And since crab is a light meal it leaves plenty of room for dessert—one of our favorite parts of the meal!
This year I thought I would gather family members together for the holiday and introduce them to our new tradition, while of course still honoring those who wanted to keep with the more traditional fare. But it didn’t work out. Most of the extended local family members decided to celebrate Thanksgiving on the east coast—including our kids. So David and I found ourselves alone for the holiday.
I have to admit that at first I felt sorry for us—a feeling that I don’t usually indulge. But after a few days we decided to take the bull by the horns and turn the situation around. So instead of sitting around, looking at each other for the holiday, we are heading over to Santa Cruz for the holiday. My fantasy is fresh cracked crab for Thanksgiving, walking to Natural Bridges State Park to see the migrating monarch butterflies, and of course gorgeous sunsets over the Pacific Ocean.
It wasn’t the holiday I expected, but it is now a holiday I am looking forward to!
What are your holiday plans this year?
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