We were very afraid to simply say to our families, "We are not coming to the Thanksgiving gorge this year, because ____________." We also realized that it would be futile to say, "We are coming, but we will only participate in our way." We have tried that in the past with no good results.
So, in lieu of brutal honesty, we chose escape. We planned a small trip to Madison, to a Holiday Inn that has a small indoor waterpark called Crawdaddy Cove.
Our children, particularly our oldest, were a little skeptical. The night before we left, he spent quite some time crying and listing all of his fears about how horrible the trip would be and how upset he was that he was going to miss out on turkey and Cartoon Network at Papa and Grandma's. However, as you see, he revised his opinion and all the children had a great time.
For our Thanksgiving dinner, I prepared a surprise plate. It LOOKS like an ordinary salad, right?
But this surprise was hiding beneath. The children enjoyed uncovering the design and eating "special occasion food" such as raisins, figs, and raw peanuts.
After dinner, we read three special Thanksgiving stories, all humorous and with the theme of sparing the turkey. I read A Turkey for Thanksgiving, by Eve Bunting, illustrated by Diane DeGroat.
Our son read A Plump and Perky Turkey, by Teresa Bateman and illustrated by Jeff Shelley.
My husband read 'Twas the Night Before Thanksgiving, by Dav Pilkey.
I will rate the whole experience as a qualified success. My husband and I had a bit of trouble relaxing and enjoying ourselves, preoccupied with many major decisions and changes facing our family soon.
Crawdaddy Cove was just o.k. The chlorine was overpowering and our five year-old got sick from it.
Next year, our Thanksgiving trip will hopefully be an utterly joyous occasion that will take place somewhere with fresh water and sunshine.