Our Thanksgiving tradition every year is to share the stories of all the crazy things that happened to us on Thanksgivings past. It makes us laugh and realize how much we have to be thankful for, even if it is for the little things. I’ve compiled some of our most memorable to share with you today.

When I was a kid we never had the same Thanksgiving twice. The menu would change a little or sometimes we’d be in a new home. The faces gathered around our table were different every year. When my parents divorced my mom would open our home to her friends who did not have family to feast with. They were like aunts and uncles to us.

We were very poor but somehow at Thanksgiving we had abundance. Except the one year my mom had nothing and our uncle took us out for pizza the day after. I remember feeling grateful for the generosity and that we got to eat in a restaurant which was rare.

When we were older my family of six crammed into our small car to travel to another state to stay with family for Thanksgiving. They lived on the side of a mountain and it felt like an adventure just driving toward their house. Hunters we’re in their front yards firing off riffles for target practice. We may have gathered to eat turkey, but it was bear season on the mountain. An entirely different world compared to my “city” living. That wasn’t even the least perfect part of our holiday. At some point during the feast prep the water supply stopped running. My memory of why escapes me, but I’ll never forget my uncle having to walk to the creek to fill buckets of water to leave in the bathroom so we could flush the toilet. It was funny twenty six years ago and it is funny now.

When I hosted my first adult Thanksgiving and cooked for my in-laws the very first time nothing worked right. The timing was completely off and it took nearly 7 hours to cook our turkey. By the time we sat down to eat all the side dishes were cold. I was stressed because my attempts to impress my extended family failed miserably. It turned out the house we just moved into had an oven that cooked 200 degrees less than its setting. Thankfully, we had plenty of wine to ride out the wait time. My husband and I still laugh about that day.

Years later we bought our first home and we closed the week before Thanksgiving. We were running between our apartment and new house on Thanksgiving day so there was no way I was going to cook. My husband thought we could easily stop into any dinner or restaurant to get a turkey dinner. Turns out every business in our new hometown closed down. We had to settle for Swanson’s turkey TV dinner we picked up at a gas station. I’ll never forget the look on my husband’s face when I presented him with that tray of a tiny serving of turkey with no second helping in sight.

Then there was the year I went into labor the night before Thanksgiving. I was so excited to finally meet my two little turkeys, but it turned out to be false labor. After a sleepless night in the hospital we returned home and hubby had to make dinner on his own. That was the year I learned to let go of the perfect Thanksgiving. Nothing is more perfect than being served a meal I didn’t have to cook and the ability to laugh at the crazy things life brings.

I remember all the years my mom stressed to get a good meal on the table and I remember all the crazy things that happened to change our perfect plans. I don’t remember all the things that went perfectly right. Those imperfections make me so grateful to wake up with my kids now, in our warm home (with flushing toilets) and making breakfast together. Having a hot meal and plenty of food, our health and a comfy couch to watch our TV are all things we consider perfect ways to celebrate any holiday. We have limited years with our children at our table and having them to ourselves. I want to spend it laughing and enjoying whatever comes our way. I’ve learned to embrace the tradition of chaos for our holiday and really cherish the years it all goes according to plan.

May you all have a day filled with laughter and just enough imperfections to make the day memorable. Happy Thanksgiving!!


Feel free to share your favorite Thanksgiving memory in comments below! The less  perfect the better!!


The Whatever Mom is a twin mom learning to let go of perfection. She shares her real life struggles with parenting through her blog and contributes her time and talents as a writer to Hudson Valley Parent and Masshole Mommy. When she isn’t writing you can find her chugging coffee, folding laundry and not judging other parents. Don’t forget to subscribe via email so you never miss a blog post again! You can also find her work featured on Mamapedia 


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13 Comments on Wishing You a Less Than Perfect Thanksgiving

  1. Those were such great Thanksgiving memories. It is so funny you would never remember them if everything went like clockwork. I am sure you do keep these moments of imperfection close to your heart.

  2. I love this blog post. I have mostly wonderful memories of Thanksgiving from my childhood and young adulthood. Most years we gathered at the home of my maternal aunt who was an amazing cook and hostess. It was a large, loud casual affair with extended family and friends. Every year was bound to include some drama and some years were very rough with my grandma’s dementia and my cousin very ill with cancer. Other years were carefree and pure joy. No matter what, we were able to laugh togeher and always always love each other. It was always abundance of everything and I am blessed to have those memories. Now I am older and some of my loved ones have passed on and sometimes it is painful to think of those days. Thanksgiving now is much quieter. But mostly i know how blessed I was, and am, to have had those beautiful Thanksgivings. And so much now to be grateful for with my tiny immediate family – small in number but infinite in love. Happy Thanksgiving to you! I am thankful for your wonderful blog! <3

  3. Awww this made my day. At the end of the day happiness matters, no matter what circumstances one goes through …it is all worth it if it cushioned with the happiness of their loved ones 🙂 Thank you for sharing this post, I loved reading this.

  4. Really loved this blog post. Sharing memories from childhood and being grateful to spend time with family, one feels so blessed for all the good times spent. Wish you a Happy Thanksgiving!

  5. Thanksgiving has some memorable memories for me also! Last year we found out we were expecting on Thanksgiving so it’s fun to celebrate my son’s first Thanksgiving this year! Happy Thanksgiving!

  6. I don’t remember if we were married yet or just dating… We were at my aunt’s house and somehow a pot got stuck on another pot. Kevin suggested heating them back up and they’d come apart easily. So we put it on the stove and sat to eat. Everyone forgot until there was a loud mini explosion. We could figure it out until we saw the pots on the floor. Big mark on the ceiling too.

    Then the year i was over due. My hands got here from the turkey…. My rings were super stuck… Kevin got called in to work to find a missing hiker. Didn’t get home until the next morning, so he had been up since the morning before…. I let him nap for a bit before ttelling him I was in labor. Had Emily that night. Worked out bc his family was there to watch Kaylee

  7. I remember as a kid watching my mom stress out so much of getting ready for Thanksgiving. She was just always cranky because “everything had to be perfect.” Now that I’m the adult, I don’t stress. We don’t go all out. Simple and enjoyable is best!

  8. This was gorgeous to read, we don’t celebrate thanksgiving as I’m from Ireland but I wish we had another occasion to gather as a family like on Christmas! The best memories are the ones when everything goes wrong.

  9. Ohh what a great post and fun to read a little about your “disaster” thanksgiving!???? But I guess now that you have giving up presenting the perfect thanksgiving you are enjoying it more? It is the same with cheistmas ect. Once we put less pressure on ourself and are thanksful to whats really matter which is to be with the one we love and love us back, thats when the day get sucessful!????❤️

  10. I remember the year when my grandchildren were in pre teens. I was cooking dinner at their house. No one told me the door to the oven was loose, not to put any weigh on it. I went to baste the turkey, taking the pan out of the oven and set it on the door. To my shock the door fell to the floor, and the turkey with it. I didn’t want to fall on the turkey so l dove over it and belly flopped to the floor. The kids father ran to save the turkey from the floor while they were laughing hysterically to see Nana flying over the turkey. Certainly a Thanksgiving not soon forgotten.

  11. Oh I love this so much! We want things to be picture perfect, but it really is the imperfections that make things amazing!

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