In my family of origin, Thanksgiving generally included really good food and not so good connections. Dinner conversation would either be stilted or one extroverted person would be putting on a comedy show. One dare not ask or share anything at a deeper level for fear of being ridiculed. It never felt safe to share about challenges or be vulnerable.
In later years, after my siblings got married, more alcohol was mixed in, and people became "jolly" as the night wore on; sometimes overly so! I remember one time my brother-in-law was quite intoxicated at the end of the night and he was carrying my nephew home who had fallen asleep. I was truly afraid he might trip and fall with the baby, but thankfully he made it.
I would have a bit deeper introvert-friendly one-on-one side conversations sometimes but most family members seemed compelled to track the whole group focus, story, or comedy routine. I'm not a great storyteller or comedian in group situations, especially when the culture is not supportive, so this meant I didn't end up speaking much.
For as long as I can remember, my Dad has retired early, regardless of who may still be present. He makes no apologies for this, just states he's done, says goodnight, and walks out of the room. My (step) mom would stay up later on holidays. She enjoyed having people around, even if she didn't venture into very deep waters, would ask questions, and we had some good conversations later at night when I was staying at my parents' house.
This year, I won't be with family, or even with friends, which I guess I sort of chose by not reaching out to procure an invitation or inviting people to my house. I'm going to get a newsletter and marketing piece done by end of tomorrow, as well as take a long hike with my dog and watch a movie. I may make some rolls or get some turkey and cranberry from the store. Leftovers are the best, and I'll miss them if I don't end up cooking.
One of my favorite memories of Thanksgiving, is one I celebrated with a close friend in Central California. We are both INFP personalities and tend to live and communicate in deep waters. We wrote out what we were thankful for and what we wanted to release and shared it with one another. Maybe I'll do an activity like that tomorrow...