By Lisa Hickey
When I was a kid, Thanksgiving was always the same. It was “over the river and through the woods to Grandmother’s house we go,” complete with our own soundtrack as us kids sang loud and strong the whole drive up. Thank goodness our parents were the patient sort and laughed at our off-key voices. Because, after all, it was tradition, and that meant breaking into the same song every year as the car rounded the same bend.
Having a Chevrolet Traverse sure would have solved the problem of “Mom, make her get her leg off my side of the seat.” The roominess of both the cargo areas and the seating (for up to eight) would have meant we no longer had to hold the pies on our lap—and with leg-room to spare, we wouldn’t have been fighting over it.
But as fun as traditions are, the times they are a changing. What about non-traditional Thanksgivings? Where do we go and what do we do now that we’re firmly into the 21st Century?
Families are more spread out than they used to be. In my own case, I’m in New York, my ex-husband is in Boston, my sister is in Connecticut—and that’s just the family members nearby. My older daughter is spending Thanksgiving in Chicago with her boyfriend, my son will be in New Hampshire with his significant other, and my younger daughter will be staying with friends in Indianapolis, where she goes to college.
Thank goodness for friends.
A potluck dinner among friends is always a treat. A potluck dinner among friends that includes one person’s secret stuffing recipe that has been handed down for generations, another person’s mashed potatoes and yet another person’s fresh pumpkin pie is a joy to behold. When everyone brings their specialties in order to share with those they love—that’s when magic happens.
An Outdoor Thanksgiving Picnic in the Woods
Picture this. There’s a huge outdoor picnic table, covered with tablecloths of brown and gold. A campfire crackles and a gaggle of teenage boys play touch football in the clearing. Everyone chimes in to set the table, and the marshmallows on the candied yams are freshly toasted.
You might think that outdoor Thanksgiving meals can only be done in the warmer climates, but watch how a crisp autumn day works up an appetite and negates that feeling of crashing in front of the television when the tryptophan kick in.
Your Traverse allows you to turn that picturesque scene into a reality as easily as you can say “apple pie.” There’s comfort in knowing that the 116.3 cubic feet* of cargo room can accommodate not just turkeys, napkins and pies, but the tables, chairs, lanterns and dinnerware that will make an outdoor dinner feel like a luxury.
A Day of Serving Others
Every year, more and more people I know volunteer to serve Thanksgiving meals to those who are less fortunate. Sometimes they volunteer at the local soup kitchen, at Veterans of Foreign Wars or at a local home for the elderly. Last year, my ex-husband picked up all the fixings for Thanksgiving and then drove to a disabled couple’s apartment, cooked the meal, and sat down and ate with them. There’s no better day to turn your Traverse into a volunteer-mobile in the spirit of giving back to your local community.
“Hello, stranger. Please pass the gravy.”
Others use Thanksgiving as a time to invite acquaintances or near-strangers into their home. My younger daughter, who can’t afford to fly home from college, will be staying with a school friend’s family, most of whom she’s never met. Many of my friends make a point of inviting someone to their house who they know wouldn’t otherwise have plans: the couple who just moved in next door from a different country, the colleague at work who just lost his spouse, or the friend of a friend who can’t swing a visit home.
The Virtual Thanksgiving
Let’s hope no one has to spend the day interacting with friends and family solely through electronic devices. But I know on my own T-day, there will be phone calls, emails, photo sharing and video chats as I connect with family and friends who are strewn about the globe.
And almost everyone I know will be snapping photos of their meal moments before they say some words of thanks and gratitude—and sharing those photos on social networks. It is the 21st Century, after all.
Wherever you decide to spend Thanksgiving, your Traverse will take you there. Use it to follow your own path to enjoy the holidays—and start a new tradition.
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Lisa Hickey is publisher of The Good Men Project. She likes to “create things that capture the imagination of the general public and become part of the popular culture for years to come.”
Photo by Getty Images
*Cargo and load capacity limited by weight and distribution.