Turkey Day is here!! Some of us look forward to it. Some dread it, for a variety of reasons. Let’s see if we can make it a little easier on everyone.
Thanksgiving has the potential to be a really fun and easy holiday. Really. There is no gift giving and gift shopping. There isn’t extensive decorating, aside from perhaps getting out your “holiday best.” There is food shopping of course, and the crowds that accompany that food shopping. And if crowds in stores freak you out, well come stand right next to me because they freak me out too.
But really, let’s make this easier. In my family, one person hosts Thanksgiving…and the site changes from year to year…but the host knows that he/she can email all the guests and assign them things to bring to make the day easier. You don’t need 5 different kinds of green beans, but it is completely fine to say you are in charge of beverages, you are in charge of h’or deurves, you are responsible for pies, etc. This can lessen the load of the host by quite a bit.
Then there is the worry for some about how many calories will they be consuming on this one day. It seems that the average Thanksgiving meal totals about 2500 calories per person and can go as high as 4600. This does not have to be the case. I strongly urge you to eat breakfast that day. Going into a feast situation feeling starving is not the best plan. Avoid carbs…start with some nice scrambled eggs and fruit…pick something with good fiber! Then, when you are actually at the meal, look at all the choices. Is there something that is your absolute favorite that you never eat at any other time of the year? Have some. Fill your plate with your favorite things…ONCE!!! You do not need to go back for seconds. There will be food available again tomorrow. This is not the last meal you are ever eating. It is one meal, and that is all.
Focus on the people that you are spending the day with. Hopefully, like my family, these are some of your very favorite people in the world. I can’t wait to see my brothers and cousins and laugh until my face hurts. I understand that not everyone has the same feeling about seeing their relatives. I get it. Let me offer this advice…don’t use the holiday to work out your bigger issues. If you want to settle some things before, great. Otherwise, tell yourself that you will contact them after the holidays and see if you can come to an understanding or work out your differences…or even decide that you don’t like them a whole lot but it is only once a year…so just set your differences and issues aside for the greater good of the family and try to enjoy yourself. When a situation is stressful or unpleasant, I try to pull myself out of in my head and pretend that my life is a sitcom. Think how Jerry Seinfeld or Will and Grace would re-write the script and still walk away with these miserable people having made you laugh. It is possible. I do it all the time J
Thanksgiving is a holiday all about gratitude. Consider starting the day with a gratitude list of your own. Write down all the things in your life that you are grateful for: your health, your home, your family, your career, your friends, etc. etc. etc. I’m sure you can fill a page. Breathe slowly all day. Let things roll off your back more than you normally would. It is a day off. A holiday. A day to relax and smile. And if it isn’t going as well as a Normal Rockwell painting, think of the wonderful stories you will have to tell your friends the next day!!! Food for thought.
So, help each other out. Call friends. Shop with a list. Breathe slowly in the store. Remember that people will be driving with blinders on in the parking lots for the next few weeks. Don’t let this ruin your life. It’s really just about 5 minutes of your day, and the rest of your life is this beautiful love-filled story. When the negatrons rain on your parade, this is just more content for the sitcom that is your life. Laugh it off. Enjoy good food. Take time to listen to the stories of your older relatives. They have really good stories. I have heard about chicken pluckings…about the lamplighters in Brooklyn that had to light each lantern on the street one at a time…cars that had to wind up. It is a blessing and not a burden.
Life is good. It is precious. It is sometimes annoying, but this makes for good story telling. Sometimes life is lonely, but people love you so reach out at the lonely times. Keep your eyes open for the people that need an extra hug at the holidays. And when that woman is walking as slowly as can be down the center of the shopping aisle so you can’t pass, take a deep breath. I’m right there with you, giggling behind you. I love you, and it is going to be ok. Have a gratitude filled Thanksgiving!!