My family, on both sides, had always kept holidays dry. Those in my parents’ and grandparents’ generations simply were not drinkers and our events remained alcohol-free, with the exception of some compulsory Manischewitz at Passover, which was not actually intended for consumption.
Somewhere along the way, the boldest of my older cousins started bringing cases of red wine to the overnight Thanksgiving extravaganzas held annually on my mother’s side. Though I had long been enjoying a good bottle (or two) with friends by that point, I had never considered the possibility that families could also bond over a little booze. As it turns out, my generation does not share the same Puritanical aversion to the good stuff as our elders, and so we cousins have been keeping each other’s glasses full of Pinot, Zin and Cab at these events for years now.
Although our Thanksgiving sleepovers in rural upstate New York were always a lot of fun, the cases of libations have definitely brought us closer together. We giggle more and stay up later, reminding each other of stories of our late grandparents and happy times as a family on their beloved farm. We spill more secrets, play more practical jokes and eat tons of post-Turkey snacks. The 12 bottles we collectively consume have transitioned our relationships from kid relationships to those of adults – adults, who act like kids together again on the same night every year.
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Danielle Mindess has enjoyed (mostly red) wine throughout her days living in Massachusetts, Atlanta, Vancouver, Buenos Aires, and finally, New York City. She recently graduated from NYU’s Wagner School of Public Service and has worked at various non-profits ranging from arts organizations to homeless shelters.