Saturday, November 23, 2013

Giving Thanks - How to Build a Memory by Karen McGovern

We are officially up to our ears in Holiday Hysteria.  I will be picking up my freshly prepared turducken (you heard me) on the 27th from Whole Paycheck Foods, and can’t wait to slap that huge monstrosity on my grill Thanksgiving day.  We will be eating off that carcass for the foreseeable future.  That’s the beauty of a turducken.  It can feed a village for a month.  Note:  For those of you that are unfamiliar with the unholy genetic Frankenstein that is a turducken, it is a turkey stuffed with a boneless chicken, which happens to be stuffed with a boneless duck.  WE DO NOT FOOL AROUND WITH JUST SOME LAME TURKEY AT MY HOUSE!

I come from a big family.  Growing up, holidays were gigantic affairs with houses brimming with relatives, noise, tons of food and plenty of drinks.  Over time the inevitable has happened, families have grown, moved on and no longer live close together.  Distance, outside obligations, and extended family functions now make it virtually impossible to gather like we used to.  Bummer.

But, over the years, we have managed to create events that bring us together in other ways.  Mainly, holiday contests.  Ridiculous, hilarious holiday contests.  I'd love to say that we each create artisan ornaments to trade each year, or guild our own walnuts and pine cones for tasteful holiday displays--NOT! We are a weird, arty bunch, and our contests involve art projects that usually result in self humiliation and the occasional hot glue related injury.  Last year, we held the first Hand Turkey Contest for Thanksgiving.  The rules were simple, submit a photo of your best hand turkey, made in any material or format, as long as your REAL hand is involved somehow.  As you can see, we ran with it.  I arranged for a guest judge to choose a winner…the results were difficult to interpret.  So, I then took each image and placed it in a situation I felt best reflected the true intent of the creator.  I especially liked involving Martha Stewart.  We await the lawsuit.
 
My brother Brian, the meat eater...seriously.


My sister Diane, who can sew ANYTHING.  She is so talented!

My sister Gail, a school teacher and fan of Anderson Cooper...

My submission, a tribute to Photoshop and my love of horror movies.

My sister Lynn, who hates hunting, went all Rambo on us.

Our dear friend Maria is a fabulous collage artist...love this!
 
The judge. 
 
Even though I didn't win this contest, I feel I NAILED IT.
This is just one example of the silly contests and projects we’ve worked on together as a family.  We recreated childhood photos for a calendar (that was HILARIOUS), we’ve worked on an as yet unpublished family cookbook, complete with “in action” photos.  A real favorite was the short story each of us contributed to that was a all about green Jell-O salad (a concoction originating with my Grandmother, according to legend).  This mess is the nemesis of every holiday meal and a seemingly unstoppable family tradition (pineapple, olives and cottage cheese in lime Jell-O with horseradish…cue the puking sounds). 


The point is, even though we can’t be together, we all try to do something that will build on the wonderful memories we already have of family and holidays.  Yes, I’m sure that sometime in the distant future, a descendant of the family will puzzle over discovering a worn copy of “The Salad Saga” tucked away in an attic trunk…man, I hope so!  And I hope that “salad” finally dies the grizzly death it so deserves…another story for another time!

I am forever thankful for my wonderful, weird, hilarious family.  I miss them constantly, and especially miss those we have lost.  Every holiday I take a moment to myself to sit and remember (usually with a good glass of wine) the spectacular moments I’ve spent with this bunch.  After the tears dry, I give thanks for my new family and my dear friends both near and far.  These people are the true gifts of the season and I cherish each and every one.

I’d love to hear about the silly traditions you all share in your family—especially if they involve crafting!  Please feel free to add in the comments, and I wish you all a wonderful holiday season filled with brand-new memories to savor!

4 comments:

Cathie Carroll said...

Fabulous Hand Turkeys and I'm really impressed with your re-creation of a childhood photo. My Family does a "Christmas Craft" every year. My Mother tries to elevate it to an "Arts Day", but with differing skill levels it's pretty crafty. I think I may try to talk them into a variation of the photo re-creation.

Happy Thanksgiving!

freshbakeddesigns said...

Such a fun read this morning! Thanks for sharing about the wacky fun your family creates to keep the memories flowing through the years. Especially love the 'childhood photo updates'!

Unknown said...

You forgot the mayonnaise in the green hello. How could you.........

Ann Schroeder said...

This is such a wonderful, fun post. I love reading about other family traditions. My family has planned craft projects together over the years when we get together - basket weaving, decorating gourds, stenciling bags. When my sister got married, her husband joined in seamlessly. Now we have a tradition of doing storage cooking together. We make several recipes, split them up and take them home at the end of the visit. Then every time I eat one over the next weeks, I think of the fun we had together.

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