When you get married you have these ideas about your family merging, large family gatherings and Hallmark quality photo ops and then reality happens.

My family and our culture didn’t really celebrate Thanksgiving (don’t look at me like that) but my husband comes from such a large family that one year my mother-in-law charged us all an admission fee. Seriously. But I understood. Year after year preparing this huge feast that amounts to more leftovers than the average fridge can store is a bit of an undertaking.

One year my husband and I volunteered to give his mom a break and make dinner from appetizer to desert. Little did we know that over the course of the year our mom’s cancer would return and our family Thanksgiving plans would become her repass. Emotions aside the undertaking was made more difficult when the headcount tripled.

I’d never made a turkey before (see my prior comment lol) so I enlisted help for the foulest part of it and we made it through. But at the end of the night when everyone was enjoying the meal and I lay partially comatose on the staircase landing I found myself thinking…” I can’t do this again”. I mean…is the turkey the key? Has Thanksgiving become more about the turkey and the trimmings or is it about the family/friends and feelings? If it’s the latter, can’t we try something different?

So, I polled a few lovely ladies, who like myself, have opted to break the mold in lieu of a less traditional holiday meals. If you want to step outside the kitchen and join us and your family on the couch, try out some of these alternatives:


Breakfast Thanksgiving:

Have friends and family that are already coming to visit bring a casserole, frittata, or other breakfast dish. Add in a bevy of quick breakfast proteins and start the day off as a family. You can burn off the carbs and calories playing a family game of touch football in the yard rather than checking the bird.

Seafood Thanksgiving

This is my family’s tradition, and I may be biased, but it’s awesome. Shell out a bit for some crustaceans and celebrate with a clam bake or seafood boil. Throw down some brown paper and keep it simple. Gift your friends and family fun bibs and the resulting photos will have you “cracking” up for years to come.

Tailgate Taco Bar

Take Thanksgiving outside. Put a projector up to view the game in the backyard or head out to the garage. Slow cook some chicken, brisket or pork and go crazy with the fixings! Put out a few chairs and have a blast.

TakeOut or TakeAway

Let’s face it. These last 18+months may have many people yearning for the holiday festivities, but perhaps it’s just a bit overwhelming to jump into all the hullabaloos. You can have your family and your takeout too! The beauty of cultural differences also means there are restaurants open on thanksgiving. If your grandpa, brother, and aunt can’t agree on what to eat, use the power of DoorDash, GrubHub and UberEats to get them their favorites and make a spread of it all. You can still have your holiday table set with takeout. Takeout not your style? If you want a sit down but don’t want to cook plan ahead and contact your favorite restaurant. They can arrange a catered takeaway meal you can pickup. Hey, it’s still homemade and you won’t have the mess to clean up.

So why not give yourself and your kitchen a reprieve this Thanksgiving. The turkeys will thank you.

xoxo, Marissa