Kids are Coming Home from College: How Thanksgiving Has Changed Over the Years

Better get the washer and dryer tuned up, cause Ben’s coming home from college and bringing his girlfriend and friends that have no place else to go. As hectic as Thanksgiving weekend is, I always love having everyone together.

Of course, what I fantasize happening and what REALLY happens are two totally different things.

For example: In my mind, Ben comes home and wants to spend the entire weekend telling me about how he’s doing in school, what his plans are and just catching up.

In reality: He dumps his clothes and takes off to see friends he hadn’t seen since high school.

In my mind: Dinner is everyone sitting around the table, telling what they’re thankful for.

In reality: The guys grab a plate, fill it up so it looks like a mountain and plop down in front of the television to watch the college football games.

Still – I LOVE IT! I love having him home along with all of the friends that I’ve come to know since he was little. It’s great seeing them all grown up (and it’s funny to see grown men and women still act like kids).

I love the fact that Ben actually wants to help with the cooking now. Of course he boasts that he knows his way around a kitchen much better than I do, and unfortunately it’s true. He got his father’s genes and has become a fantastic cook. He’s much more creative with ingredients that I could ever be.

Like most families, we still cook our Butterball turkey the traditional way, roasting it covered in cheesecloth and basting every so often until it’s golden brown. No one wants to mess with tradition, especially when it’s one of the few times that we get to spend the day together as a family. My mother-in-law has passed the torch and stands back, only to comment when I’ve done something either VERY wrong or VERY right.

It’s not just us though. According to the Generation T survey done this past May, moms my age are still the ones ultimately responsible for taking on Thanksgiving (at 55%). We’ve learned how to ask for help though, and expect everyone to pitch in, whether it is by preparing the house, bringing a dish to enjoy, or cleaning up afterward.

I read in the survey that 2 in 10 Baby Boomers, like me will play video games during the holiday, but that doesn’t happen in our house. It’s definitely FOOTBALL all the way. Whether it’s by going to the yearly rivalry of the high school that both my son and husband attended, to tossing one around in the yard after dinner, the day is consumed with food and football.

The hardest part comes when everyone has to leave. Thanksgiving break is too short and Ben had to be back at school just a few days later. Thankfully he always had plenty of leftovers to take with him.

This year he won’t be joining us. Instead he’ll be celebrating with his girlfriend’s family 1500 miles away. You can bet that we’ll be on speakerphone watching the game and comparing our meals though. Of course, he’ll come down a few weeks later and we’ll get the chance to have a Thanksgiving dinner all over again. Hey, we don’t mess with tradition, and SOMEONE has to do all of that laundry.



  1. Posted November 22, 2010 at 2:40 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I love the reality aspect, it’s so true! We just bought our butterball turkey at target this week because they had deal where if you Bought a Butterball Turkey and a roaster or serving dish you would get a $15 Target gift card. Soooo Turkey for Lunch,Serving dish for Grandmas Christmas present and a $15 Target gift card to keep. SCORE!!!!

  2. Posted November 22, 2010 at 4:16 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Melissa – you truly are the Consumer QUEEN. I love the fact that you got your turkey, a gift for Grandma and you’ve got $15 for another gift. Thanks for sharing your BIG BARGAIN.

  3. Posted November 22, 2010 at 4:34 pm | Permalink | Reply

    My brother will definitely be gaming at our family Thanksgiving. I think it’s a generational thing. He’s also a pilot and I think they have lot’s of downtime and game like mad men.

    Not me, I’ll be working remotely!

    • Posted November 22, 2010 at 5:03 pm | Permalink | Reply

      It’s true, gaming is definitely generational John. It’s still a nice way for the whole family to be together (although I’m not much of a gamer).

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