Honest Question: For Those Who Spend Holidays with Family What do you DO all day?

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Posted 11/23/2012 by writermom1 in NSBR Board
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Thrift Whisperer

PeaNut 114,407
November 2003
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Posted: 11/23/2012 7:22:44 PM
We hear/read so much about how going shopping on Thanksgiving is cutting into the bond of "family time." I can respect that.

On the other hand I am going to respectfully ask what other people DO all day?

I love my family dearly and think we are close. That said we eat at 1:30 p.m. Allowing time for clean-up, conversation, and general merriment I could easily bond the heck out of those people and still be done by 8pm.

Yesterday we had ourselves and my mother and grandmother and frankly it was movies and napping from 3pm on. Wouldn't trade them for the world but it *was* kind of a yawn - literally.

Growing up my extended family was big into board games. My Grandmother's Scrabble prowess is legendary. We did that for hours after holiday meals.


PeaNut 370,270
April 2008
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Posted: 11/23/2012 7:26:39 PM
We talk. Thanksgiving is really the only holiday we might have family over so there's lots of sitting and talking. We go outside and play games with the kids or play board games with each other.

Yesterday the family got there at 12:30 and left at 9 only because they had to. We were all having a great time and wish they could have stayed later. But after everyone is gone and everything is cleaned up I'm exhausted and head right to bed.

Thrift Whisperer

PeaNut 114,407
November 2003
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Posted: 11/23/2012 7:30:06 PM
tinaev that sounds like our big family get together in the summer. We all see each other frequently but the summer gathering is when we sit around and rehash the old stories. That's fun.

Word Nerd

PeaNut 92,142
June 2003
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Posted: 11/23/2012 7:35:30 PM
We travel on the holidays. So we eat, watch football, play games, watch movies, visit and drink copious amounts of alcohol. Because my parents live in a rather small town, my family has never done Black Friday. Ever.

Word Nerd

PeaNut 92,142
June 2003
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Posted: 11/23/2012 7:35:34 PM
We travel on the holidays. So we eat, watch football, play games, watch movies, visit and drink copious amounts of alcohol. Because my parents live in a rather small town, my family has never done Black Friday. Ever.


PeaNut 285,775
November 2006
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Posted: 11/23/2012 7:38:28 PM
We start much later so our day does not start till 2PM. We talk and the kids run around like nuts. We play cards sometimes. We have played trivial pursuit in teams. Look at pictures or videos that people have brought. We pick names for the little cousins gift exchange for Christmas get together. (the adults do not exchange anymore) Of course the TV is going for football.


PeaNut 183,504
January 2005
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Posted: 11/23/2012 7:43:25 PM
I've had some family members who are socially awkward and it's uncomfortable for everyone. I try to set up a jigsaw puzzle or some play-alone-brain-teaser-games in an adjacent room for those who aren't great at socializing all night. I also put out photo albums and sometimes play home videos of past get togethers.

The rest of us play poker all night!!! Lol

Thrift Ninja

PeaNut 226,011
October 2005
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Posted: 11/23/2012 7:45:39 PM
When I was a kid we always just visited. My family all had strict "no tv" rules too, so there wasn't football or anything like that. Just visiting.

When we've hosted at our house, we usually get a big family Wii tournament going. Our siblings bring their controllers and everybody plays!

Good times.

I will say though, about 4 hours is plenty. People typically show up about 3 and leave by 7 or 8 pm.


PeaNut 7,143
October 2000
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Posted: 11/23/2012 7:47:33 PM
We talk, play games, drink wine, look at Black Friday ads. We would do it all night long if we didn't have kids to get home or into bed! We are never, ever bored, and I treasure the holidays for that reason.

Ancient Ancestor of Pea

PeaNut 26,836
January 2002
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Posted: 11/23/2012 7:50:13 PM
Movies, board games, a little family Wii time, and some general laziness.

With how incredibly hectic the upcoming month will be, we enjoy a few yawn-ish days beforehand.

That being said, my mother & I did hit local stores from about 9:30 until noon today. So we did do some shopping....just not the more popular kind.

Ancient Ancestor of Pea

PeaNut 289,166
December 2006
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Posted: 11/23/2012 7:52:48 PM
Good question. We were told yesterday we could show up as early as 11 and dinner would be at 5. We got there probably around 3:30 or so and it was still plenty of time and there were 22 people there.

After dinner, we watched football and just generally chatted but I was ready to go by 9. Oh we also watched Snoopy and the gang in their Thanksgiving special.

When I used to host, people pretty much took off right after eating.

I don't mind some post-dinner chat time, but by later in the evening, I'm ready for it to be done.

Happy now?

PeaNut 156,993
July 2004
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Posted: 11/23/2012 8:04:45 PM
We ate at 3. We were done eating by 4:30. We watched football; we cleaned; we talked; we showed some of the older folks the Jimmy Kimmel "I ate all my kid's Halloween candy" videos because they'd never seen them; we played Scrabble - we did lots of stuff and had a great time.

Honestly, I'm not judging those who choose to go shopping, but I can't imagine leaving my family to do that. Just as I'm sure there are people who are thinking: "I'd rather do ANYTHING than play Scrabble with my family."

PEAceful Pea

PeaNut 14,521
April 2001
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Posted: 11/23/2012 8:12:57 PM
We eat around 6:00, but get together around 3:00. Before dinner we have appetizers, drinks and visit. After dinner we assemble gingerbread houses, play board games, visit and might watch a movie or the younger kids would.


Thrift Whisperer

PeaNut 114,407
November 2003
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Posted: 11/23/2012 8:18:01 PM
I love hearing what others do. It sounds fun.

I was shocked to hear my 13 yo say she had never played Scrabble the old-fashioned way. I need to get her and Gram together for a game. I was further shocked to realize we don't even OWN a Scrabble board! I'm telling ya', in my childhood, my Gram WORE THEM OUT. It was a rite of passage to be old enough to play with the adults.


PeaNut 167,693
September 2004
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Posted: 11/23/2012 8:18:16 PM
House opens at 10. Dinner's at noon. We read the papers and have dessert while the Lions game is on. Some discussion of what will happen for Christmas. Pretty much everything's done by 3 or 4, though. There's some lingering, of course, for folks who are local, but anyone who needed to work at 5 would make it.


PeaNut 432,055
July 2009
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Posted: 11/23/2012 8:19:25 PM
When I was a kid (1970's), we would ride horses until dinner (early afternoon) then ride again until dark. All the food was left out from dinner, then we would have supper and eat leftovers.

Yesterday, I told everyone to come after 4pm and we would eat around 5-ish. We sat around the table for a while then cleared the table, got out the desserts, sat around a while longer, divided the leftovers. Everyone was gone by 9.

ScraPEA Suzy the Purr-ple Pea

PeaNut 67,643
February 2003
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Posted: 11/23/2012 8:20:16 PM
We have "come as early as you want, but we're eating at ___" get togethers. No one ever stays more than a couple of hours after we eat. But we get together often, so we bond often. On a typical Thanksgiving, we can easily eat and bond with family on both sides, and still be done in time for shopping (if we want to go out on Thursday night).

I don't like the sales starting on Thursday, just because I am usually exhausted by the time the day is over, and want a nap before shopping!

It was a moot point this year, since I worked from 8am til 8pm (not retail).


Wannabe FNPea!

PeaNut 82,318
April 2003
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Posted: 11/23/2012 8:20:46 PM
We spend time with famile but that time doesn't start until about 4pm (honestly I don't get why people get together at like 1). We get together at 4pm -- socialize, eat and drink and go home at around 9 or 10. I think a lot of people watch tv. I think if a person wants to shop, shop.

Shameless Husker Fan

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Posted: 11/23/2012 8:26:57 PM
We ate about 2:00. Eating took place for about an hour. Then clean up began. Then dessert time. Lots of chatting, watching some football. We played Apples to Apples. Kids played outside because it was gorgeous. We looked through a box of memorabilia and then people left. It does get long.


Happy now?

PeaNut 156,993
July 2004
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Posted: 11/23/2012 8:36:12 PM

honestly I don't get why people get together at like 1).

I'm sure there's lots of different reasons, but we have someone in our group who has to work on Thanksgiving night; also, in the past, we had people like my mil who didn't want to drive after dark.


PeaNut 337,804
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Posted: 11/23/2012 8:40:16 PM
We are pretty boring actually. It's the 4 of us, my parents, my aunt and cousin. Very small family, and everyone's local. They came over about 1:30 we ate about 2:00 then sat around the table talking, some had dessert then we moved into the living room and talked some more. We drew names for Christmas (first time ever) and everyone left about 6:00.

The 4 of us then went to a friend's house and their whole family was there (they've adopted us ) and we watched Christmas Vacation with them then came home and went to bed.

We'll pretty much repeat that at Christmas except there will be presents to open. We'll hang out here and then go over to the friend's house for a late dessert and hang out with them.
Like I said we're pretty boring.

It was on my fifth birthday that Papa put his hand on my shoulder and said, 'Remember, my son, if you ever need a helping hand, you'll find one at the end of your arm.'
- Sam Levenson


PeaNut 269,170
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Posted: 11/23/2012 8:47:36 PM
we had about 20 people over and everyone came around 1pm but we didn't eat till close to 3pm because we still had to cook some food. afterwards, we played outside games, had dessert and then talked in the living room. we served some coffee and then we turned on the tv for football. most everyone was gone around 8pm. most of my family members like to stay and talk so its never a quick thing and their kids like to play altogether as well.

It only took 11 years

PeaNut 32,283
March 2002
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Posted: 11/23/2012 8:55:23 PM
We talk, play boardgames,talk more (we can talk for hours!). Usually there is some type of reminiscing going on.

And DH usually ends up fixing something on someone's computer.


Dancing to the end of love.

PeaNut 8,446
December 2000
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Posted: 11/23/2012 9:05:50 PM
We are spending three days with my husband's family. We all live all over and can only get together twice a year. So we all talk and chat a lot, catching up on stuff. We play games with the kids. We opened Christmas presents yesterday and played with those. I baked cookies today with my nieces. This morning my husband and I did some shopping and my sisters in law took a few of the kids out, too. We played basketball... we watched Elf...we messed around with our various gadgets...some of us took naps. Right now we're watching a DVD of my nieces' school play they were in last week. We are all heading home tomorrow. It's been great.



PeaNut 539,539
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Posted: 11/23/2012 9:09:09 PM
We hang out? The family we get together with is family we rarely see so we have lots to catch up on. We talk, we play games and we are just together. We take that day to slow down and just be together. I'd be pretty ticked off if I took the time to drive to a family members house and half of them left to go shopping or go to the movies. That is not what the holidays are about with us.

But we also don't have drama and we can all hang out together without wanting to kill each other. I know that isn't true for every family. Yesterday we played games, the kids drew everyone pictures, my husband and I shared wedding photos people haven't seen and we just enjoyed each others company.

My great aunt even turned off the wireless so we were OMG forced to put our electronics away. The horror!


PeaNut 65,877
January 2003
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Posted: 11/23/2012 9:14:45 PM
We talked for a while but people left around 5 - the great grandmother was getting tired as was my MIL I think. Other family was taking food to great grandpa in the nursing home - no he won't come to dinner. We don't spend all day together as we all live in the same area. I wish everyone would stick around for a bit but this is normal same thing on Christmas get together in the morning and most family are off to the next destination by 11 or noon.

I know growing up my cousins would come to visit and they would stay a couple of nights so no Black Friday shopping that I remember.

Honestly if people weren't going out to shop and spend money the stores wouldn't be open but they need to do what they can to make money in this economy. I know I used to love to work on holidays when I was young as it meant time and a half. If you work retail you know that you are going to be working on holidays it just goes with the territory - yes they open earlier now but well it is just part of the job and you know that when you apply for the job. Having worked in retail and surviving seven holiday seasons at Target including Black Friday I have no desire to go out this weekend and shop. My goal is to stay out of the stores as much as possible between now and New Year Now on-line shopping I did a lot of that the past couple of days.



PeaNut 141,445
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Posted: 11/23/2012 9:20:33 PM
Pretty much what you said you did. It gets boring in spots, but even the boring times make good memories. We almost always go to the movies, play Wii games, tell jokes and funny stories, catch up, graze on leftovers, nap, etc.

This year we stayed in town and had friends over. They got here at 12:30 left at 7:00 and I wasn't ready for them to leave! Love, live, love the easiness if Thanksgiving.

Je suis desole

PeaNut 38,879
May 2002
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Posted: 11/23/2012 10:28:45 PM
We are busy. We yak and tell stories endlessly. We play canasta. We do charades that can scare the bejeebers out of the +1's who have never experienced our family dynamics before. We go out and hike. Or, if we are gathering in the East, we might have a snowball fight or build a fort, but we do something outside. Generally there is at least one big argument. We play scrabble, parcheesi, Mille Bornes, and Uno. And then we sit around and yak some more. We take lots of pictures!

There is never enough time and we always look forward to the times we can hang out with whomever is able to come that year. With a family as extended and as geographically diverse as ours, we are rarely all together on any one occasion.



PeaNut 491,305
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Posted: 11/23/2012 11:42:26 PM
Yeah....I have to LOL at all of you posting "napping" as part of your family bonding time list. So sleeping counts as family bonding? I think that's actually kind of rude. If someone's that tired, go home. Wow.

My <A HREF="http://www.flickr.com/photos/39908901@N06/">Flickr</A>


PeaNut 3,015
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Posted: 11/23/2012 11:45:06 PM
We watch football. I hate football, it's hard to stay awake but I manage. I would love to play a game or do something fun, but everyone just wants to watch football.


PeaNut 335,105
August 2007
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Posted: 11/23/2012 11:50:55 PM

We hear/read so much about how going shopping on Thanksgiving is cutting into the bond of "family time." I can respect that.

On the other hand I am going to respectfully ask what other people DO all day?

I think that has to do with the person being forced to work that day, often longer hours then the shoppers. People who decide to shop on Thanksgiving day do so voluntarily.


PeaNut 230,608
November 2005
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Posted: 11/24/2012 12:34:16 AM
We played cards. Had an ongoing candy bar game all day. Everyone got a number then you got a clue to a candy (Another word for giggle--Snickers, etc). Everyone likes candy. We also did a 'What are you thankful for?' game the winner of that got a $10 giftcard. That was fun! We had some serious, some funny!!


PeaNut 219,867
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Posted: 11/24/2012 12:45:10 PM
First let me say, this was the first year in 20 years we did not travel. It was just the 4 of us. It was Heaven! We stayed in the kitchen, ate, watched movies, started a fire, and went out at 9 to go to Target;just to get out of the house. Yesterday, we slept until we woke up, got our Christmas Tree--together---discovered a new Turkey paninni recipe and just enjoyed each other.

Why is this significant? For 20 years, we have either gone between both sets of parents or have spent it with just DHs parents. I can tell you, regardless, it was stressful. Then we repeated for Christmas. STRESSFUL. So far this year, ahhhhhhhhhhh!


Mrs Smarty Pants
PEAing Like R. Kelly

PeaNut 180,865
December 2004
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Posted: 11/24/2012 12:59:12 PM
We get together and eat .. Then? We spend hours talking about past get togethers, what's gone on since the last time we saw each other, laughing & making fun of each other lol.

Some will go watch tv, others will play dominoes ... All while cracking jokes

I love our families.

Pea Who Should Be Cleaning!

PeaNut 145,006
May 2004
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Posted: 11/24/2012 1:01:52 PM
With the in-laws, we get together about noon, eat about 2, and leave about 5 (whether they come to our house or go to theirs). FIL dozes on the couch, MIL cooks (at her house) or does something with ds that gets ds into trouble, DH messes with his tablet, I either cook (if at home) or read a magazine.

After dinner, we sit and do what we were doing before eating, then we (or they) head home.

ETA: Forgot my family!

We get up, load the car and head to whomever's house. We all have different responsibilities to get food on the table, and usually there's a huge variety. We all pitch in to clean up, the tv is always on and the kids are always running around and playing. We sit for hours and chat about everything. It's a guarantee that someone will bring up something embarrassing from someone's past. No one is safe. Sometimes, we'll head home after eating, usually, we stay for hours and just hang out. Then you have second meal because there is always so much food.

If at our house, people leave whenever. At mom's, we leave once it's dark (she worries about us driving). At my aunt's, we've actually left so late that we spend the night in our camper (permanent hookup on their farm) instead of driving home.

Ancient Ancestor of Pea

PeaNut 9,019
January 2001
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Posted: 11/24/2012 1:33:58 PM
not a single employee that I talked to on Thursday night or Friday had to more than 8hr shifts. They were ALL very cheerful and said they volunteered to work! Well, there was one lady at MC Sports that my husband had a problem with since I sent him back to do a price adjustment and he wasn't sure how I paid and she got short with him!


The Banana Under the Couch Pea

PeaNut 295,941
February 2007
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Posted: 11/24/2012 1:47:37 PM
Our Thanksgiving flew by this year. We ran the Turkey Trot with MIL, FIL and SIL in the morning. Got home around noon, cleaned up, and got some pumpkin muffins frosted just in time to head back up to the ILs for a 4:30pm dinner. We ate, chatted with family, and headed home around 8:00 since I had to work early the next morning. When we left, a few folks were breaking out a board game to play.

I hate when Thanksgiving dinner is an early/all day event of stuffing oneself and laying around watching football. I don't care for football.


PeaNut 341,236
October 2007
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Posted: 11/24/2012 1:48:32 PM
We have Wii games for the kids... we just sat around and talked we see eachother a lot though.

Even with the snark, trolls and spelling police you are a great group of ladies!


PeaNut 46,619
August 2002
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Posted: 11/24/2012 2:00:34 PM
We go to the desert to see my family for Thanksgiving.

DH and I run the Turkey Trot each year early in the morning, then say "next year we will force the kids to run, or at least come and cheer for us" (this has been going on for years, never once have the kids gotten out of bed.)

We bring home Starbucks for everyone and then sit around and watch whatever TV marathon is on (this year something on TLC.) This year me, DH and my father took a nice walk (about a mile) to the movie theater to see a matinee of Skyfall and then home while the kids hung with grandma.

Fight with my mother.

Read, nap, relax. Text friends and family members to wish them Happy Thanksgiving. Exchange sympathetic texts with my SIL who is having dinner with the in-laws.

Everyone changes for dinner and we go out to our favorite restaurant. Asleep by 8:30 PM.

Top Tier Pea

PeaNut 31,157
February 2002
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Posted: 11/24/2012 2:12:43 PM
We play boardgames, watch a silly movie (this year - Spaceballs), chat, and generally hang out.

It's one of those things when different groups of people talk in different rooms and they coalesce and then break up and then reconfigure in different groups. We are not all in one room staring at each other.

"When someone asks you 'think about what Jesus would do', remember that a valid option is to freak out and turn over tables" -- Unknown

“I am a Roman Catholic - the one true faith, (the Microsoft of Christianity) and I know Roman Catholicism is the one true faith because Roman Catholicism tells me it’s the one true faith... And if you remember from earlier in this sentence Roman Catholicism is the one true faith – so how could it be wrong?” ~ Stephen Colbert ‘The Word’ 11-28-06

Vocatus atque non vocatus, Deus aderit


PeaNut 50,943
October 2002
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Posted: 11/24/2012 2:24:42 PM
We had family here from 10-7. (I think that is a little long). We eat all day long. And football is on tv, games are played by kids and any adult who wants to, and some visiting. I said that next year we should plan on the big meal at noon, then we can do leftovers/sandwiches/pie later.

Dana in OR not MN
"Dance like nobody's watching"

Thrift Ninja

PeaNut 226,011
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Posted: 11/24/2012 2:28:49 PM

My great aunt even turned off the wireless so we were OMG forced to put our electronics away. The horror!

I just felt my whole family do a collective cringe. Haha!

Gem Girl

PeaNut 460,363
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Posted: 11/24/2012 2:47:06 PM
We talk, eat, drink, deal with the parents' wildly energetic & neurotic large dog, then repeat. Lasted about 4 hours here this year, but tends to run more like 8 when at my parents' house, as DM invites us 5 hours before she serves dinner.
By then, people have done more of items 1-3 than they probably should have.

I've been a dilettante, but I'm thinking of dabbling in something else.

* Happy Camper *

PeaNut 223,117
September 2005
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Posted: 11/24/2012 3:06:29 PM
I just get bummed the stores open so early as we do have stuff still going then. We had folks from 11:30 am toll 10:45 pm. Visiting, games, visiting, fire pit, food, beverage, visiting, people swinging through, more food and beverages.... More visiting. The fire put went from 1:30 till about 10:30. A full day! TV was not on once! It was a fun day!!

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chatty chatty

PeaNut 120,522
December 2003
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Posted: 11/24/2012 3:13:21 PM
On Thanksgiving we talked, played Risk, Played some video games, watched football.


it rhymes with banana

mom to a 21 yo dd, 14 yo ds, and 11 yo ds and a scrapper for 13 years

Ms. GreenGenes

PeaNut 140,500
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Posted: 11/24/2012 3:35:10 PM
It's rare that my entire family, extendeds included, are all together, so it's a combination of long hellos, catching up, eating (and eating and eating), and remembering the old days and maybe watching football/b-ball/whatever strikes our fancy together.

The littles (there are 12 of them, ages 11-1) are stuck like glue all day long. It's one of their favorite days of the year.

~ Tracey
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Pink Mochas
Not here to discuss politics or religion!

PeaNut 221,281
August 2005
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Posted: 11/24/2012 5:12:17 PM
Now that my girls are grown and moved out, I cherish every moment that I get to spend with them. Even tho this year it included about 8 hours of Mario Brothers video games....and the obnoxious music!

But, I loved hearing them laugh and act silly just like when they were little.


PeaNut 167,693
September 2004
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Posted: 11/24/2012 5:39:53 PM

(honestly I don't get why people get together at like 1)

Because some of us have to travel between 90 minutes and 2 hours to get home, and hate driving the interstate at night, especially if it snows.

And because some of us don't get black friday off as a holiday, so no one wants to still be out at 10pm and still have to get home.

Ancient Ancestor of Pea

PeaNut 87,597
May 2003
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Posted: 11/24/2012 5:47:49 PM
I don't see shopping being a problem at all! We travel for Thanksgiving to husband's grandmothers. We drive 5 hrs. and get there in time to eat, 1:00pm. then we are there all day, but some leave at 5:00. I am so tired by 6:00, from the drive but we stay until 9:00. All we do is talk, watch tv. Then the next day just our family (me husband and 3 kids) go shopping for 3 hrs. We have so much fun, because usually husband doesn't shop with us at home. I have great memories of our time shopping together. WE aren't really into board games, so I don't see the difference between shopping together and talking/playing games/watching football. As long as everyone is having fun, that's what's important.

Ancient Ancestor of Pea

PeaNut 87,597
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Posted: 11/24/2012 5:59:58 PM
Marguex, I totally agree! We love our family, and it is so nice to see everyone. We are so happy to have them in our lives. At the same time, it's nice to have the occassional time to celebrate by ourselves, no cleaning, packing, driving, then doing it all over (we have 3 five hour trips between Thanksgiving and Christmas). We were home for Thanksgiving last year because my daughter broke her wrist at an 11:00pm indoor soccer game the night before Thanksgibving. So we stayed home. We cooked dinner together, and that was fun. My in laws even came out to us for Christmas one year, and mil loves to cook, so I let her cook here.

But we do love to see our families, it was just fun to stay home on occassion. It's the packing and cleaning and traveling that stress me out, not the people.

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