Each year, I look forward to writing a Thanksgiving article. Yes, it is an easy topic to fill up a blank page with words like “gratitude” and “meaningful living,” but, more importantly, I just love Thanksgiving.
If you cannot get behind a holiday based on food, no presents, and couch time in front of a football game then you are simply unhuman. I love listening to people explain their version of a sweet potato pie or why brining the turkey is the only way to go. Food brings out a passion in most of us who do not mind planning, purchasing, parboiling, and panicking for a full week for what generally amounts to a seven-minute meal. And except for crowded stores and working out dining logistics, people are genuinely nice and happy for a hot minute.
When I was a kid, my mom’s side of the family would take turns having Thanksgiving, so every seven or eight years (details escape me), our family would host the event. Given that on the years we were traveling to “the city” to visit an aunt and uncle’s home for Thanksgiving, I always felt a little apologetic when everyone had to head “north” to see us in our one traffic light town. But whiffing that orchestra of smells coming out of our kitchen and experiencing the teamwork it took to bring a production like Thanksgiving together for 30 or so people amped up the respect I had for my mother. Two Things: I cannot plan a one-course meal for six people without tears and, I would love to go back and give my mom a pat-on-the-back.
When Todd and I were first starting out we went the ping-pong route where we made everyone happy with our presence at their respective tables. That is just the toll young couples pay before they put their feet down and claim the holidays as their own. I fondly remember being eight months pregnant when a Thanksgiving rolled around. We notified our families we were going to spend a quiet day at home with our dog, cooking and eating alone. It was so liberating and such an enjoyable day for us.
When the kids came along, we hosted a few, dined out occasionally, traveled to the in-laws now and again, or visited my sisters’. That type of informality has allowed us to visit nephews and nieces when new babies are born without breaking any weird holiday hang-ups at home. I hope by giving our boys a variety of different Thanksgiving experiences, without feeling tied down to one way of celebrating, they can create their own unique traditions as adults. And I’ll try to remember that when they are in their 20’s and don’t want to come home for the holidays.
Though we do not have a set way when it comes to Thanksgiving, I lean in to listen to stories of people explaining how they do it. Life events may have altered my low-key attitude towards these upcoming gatherings, but I have great respect for those who keep deep family traditions alive. Many of you are planning tablescapes and dusting off Grandma’s silverware for Turkey Day right now. We hope as you wrap up the details of this upcoming holiday and prepare to gather with family and friends, that the thanks-giving begins early and lasts well beyond the fourth Thursday in November. Wouldn’t it be nice if we put aside the planning for a moment and focused on what we like in one another?
With that in mind, we challenge you to seven days of gratitude in preparation for the grand event. Fill up your social media feeds with people, places, things, foods, emotions – – you get the picture, anything that makes your heart tick with joy.
I’ll go first. I am extremely thankful for Sande and the Sarasota Post community. I was a fan and reader of SP before becoming a writer. Sande took a chance on me and every Wednesday I pinch myself to make sure it is really my article they are featuring. Thank you to Sande and anyone who takes time out to read my words. Seven days of gratitude. Who’s in?
Photos courtesy of Thanksgiving Facebook page.