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    “It’s fun because it crosses all generations,” she says. “We have the 80-year-olds, those of us in our 40s, and the kids playing.”
Anita’s sons, Evan, 15, and Collin, 12, are the youngest players at the table. She says the game offers a natural segue into conversations between the older family members and her children.
“My kids get to know them, their personalities and stories from way back when.”
Stacey Moorehead, mom of six girls, says she and a group of families started the tradition of “Friendsgiving” five years ago on the day before Thanksgiving. The event is a fun way for the families to kick off the entire holiday season.
The group gathers together with fall soups and foods, and the kids take part in a candy cane hunt.
“Our many, many children all have a great time playing and running in our friends’ large backyard until the real show begins,” Stacey says.
The much anticipated “real show” is a fireworks event at a local lake.
“We all load up, bundle up, pack hot chocolate and candy canes, and spend the evening watching fireworks,” Stacey says.
After that, the caravan drives through a holiday lights display set to festive music at a nearby campground.
“What better way to start the holiday than with friends who truly are family!” she says.
Families change and grow. Often what once worked well, no longer makes sense for any number of reasons. Maybe you’re sick of making candied yams every year that no one eats. Or you daydream of skipping the cooking
and cleaning for a relaxing family vacation on the beach instead.
“It seems that a lot of people
live under unrealistic expectations, especially when it comes to holidays,” Caroline says. “The focus needs to be on family celebrating what they are thankful for, not to be stressed out that the green beans aren’t up to snuff. Make food that makes you happy, make your own traditions. At the end of the day, you will remember the laughs and time spent together.”
So go ahead and resist! Rather than running yourself into the ground chasing society’s prescribed picture- perfect holiday, create a meaningful Thanksgiving tailored just for your special crowd. You will be grateful you did.
       FUN FACTS
• The Pilgrims and the Wampanoag tribe celebrated the first Thanksgiving for three days in 1621
• Potatoes and sweet potatoes weren’t on the menu
• Pumpkin pie, made with pureed pumpkin, hadn’t been invented
• Although the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag ate cranberries, cranberry sauce wasn’t introduced until 50 years later
• Historians say the group dined on waterfowl and venison, not turkey
Source: Plimouth Plantation,

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