Let's start here: I didn't grow up eating turkey.
Maybe I did when I was really little, but I don't remember it.
The first Thanksgiving I remember - I had just turned 7.
My parents, my aunt and uncle, my cousins, and I were all in a hotel in Fargo.
(For all my local readers, town in North Dakota - roughly the size of Chattanooga)
My memory might be off, but I do believe it was the Holiday Inn. I remember swimming in the hotel pool, and going to Toys R Us, KB Toys, and B Dalton (yes, even as a first grader, I loved books) really early in the morning. That's it.
As I got older, the memories fleshed themselves out a little. It was a different hotel every year. (One year, there was this really creepy old man in the hot tub at Holiday Inn Express, who was watching my cousin and I swim) ...but most of the time I remember happy things. When I have my own kids someday, I want them to have the same tradition too. I want to hand something down to them from their grandma that they won't get to meet.
Thanksgiving weekend is where I tried Red Lobster and TGI Fridays for the first time. There was this buffet that closed down right by Burlington Coat Factory, but I don't even remember the name anymore. I always thought I was special. I was happy that I didn't have to sit at home in my terrible little town and eat turkey and watch football. (which doesn't taste that great anyway).
I remember turning 18, and as a present my parents and I stayed at the Ramada for a night. I went to the movies with a friend from high school who had ended up moving just down the street, and we ate at this amazing, fancy restaurant in the basement of the hotel. I thought it was the coolest thing ever that there were computers for public use there, so I could send pictures to my many online friends. (This was in the MySpace days, and I was obsessed.)
After my parents split up, my mom and I went by ourselves. We stayed at the Kelly Inn, got our snacks from the Hornbacher's on 13th (I thought it was an amazing grocery store. This is before I learned what "overpriced" meant), and ate dinner at Super Buffet, where I tasted sushi for the first time. (She thought it tasted like glue.)
All of these trips are what influenced my decision to move to Moorhead last year. I was quite let down once I found out that city life isn't all shopping, hotels, and restaurants. Sadness follows a person there, too. :(
But even greater than the hotels and Chinese food...Oh, the shopping!
Christmas shopping just has to be one of my favorite times of year. Everything about it makes me happy. Sometime between Halloween and my birthday, I make a list of people to buy presents for. Two lists, actually. One for family and one for friends.
Ever since I had my own money, it's been that way. (Really. I remember being 12 years old and up with my parents in line at Target at like, 6:30. And liking it.) I've had a couple people tell me it's weird that I spend my birthday money getting other people's presents. And it just might be weird, but I love wrapping paper, cards, boxes, all of it. So I don't mind!
Of course, the holiday is different now.
I'm not going to be spending it in a hotel near the mall. (Any mall.)
I probably won't even get to eat Chinese.
(Unless it's warm enough to walk to the Chinese place near me.)
I'm spending it by myself.
(Can't leave the cats alone for more than overnight.)
But I can hold on to some tradition. On Friday morning, I will wake up early (not as early as my parents did, but early for me), and go shopping. I will bike down to Jackson Plaza, and if there is any money left over after buying some new winter clothes, I will get my friends some awesome Christmas presents!
I'm seriously excited for this.
Happy holiday season!