An Open Door Thanksgiving Tradition

il_570xN.483163383_hqxuI don’t know about you, but in my house it is just my husband and I. Holidays should be pretty low key since it is just the two of us, however that has not been the case in years.

The first couple of years we were married we did the “Thanksgiving dinner for two”. Do you know how hard it is to make Thanksgiving dinner for just two people?

Then one year everything changed.

My husband felt bad for one of the single guys in his unit who didn’t have any family in the area. So, he invited the guy over. I was fine with that, we always had extra food. Then the next year, he decided to invite a couple more of the single guys over for Thanksgiving dinner.

An Open Door Thanksgiving Tradition…

It grew from there, and it has become a tradition for us to have an open door on Thanksgiving. Actually, the open door has moved on to Christmas as well. Anyone who doesn’t have somewhere to go on the holiday is welcome at our house.

To be totally honest, it is easier to cook Thanksgiving dinner for a whole group of people than it is just for two. The guys come and eat, some of them stay for a while and others head out right away. Either way is fine with us, we are just happy to give them a home cooked meal and company during the holidays.

This year may take the cake on our open door policy, however. This year not only are we opening our doors to the single guys at my husband’s unit, we are opening our doors to all of our friends! We are planning on having a house full this Thanksgiving. We wouldn’t have it any other way. It is not easy being away from family on the holidays, and if we can brighten the day of even just one person, it makes everything worth it. Isn’t that what the holiday season is about after all?

It is amazing how a full house on a holiday can make you feel. Most would think it would make things even more stressful. But, for me it is the opposite. Being a military family is hardest at the holidays. Most years it is near impossible to travel home to see family. So, we make our own family wherever we are living at the time. Surrounding ourselves with our makeshift family makes the holidays even more special.


The nice thing about having more than just single guys coming to our house this year is is that my fellow spouses are helping with the cooking! We have split the menu down the middle, so that way neither of us has to stress over making the whole meal for close to fifteen people!

When you have nothing but single guys, most of who live in the barracks, it is hard to ask for help with the meal. I don’t mind cooking for them at all, but it will be nice this year to have the help!

Maybe this holiday season we should all ask ourselves what we can do to make someone else’s holiday better. Make cookies for your boss, help your neighbor shovel the snow out of their driveway, even just wish someone a Happy Thanksgiving and a Merry Christmas. Sometimes the simple act of sharing a smile with a stranger can make their day a little bit brighter. Start with the holidays this year, and then maybe that joy and thankfulness can last the whole year. Making someone else’s day a little bit better, can make your day a whole lot better. So, when you are stressing out over everything that goes into your holiday, take the time to think about someone who may not have a reason to celebrate and maybe there will be a way for you to be that reason for them.


2 thoughts on “An Open Door Thanksgiving Tradition”

  1. Mandy, this is such a great tradition! How wonderful for all of those single guys to have a place to go and a home-cooked meal on Thanksgiving, and how wonderful for you and your husband to have people to share the day with! I grew up in a family that gathered together every holiday, so before we had kids the idea of just my husband and me on such a big day seemed lonely. The more the merrier!

  2. We do an open door Thanksgiving as well, I remember when I was little my Great Grandmother did this too. It is a memory I want my children to have. Not one of strangers during the holidays but one of an open heart, being thankful that we are blessed and can offer something (even if it is just a hot meal and some company to someone who may not have had that before)

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