Holidays used to make me sad, both my mom and dad have passed and my brother and sisters are separated by states so it is never easy to get together. I remember those days when my mom cooked Thanksgiving dinner and my brothers and sisters and their families were all there and we would eat our fill of turkey and the fixings; then we would tell stories, laugh and play cards all weekend long. It was fun times and I loved the holiday because we would all be together.
Things are different now, most of the holidays my family spends time with my husband's family and they don't really play cards, but they are incredible cooks so the food is great. Usually, I spend my time listening to their stories. My husband's sisters are incredibly funny when they get going telling spins of stories that happened in the past. They are amazing story tellers and they make me laugh... sometimes I just stare and wait for the punch line. It is not exactly the same when one of them is gone, together they bring out the fun in both of them. It is funny to watch and I appreciate the time we spend together.
I have known people who open their doors and spend the holidays with people who don't have Thanksgiving plans. I think that is amazing and have always wished to be one of those people to open my heart and home to everyone without a place to call home and make an extended family of laughter and fun. That in itself is also amazing, because friends can become a wonderful extended family and it makes the holiday enjoyable.
I guess what I have found that it does not matter who you spend the time with, rather it is your immediate family, in-laws, or friends. What matters is that you are surrounded by people you care about and that care about you. Even though you might have different backgrounds, histories or ideas you can come together and enjoy a meal and a glass of wine together and appreciate the value of the relationship that you have with them. It is something to be thankful for and to celebrate.