I’ve got to admit, Thanksgiving used to be my least favorite holiday. Here are some things I’m not really a fan of:
waiting to eat
As a child, pitch-ins, or food I didn’t know what it was made of. I was (and am, if I’m being honest) a picky eater. If food was brought in by someone else, it was hard to know what foods that I might not like were in it.
Thanksgiving always seemed to be a time of waiting until I was really hungry, or snacking to fend off the hunger, and then not being hungry for the meal.
Then there were lots of foods prepared that I may or may not want, and the pressure to eat them. Later, there was the fact that others had a lack of interest in eating dinner because they had overeaten.
I rarely miss a meal, so that doesn’t really work for me.
Now some might say that a reason I am not a huge fan of turkey may have something to do with the amount of time my grandma cooked it. My grandma was one of the nicest, kindest, most pleasant people I have ever met. She had lots of great skills, and there are many, many things I miss about her.
Cooking a turkey? Well, I’m not going to say that was among her list of greatest talents. So for the first 16 or so years of my life, we spent Thanksgiving at my grandma’s house, with a turkey that had been cooked past its prime.
I’ve come around though.
As a kid, we talked about being thankful, and what we were thankful for. We also talked about the story of the Pilgrims and the Indians (the term Native American would come later) sitting down and eating together, recognizing that working together worked best for them. As I learned more about history, I realized that there is a little more to that story.
As an adult, I find the Thanksgiving holiday a beginning, and a time to rest and reflect.
It’s a time to start thinking about the Christmas season, which has always been a time of celebration in extra ways due to my children’s birthday being Christmas Eve.
It’s a time to have a long weekend, without a ton of traditions and hurry. We have a meal, on Thursday. For many years, we alternated spending Thanksgiving with my side of the family and my husband’s. In the past few years, our traditions have become much more fluid.
My in-laws moved out of state; my Aunt and Uncle, who had hosted Thanksgiving since my teens, both passed in the same year; my brother began hosting; and then we moved to Texas.
Then my boys had the audacity to continue to grow up, graduating from college and moving on to their next things.
This year, Thanksgiving is looking different for a lot of us.
We have a global pandemic, with recommendations to keep our gatherings to a small number of people to help avoid the spread of the virus.
Things that people have done for years and years, to indicate the Thanksgiving holiday, are changing for many of us.
For me, I will spend today with my husband and one of my sons. The three of us will eat some turkey, some pie, and several sides that I’m sure will include quite a few leftovers.
I’m looking forward to trying something new, knowing if it tastes terrible I’ll toss it and eat something else.
Today I’m thankful for the chance to sit quietly and begin the day, waiting for the sun to come up. Watching the sky lighten, I know today will be a fairly nice day. Someday I may take the sunshine and temperate weather that we get here in Texas for granted, but I’m not there yet.
I’m thankful that we have the ability to decide who to be around, and that we are not currently ill. Knowing how many families are missing members for the first time this year, and other families where people are ill or quarantined as they recover, makes me aware of how rough that is and how grateful I am for health.
I’m thankful for the chance to begin the holiday season, knowing that Christmas traditions may also look different for many of us. This Christmas season will include thinking about how to be creative, in order to spend time together in ways that may look and feel different.
I’m still wondering how all of these changes in traditions and work patterns may affect us going forward, when the pandemic does not have such a daily affect in terms of risk to our health, and is more about determining what the middle ground is for changes that we’ve made in the last year.
As you think about your holiday traditions, those that you are keeping and those that you are switching up this year, what things are you grateful for?
What do you think about, as you wake up and prepare for your day? Are you spending it similarly to previous years, or differently?
What about today do you look forward to, and what do you wish were different?
2020 has certainly been a year of changing the status quo.