Tuesday, November 22, 2022




As your children grow up and marry, you often find yourself juggling the holiday calendar to accommodate “the other family.” It can be tough. 


Many years ago, after our three daughters were all married, Tom and I began alternating the hosting of our holidays. We could expect the whole family at our house for Thanksgiving one year and Christmas the next. It worked and proved to relieve some of the stress our daughters felt about trying to visit both families in a single day. It also gave us the opportunity to plan a family snow skiing trip over the break when it was our turn to host Christmas. Or, as in 2016, a Christmas Cruise on the Disney Cruise Line.


The Morphing of Thanksgiving


Somewhere along the line, we started exchanging Christmas presents the day after the big turkey fest instead of mailing them or taking them to each house later. The girls called it “ThanksChristmas.”


If you want to know the truth I kind of like ThanksChristmas. My Christmas shopping is done. I get to see all of my kiddos for an extended time. We laugh, play games, visit, sing, eat, then start the whole thing over again. My daughters like to get up early for the Black Friday sales. 


I like having them all together.


The added benefits to keeping this practice are many. The Christmas holidays are more relaxed. We carol, go to concerts and parties, attend school programs, and avoid those last minute runs to the shopping malls.


This, 2022, is one of those years. My Christmas tree is up. My Wisconsin kids will stay the week with me. The extensions are in the table. The turkey will be served. My mom will bring her cranberry salad and Allison will bring her pumpkin rolls.


It isn’t always the same. The year of Tom’s bicycle accident, Thanksgiving was only a few weeks away. It wasn’t our appointed ThanksChristmas time, but my whole family was present. I couldn’t focus. I was still reeling from Tom’s unexpected death. 


I told my family, “I don’t think I can handle the smell of a turkey roasting in the oven all day. If you want a traditional Thanksgiving meal, it needs to be at someone else’s house.”


They voted for home.


They chose a nontraditional menu. David made his famous spicy Buffalo chicken dip.  We had wings, salami wrapped dill pickles, macaroni and cheese, well…you get the idea. Sounds like a crazy menu, doesn’t it? It was. But it was wonderful. 


And we gave thanks. 


Because even with all its traditions and expectations, Thanksgiving is about looking at the good in your life, adjusting to the bad, and celebrating with family and friends.


Wishing all of you a wonderful holiday season and…Happy ThanksChristmas!

Mike couldn't be wth us, so he sent his own 
ThanksChristmas Wishes!





  1. Mike is one of a kind, but he’s the GOOD one of a kind…I love your idea…Wishing you a Peace filled “Thanks Christmas!!” 🎅🏻🎄⛄️

  2. Love your story and it’s so true abt the holidays. So sorry for your loss.


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