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What to do for Thanksgiving…a tough question

So here’s the question, what would you do on Thanksgiving Day if you weren’t meeting up with the family for the traditional dinner?  I mean, if you were only trying to have a fun day with your wife and kids, but it didn’t involve staying at home, or going to another person’s home, what events would you partake in?  What would you do on Thanksgiving Day?  Because our family would really like to know.

Let me begin with the fact that Thanksgiving used to be a holiday that I looked forward to.  I mean, what guy wouldn’t?  It’s a holiday that basically revolves around watching copious amounts of football, and devouring a seemingly non-stop supply of turkey and the fixin’s.  But the last few years, it just hasn’t been the same for Traci and I.  Three years ago, the annual feast at our house involved both sets of Traci’s grandparents, her uncle and his girlfriend, her two kids, and often guests like my dad and step-mother, or some friends that didn’t have a spot to go to. But two years ago the day flipped upside down when Traci’s grandmother Lucille became too ill to attend.  Also the same year, her grandfather Dan also found himself too weak to travel next door to partake in the festivities.  And what was once a tradition that involved about a dozen people in our home as the smells of Thanksgiving filled the dining and the living room, all of the sudden became everyone else doing something else, and it was a tradition that will never again be.

This past year we saw the loss of both of Traci’s grandparents, and then we saw each person that used to be here just find some other place to go for everything as our family became more sprawled out.  My two daughters even go with their mom for their annual pilgrimage to Big Bear to hang with their grandparents from their mother’s side, a tradition that I’m glad that they have.  But it basically leaves Traci and her two kids, Kelli and Nikki, along with me and we are now the ones with no real place to head for the holiday.

The last two years we’ve had makeshift Thanksgiving festivals which have been fine, but they just don’t really feel like Thanksgiving.  It’s just not the same when you’re not surrounded by the family that you’re accustomed to during the holiday in your own home.  And because our family gets so spread out, it’s tough to make it feel like a family event when you don’t really have a place to go, or your entire family to be with.  There is simply just lament as you look around the table and realize that there are people missing from this perfect scenario.

So for this year, Traci and I decided that we’d take the kids and just do something fun.  The trouble is, we still want the Turkey dinner, and we don’t want to have to pay $80 per person to get it.  So most of the cool restaurants that are making up for the fact that there are several people in the same position, and are going to have to compensate for the increased labor costs given the holiday pay that they have to dole out, all adds up to we’d be spending a bloody fortune for anything cool.  Add to that the fact that there are so many places that are closed for the day of, and the fact that I’m needing to make myself available for Black Friday (at a time that I’m still uncertain as to when that will actually be as of yet…rumors abound that we may open the store at 8pm on Thursday night to keep up with the competition), going out of town is really out of the question too.

So here’s the question, where do we go for Thanksgiving day?  What do we do?  We’re leaning on the thing down at the Queen Mary in Long Beach, which seems like it might be ok.  I even suggested that we bring the EZ-up and sit on the beach and picnic.  Maybe even head over to the Santa Monica pier when we’re through.  But Traci was worried that it might be a) Too Cold for the beach (valid point for November) and b) what if it rains?  Not to mention c) How’re we gonna eat turkey at the beach (yet another valid obstacle.

Does anyone know of anything that’s happening in Southern California on Thanksgiving Day that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg?  Because I’d really be open to some suggestions…..

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