The holiday season is creeping up on us. Soon it’ll be all turkeys and stuffing and drinking copious amounts of four dollar wine to wash down all invasive questions about your life from your gossipy aunt. Between Uncle Bob’s umpteenth retelling of that time he got his foot stuck in a bear trap and your mother forgetting that you don’t actually still live at home when she starts recruiting you into household chores, you might start wondering what Thanksgiving might be like with a slightly less crazy family.
Of course, when it comes down to it, even with all the bickering and fighting your brother over the last piece of sweet potato pie, you still love your own family to death and wouldn’t have Thanksgiving any other way. Well… maybe a couple more bottles of wine couldn’t hurt.
Still, there are some pretty great (if still kind of crazy) families in literature that would probably make for some pretty great, or at the very least entertaining, Thanksgiving company — that is, if they all were from families that celebrated Thanksgiving. But hey, it’s your imagination; go nuts. Besides, apparently, the concept of stuffing yourself full of turkey and sweet potato casserole once a year is catching on outside the U.S.
The Marches: Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
No other family screams warm fuzzies quite like the Marches. They’ve seen their fair share of loss and suffering, and they still manage to stay all warm-hearted. Thanksgiving doesn’t get much better than sitting around the table (with a good fire going of course) with a big family and plenty of sibling rivalry and taunting to go around.
The Ingalls: Little House on The Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder
You might suffer a little trauma when Pa goes out and shoots your favorite bird for the meal, but, hey, it’ll be fresh, right? In fact, all of it will be fresh. What sounds better than harvesting your own maple and cranberries and yams with the whole family, and then seeing all that hard work turn into a perfect Thanksgiving spread?
The Darcys & Bennets: Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
Yes, yes, the Bennets can be pretty annoying, especially if Lydia is invited. But admit it, you kind of love the antics they get up to. So long as you can brush it all aside with an eyeroll and a fun turn of phrase like good ol’ Lizzie Bennet, then it’s all fun and games. Not to mention, a Bennet-Darcy Thanksgiving will clearly be held at the Pemberly, so you’ll get to fancy it up and maybe even make sure to seat Lydia next to dear old aunt Catherine.
The Woos: The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan
As the daughter of the founders of The Joy Luck Club, there’s no way Jing-Mei Woo isn’t throwing a Joy Luck Thanksgiving. Not everybody’s got a big family full of drama to entertain them for the holidays. That’s where the makeshift family comes in. You know, those friends and distant relations, and quirky loners you’ve picked up over the years to make your own little family, tied together by experience and story if not blood. Sometimes those are the best kind of families.
The Schlegels: Howards End by E.M. Forster
If you’re more the erudite type, you might prefer a bit of philosophical debate and artistic appreciation with your cranberry sauce. The Schlegel siblings would be the best company for a heady holiday, and if you all ditch town to spend it with little sister Helen, you’d get to enjoy the rustic charm of Howards End
The Weasleys: Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling
The Weasleys are arguably the best part of the entire Harry Potter series. Who wouldn’t want to live in their quirky house held together by magic, mockery, and love? With a house full of growing red-headed boys, Molly Weasley has had plenty of practice putting together enormous meals, and, if you’re lucky, you’d get to join the dining table battle before the meal, or maybe kick around a few gnomes. At the very least you could eagerly await whatever pranks twins Fred and George had in store for the day. Actually, you might want to stay away from whatever dish the twins helped prepare...
Durin's Folk: The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
You might find a few beard hairs in your pie and you might have to headbutt a dwarf or two to make sure you get a decent sized piece of the turkey (or boar or whatever), but at least they won’t run out of booze. And everyone knows booze is what makes the holidays go ‘round.
The Buendias: One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Okay, so they’re not the Brady Bunch, but whose family really is? The Buendias have a lot of history, some of it still living, like Ursula. Great Aunt Ursula could tell you some seriously cah-razy stories — that is, if you can manage to get her out of her house. It'd be the most interesting history lesson you could get, with a side of dysfunction, of course. Then again, you might just spend the whole time trying to figure out which Jose Arcadio you’re talking to.
The Hempstocks: Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman
There’s a scene in Ocean at the End of the Lane where the little boy narrator tastes milk straight from the cow at the Hempstock’s magical little homestead, and he sounds like he’s in heaven. In fact, his entire experience at the house is the stuff warm fuzzies are made of, with a little magic thrown in. Surrounded by old, quirky, magic women full of stories, eating a farm fresh Thanksgiving dinner, and protected from any nasty spirits by the most capable women in the neighborhood? Yep, sounds like a perfect Thanksgiving to me.
Images: Warner Bros; Giphy (7); Hollywood Pictures; Merchant Ivory Productions.