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Home for the holidays

Holidays in the Andrews-Willis family come with a lot of laughing, crying and many games. There are two big holidays that we come together and celebrate every year: Thanksgiving and Christmas. My mother’s side of the family brings home at least 100 people for the holidays. Most of the time it is so huge that we have to rent out the church and have family dinner there. My family seems to just invade the whole city of Knoxville during these times.

During Thanksgiving, everyone is in charge of something. My aunt is in charge of the collard greens. The queen of the household is in charge of the deviled eggs. My other aunt is in charge of the mac and cheese. As you can probably picture, this is supposed to be the best dinner of your natural born life, but honestly there is always one person who messes up their dish. One cousin, whose name I will not speak, always messes up their dish. We can never ever specify which cousin messes up. Instead, we just have to pretend to like the dish. At a black family function, you just take food and try it. Nobody will let you skip over anything–that is like the most disrespectful thing in the world.

After everyone eats, we all meet up at the house for more fun and games. The little ones are forced to play in the other room while the grown folks play in the living room. All kinds of fun and laughter spark until the big conversations break out. In the end we all will be full and sleepy.

We will forget about what ever happened.

The big kicker is Christmas. When we were younger, it was full of gifts and little speeches for church service. Now being a 21-year-old man, I have realized that it’s just when our family gets together. We sit around and eat good food. The all-time favorite movie to watch is “Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas,” but maybe that’s just me. On Christmas day, we sit around the living room drinking eggnog and hot chocolate until someone turns on the music. Then, everybody starts dancing and singing. Even my great aunt at 80-years-old is up and moving.

If you ever wanted to be a part of the family function, just show up, lie and say you that are a distant cousin. They won’t even question you. Even though my family can be a mess, it is a wonderful feeling to have so many over during the holidays.

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