11/17/2014 12:20 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

The Big Family Holiday Dinner Reality Check

Ariel Skelley via Getty Images

I have a small family, and around the holidays I envy big family dinners.

I dream of being part of a huge get together that includes several generations of aunts, uncles, cousins, and in-laws. But since my husband and I are both only children, and our few family members live far away, or are old or deceased, this isn't happening.

It's not that I don't enjoy spending Thanksgiving or Christmas Day cooking a meal with my mom, a meal that will be eaten by the two of us and my husband, and scorned by my two children.

It's not that I can't appreciate our table set for five where the second an adult opens his/her mouth some preschooler decides he or she has something to say that simply CANNOT wait.

It's not even that I don't love these four people more than anything in the world.

It's just that I wish our dinner could happen in the midst of other family members and friends; I wish it could be amped up with more people. I've fallen prey to the commercials and TV shows and movies that scream "It's not a real holiday unless the amount of people in your house equals the amount of extras in a Braveheart battle scene."

Some of my friends from large families wouldn't trade their Million Cousin Dinners for the world, but others tell me I've got it all wrong. Those big events, they claim, are nowhere near my warm, fuzzy illusion, and sometimes feel like being trapped in a Smart Car with with a large farty dog.

Well, okay then.

So for anyone who needs a reminder not to look longingly at huge family meals, here's a reality check:


There. I don't know about you, but I'm feeling better about my tiny family already.