You pull down that familiar drive and the guys all wave as they huddle in the backyard, a crew of flannel shirts and down vests. They’re on the second “Remember the time when…” The need for a rematch of last year's backyard football game is thrown out before you've even shut your car door. Cheese plate in hand, you head on in.
Things seldom change here, and that is what you love about coming home for Thanksgiving. Grandma already has most of the younger children huddle in front of the TV to watch the Thanksgiving Day parade. You're smothered in hugs from a rainbow of cousins in cotton sweaters that match their personalities. Of course, you’ve dressed the kiddos to match with cozy kids’ sweaters that they won’t be begging to take off after an hour. If only you had discovered these comfy sweaters earlier! Itch-free and easy to clean when one of the twins inevitably spills orange soda on the other.
The feast is served. You take a look around and count your blessings knowing that you are truly fortunate to be in the company of these beautiful people. Dishes are passed, then complimented, cleared, and cleaned. When it is all said and done, there's not much left to do but be thankful for dressy scarves that perfectly hide gravy stains, jeans with just the right amount of forgiving stretch. Were you free to take the post-turkey nap you so badly want to take right now, no doubt you’d be dreaming about the flannel pajamas waiting for you back home. Cozy, warm, and perfectly comfortable, you couldn’t think of a more perfect way to start the Christmas season than with your festive flannels. You glance over at your partner, whose eyes seem to be drooping the same as yours. Oh yeah, they’re thinking about pajamas too.
You admire your mother’s turkey basting skills, and how smart she looks in her Thanksgiving outfit. She loves the new mock turtleneck you sent and hints that a few more colors under the tree would be nice. Note taken. But right now there's a cran-cherry pie that requires your full attention. Maybe she’d like a cardigan in a rich red like this pie as a Christmas gift. Or maybe not, it’ll only make you hungry every time you see her wearing it. You switch gears as you shovel another scoop of sugary goodness into your mouth. Dad is asleep in his favorite recliner as a football game blares at him from the TV. Maybe you can get mom and dad matching sweaters in the colors of their favorite football team. Sure, mom isn’t as big into football as dad, but would she give up a chance to match her hubby? No way.
After a few hours of rest and a few hands of cards, the leftovers are lined up and the family makes another pass. “A little something before you head out,” she says, heaping more mashed potatoes than anyone should be allowed to eat into a Tupperware for you to take home. You change into your Starfish comfy pants for the ride home, a comfy Starfish tunic in place of your prized cashmere sweater. In the back of the car, the kids have kicked off their shoes and have curled up into little sleepy lumps under their favorite throw blankets. A tiny hand sneaks out from under the blanket and takes a cookie from the bag sitting between them before retreating back beneath the covers. You chuckle to yourself as you snuggle up under a blanket of your own, ready to fall asleep and wake up at home.
Another feast for the memory books. Maybe next year you’ll surprise the guys with their own team rugby shirts. Never too late to start a new tradition, right?