Thanksgiving growing up was always at my house. Well, my Mother's house or whatever, but you get the point. Every year, I would have the confidence and security that the fattest Holiday of them all would be held at the place where I could give the least amount of fucks. I could eat, wear sweatpants, sleep 1/2 the day away, get hammered, and watch football until everyone got the fuck out. Then, round two of food, watch a shitty comedy movie about Christmas, then immediate coma. Lights out. Decorate the next day for Christmas per usual to show the neighbors what real exterior illumination is about.
Then came quasi-adulthood. Coming home from college that is. Absolute shit-show of going out the night before and seeing people from high school that continue to act like the douche bags they were back then and still are today. Slightly more uncomfortable holiday for me, seeing as I had to "entertain" all those who "didn't have a place to go on Thanksgiving" at my childhood home, but, still not too bad. Nursing the hangover and eating a shit load of food in my comfort zone was still tops. Fine, whatever, still get to wear sweatpants. TV was still on and at least I gave people a place to eat or be included or whatever.
Enter my late 20's. Now in my own home, about 20 miles away from where I grew up. 2 children, wife, etc. Not officially wife, but who's really paying attention? After dating for almost 4 years, it's really weird to walk up to someone and introduce your lady as your, "girlfriend." I'm not a 50+ divorced Dad dating some bartender I met the night before. I'm a grown ass man. I have a wife (ish).
Anyway, welcome to complicated. Life is suddenly a fuck load more intense. For the old people that is. We got our own situation over here with our four person family and two dogs. Obviously, we have the ability to host Thanksgiving, but no, the parents must host. They must prove they can Thanksgiving the fuck out of this and replicate Grandma's pumpkin pie recipe or prove they, "still got it" or whatever. It's 100% an excuse for people like me to be told the leafs need raking and the sink drips at night so I might as well fix it while I'm there type thing.
Problem, there are now two sets of parents. Her side, and my side. Oh, and my parents are divorced, so, now there's three sets of people inside of my asshole who demand I come and experience their house, food, etc. Huge save is my Dad couldn't give a shit anymore. Comes over my house in the AM on Thanksgiving, brings over 6 donuts, asks how we're doing, rips a couple heaters in our smoking room/bar/basement situation (yes, we have that and it's ventilated SO RELAX), and leaves in 30 minutes or less. PERFECT.
My Mother's side of the family is different. Very complex. Her brother (my Uncle, cool dude) and my cousins always send a standing invite every year. Problem - cousin and husband live like 35+ miles away. Would love to see them but the travel is brutal. Uncle and Aunt are about 15 miles away or so. Mother also doesn't host any longer because I don't live there and she, "can't do it anymore without help."
Absolutely not. No way. Too much travel. Also EVERYONE in the car sleeps on the way home and I'm going to have to drive in silence, then put both kids in bed by carrying their lifeless bodies up the staircase, and possibly miss a football game at night. Again, absolutely not. Also, not having the ability to wear sweatpants because everyone is holding onto the facade of "we're a rich family and we dress like it routine" is infuriating and I refuse to participate. This now leads to the, "I never see you" whining on the phone from my Mother, which is a baseless and false cry for attention to guilt me into cleaning the gutters or power washing her shed. So, we send her off to her brother's caravan and she has Thanksgiving with them.
Now for the wife's parents. They live in a log cabin in the middle of nowhere. Amazing people who literally don't give a shit about anything (in a good way). EVERYONE is chill. Sweatpants are encouraged, good food is available (her Mother is an amazing cook and so is the wife unit - huge plus), napping is mandatory, football is always on the 65 inch, 4 beer minimum before 11am and wine is encouraged at dinner. 100% best situation ever. This has been our shit for the past three years.
Last year, her parents decided to go away to FL for Thanksgiving, so hosted at our house for the first time. Would not recommend. Would not do again. Way too much work between cleaning (weird cleaning too like washing the curtains and washing the woodwork). I did however enjoy carving the turkey in front of everyone, friends, family (yes - my Mom came), and thinking to myself, "Fuck yes, you watch me be the man and care the fuck out of this thing in my own home biiiiitch."
This year, my brother-in-law and also co-worker decides he's going to get engaged. 100% great for him, love them both, classy move, nice ring, ok you get the point. Then, OUT OF LEFT FIELD I get the word that, "We're all going to his fiancée's parents house like 50 miles away for Thanksgiving. WHAT? I have also just been informed that shoes are not allowed in the house (what the actual fuck?) and to please for the love of God dress nice and please act appropriate. No way to pivot on this whatsoever, since it's the first time everyone is meeting and I'm very "honored" to be included in the immediate family but I have some concerns:
Obligatory post complete. Happy Thanksgiving.