• Lynelle McMillan-Holmes

Thanksgiving for Small Families

I come from a small family. It is me and my mother. She elected not to get married again after my father died. She elected not to have any more children as well. As a child, we would split our day between my father’s family and her family. Both of my grandmothers were great cooks. I enjoyed certain dishes at each house.

As the years passed, my grandparents passed away, and the family gatherings dwindled away. So for a few years, Thanksgiving was me and my mother. We would do our layout, but nowhere near the caliber of my grandparents. After all, it was just two of us.

More years passed, and I became a mother. Certain circumstances made it so I did not attend festivities with my husband, and eventually, we were no longer together. So, my family increased by three, and I took over preparing Thanksgiving dinner for my little family that included my children, my mother, and me. The layout remained quite small for a few more years, but as my children have grown, I have added more to the menu.

So, my advice for a small family is to cook all that you like, just make it with fewer servings. If you want a turkey, get a smaller turkey. Make a smaller amount of dressing and other sides.

Every year, I prepare certain items (desserts and sides change yearly) for my family. I have to prepare even smaller whole food plant- based dishes for myself. For them, I prepare:

Turkey and dressing

Macaroni and cheese

Green bean casserole

Collard greens

Potato salad

Pound cake

Sweet potato pie


Butter beans

This seems like a lot, but again, I prepare smaller amounts. In recent years, I have had to increase the amount since my children have grown…two adults now. At the end of the day, we still have a large enough spread. We visit family sometimes (Covid won’t let us this year).

Another idea for small families is to join in with another family and share the work and the cost. Another idea is to eat out. Many restaurants have been opening on Thanksgiving. Again, the pandemic has not been our friend, and these ideas may not be the best currently.

Finally, you do a regular meal, there is no law saying you have to have certain food on this day. The most important thing to do is to be thankful for who and what you have. Appreciate the blessings, and don’t take anything in your life for granted.

What do you enjoy for Thanksgiving? Would you like to see my planted- based menu? Let me know in the comments.

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I am truly grateful. I have always been very thankful for everything in my life including the bad parts. This year has tested everyone. However, I was pushed even further this Thanksgiving. Let me sh