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I come from a large Portuguese family chock full of traditions and oddities. More oddities than traditions, really. Each Thanksgiving everyone travels from the beach, the desert and everywhere in between to come together at my aunt Lisa’s house in Palm Desert, California. Even though each year brings new gossip, new family members and new memories, the Bettancourt clan makes it a point to live in the past. Each holiday spent together feels just like the one before and that’s exactly how we like it. We rarely talk about the future, but instead recount old memories over and over again.
Talking about how similar we all are is always a topic of conversation. “Geez, we have some strong genes!,” someone will always say before recounting the ways in which we think the same, act the same and have the same pet peeves.
“I had to finally live alone because I can’t stand living with messy people,” my cousin Brittany exclaims. We all nod in agreement, chiming in with our own stories of anal retentive cleaning habits.
It’s only a matter of minutes before someone starts laughing and accidentally pees their pants, which makes them laugh harder and then pee some more. We all laugh and then talk about all the times that we’ve embarrassed ourselves in the past year accidentally peeing our pants. From what I hear from the older women in the family, it’s only going to get worse.
As I wander to the back of the house, I see Nana touching up her lipstick. Lipstick is a currency in our family, where if you have the best best shade — you win. I made sure to put on my new shade before I arrived, one Nana approved as soon as she saw me coming down the hall.
The Bettencourt family sure has plenty of quirks and traits that marks all my relatives and myself as members of the brood. Here are nine of the most memorable moments from our Thanksgiving celebration.
We are a very physical family. Dog piles and snuggle puddles are a regular occurrence. I guess we are all California hippies at heart.
My grandparents met ballroom dancing in the Boston Commons. The spirit of expressing yourself through dance has carried down through generations. It only took 30 minutes after Thanksgiving began for a dance party to break loose.
Aunt Diane’s Yearly Costumes
For as long as I can remember, Aunt Diane always shows up to the party dressed as a new character. Nobody really knows why she does this, it’s just how it’s always been. This year Aunt Diane decided to dress up as “Lady Gaga’s Mom.”
I was quite relived to remember that I’m not the only one with anal-retentive tendencies. To plan for dinner, the cooks wrapped all the prepared foods in foil writing the directions on the top and ordering the food along a table, the first to cook at the front of the line.
Crafters at Heart
Long before DIY’ing was cool, my family was crafting fanatics. This year we all wore hand-crafted aprons made by my Aunt Debbie.
From Olympic swimmers to football stars, my family is full of athletes. We love to get active any chance we get. This year we hiked to the top of the Hollywood Hills and ran a 5K Turkey Trot Thanksgiving morning.
Cheers to Drinking
A family that drinks together stays together. A full stocked bar is the key to any Thanksgiving, right?
A recent tradition has come about — hashtagging our family events. To keep the traditions alive for weeks to come we came up with our own family hashtag for Thanksgiving traditions. This year: #gobblebash2013.
It’s never a Bettencourt family gathering without a healthy bit of competitive gaming. We take beating each other very seriously. This was no exception with several intense rounds of Cornhole.
Any Thanksgiving traditions you share with your family? We want to hear if your Aunt Diane likes to dress up!