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My youngest had a holiday dinner with her boyfriend and his family

 If you're talking about sides or desserts, then anything you please. Make spicy Malaysian green beans, Jamaican sweet potatoes, dark chocolate raspberry chipotle cheese cake, habanero lemon bars, jalapeno orange cranberry sauce, just go for it!

Peas Supreme are sooooo much better than peas. And of course any potato is better than mashed, but the hostess will insiste that her Mom & Dad will only eat mashed, rather than something yummy, which, emmmmm ... her parents don't deserve?

Months ago we had planned on a family dinner. We would all converge at my son's house for the traditional gathering. We've held gatherings as long as I can remember-- before I had a family of my own, we 'd go to my parent's house or other relatives.

Given the spike in COVID-19 cases locally, we decided this month to scrub those plans. My wife and I are recovering after testing positive ourselves, and I didn't wish to take any chances infecting others. Our immediate family was spread over 4 states, each having a holiday dinner in their own way.

My middle child actually woke us early Thanksgiving morning, asking questions about how to clean and dress a turkey. He and his girlfriend prepared their own meal. They sent us pictures, and I wished I could be there to enjoy it with them.

My youngest had a holiday dinner with her boyfriend and his family.

We were prepared to cook and have a meal with just the two of us, but at the last minute another couple we know (who also tested positive for COVID-19) invited us over. What's the harm, I thought? We drove over and put our meals together-- their ham, our turkey, their shrimp cocktail and stuffed mushrooms, our green bean casserole. Their apple pie and our pumpkin pie.

And I realized some important things. One, the traditional meals we make on Thanksgiving are a little boring! It was fun to see what others prepare for the holiday. Our Thanksgiving meal looks about the same every year.

Another thing-- although I missed my family, it was very enjoyable to spend the holiday with friends. Close friends are like family too. We each spoke about what we were thankful for during our meal.

Next year's holiday will likely be back to normal, assuming a vaccine becomes available and new infections are down. But it's okay if we don't spend every holiday with our immediate family. Possibly we'll even start a new tradition.

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