First of all, let me give you a bit of a (personal) history lesson...
Growing up we (my parents, older brother, and I) lived in South Texas, while most of my extended family (on my dads side, anyway) lived in the general Houston area. We'd made the trip up there approximately once every two or three months. I can remember a few times that we made it for Thanksgiving, but it just wasn't a top priority. My dad worked the kind of job that can't exactly shut down for a holiday, no matter how spectacular; he was a prison guard. And he was never the kind to try and get holidays off. I remember how irritated he'd get at other people, right around the time the holiday schedule would come out; he'd call them names and say how ignorant and childish it was to be fighting over something like that. And so, over the years, it was just accepted that we celebrated life itself, when we could, and where we could. We made the trip for weddings, quinceañeras, and funerals, but holidays typically took a backseat to the stuff that really mattered.
As a result, I am not the kind to go crazy over holidays. I like Halloween because it's the time of year that I can find my favorite kinds of macabre decor a lot easier than usual, and I like Christmas because...well, it's Christmas! It is the only holiday that we really had any traditions for. Midnight mass was my favorite growing up! But, I digress, this is supposed to be about Thanksgiving, and I've already gone off on like 17 tangents.
Anyway, what I am trying to get at is that since it wasn't all that big of a deal, there wasn't any kind of 'everyone gather in the kitchen while mom cooks' kind of tradition, and as a result, my having to facilitate Thanksgiving kind of snuck up on me.
Our first year in Austin, my friend Sarah came up. I don't remember all the details, but I'm assuming that having company helped to remind me that preparations were necessary. A turkey was purchased, along with lingonberry AND cranberry sauce, potatoes, a can of green beans, and a pie from Marie Callendars. We drank sparkling grape juice that we workers got for free at Ikea when an entire pallet of them arrived with the labels half-scratched off. The next morning we woke up to find that Jefferson Marlowe, our Maine Coon at the time, had helped himself to the remainder of the turkey. Somehow that cat had pulled the whole tray off the stove onto the floor and hadn't spilled a drop!
The next year we went to Joshs aunts house, where he got wasted and took a bunch of pictures with Kenny Chesney.
Since then our Thanksgivings have taken place in various places between Texas and Arkansas, but they're always packed with adventure. I'm still working on getting the hang of having to bake more than usual, and hosting, in general, but it's gotten considerably better over the past 6 years.
And in conclusion, the point is that I am really bad at getting to the point. I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving, whether it's spent surrounded by family eating a huge meal, or with just your significant other eating frozen turkey dinners off of TV trays. Remember to make the most of every day, don't wait for a holiday to come around just to cook good food and spend time with loved ones and be thankful for what you have...and last but not least don't act too crazy if you go out on black Friday. The end.