Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Countdown to Thanksgiving Day 22: Baileys-Free Holidays

The other night while watching TV, there was a commercial for Bailey's Irish Cream in which this lady drags a bottle through her houseful of odd party guests in even odder situations.  Mr. Hat remarked, "This doesn't make me want to buy this product at all." I suggested the effective ad would feature the woman at a family holiday gathering surrounded by all the family members who otherwise annoy, despise or avoid each other.  She would take a sip of her Baileys and suddenly be surrounded by pleasant, sparkling guests as a tagline says, "Baileys Irish Cream makes everything better." That, I think, would work.

I jest, but we hear so much this time of year of family disfunction. There are classics like "Christmas Vacation" based on this seasonal phenomena of gathering with people you don't particularly like and sometimes outright can't stand just because it's a holiday, you're family, and therefore togetherness is mandatory. So they groan and head off to Mom and Dad's or Aunt Jane's, spending in misery what should be a pleasant celebration.

Fortunately for me, this is not my reality. Having grown up together, my husband and I have families who were already acquainted and friends. We have healthy relationships with our parents and siblings. There might be the occasional scheduling hitch for these grand events, but we can all gather in the same room and end up with nothing but laughter and good conversation. We often fold in my brother's in-laws, too, with the same happy result. I could, if I chose, drink Baileys at these gatherings for the taste and not the bracing.

I'm lucky - and I know it.  I also feel blessed that, barring my sister and her family, all in our family unit are within a half-hour drive of our home. We don't have to make choices about which family we'll see this year, knowing we won't see the other family until the next one.  Having once upon a time lived away from them all, I treasure the proximity.

So as I enjoy our TWO Thanksgiving feasts on Thursday, I'll be grateful as I pass along the turkey instead of the Baileys.

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