Our Thanksgiving this year is going to be structured differently than all others we've had. This change from the usual was probably easier to implement because there are just the three of us celebrating the day this year.
In late October, I got up enough personal gumption to present my plan to my husband and daughter explaining that the last several years I've come to dread Thanksgiving. (Seriously, I really have.) Simply put, it's all the work involved. Usually the first of Thanksgiving week I spend buying/gathering together food and drinks for the day. Then on Wednesday I do as much advance prep work as I can, and the day of Thanksgiving I spend the whole day making the meal, going through the (admittedly) stressful coordination that is required for all parts of the meal to be ready at once (hot dishes hot, cold dishes cold) as it hits the table. Then there's the clean-up afterwards. Unbelievably, it takes me very close to one whole hour to get everything cleaned up and in storage containers and stashed away in the refrigerator. The last few years, my dear hubby (bless his heart) has been doing all the dishes (we have no automatic dishwasher) which has been, needless to say, much appreciated by me.
I've been finding that I don't even enjoy eating the meal after all the work put into it and the days spent handling it. I've gotten grumpier and grumpier the last couple of years and have decided that the situation is not working for me, and it's stupid not to try something else that feels better.
So I presented a plan for a different Thanksgiving to my two favorite people.
What I'm going to do this year is to still have it be a "holiday" day, we won't forget about Thanksgiving and treat it as just another day of the year. I've even gotten my husband to agree to take the WHOLE day off, no desk work or any other type of "work" he would normally do.
I'm taking the time and effort to make the house all spiffy and holiday festive.
We won't starve because of lack of food. I'll have a cheese plate with crackers, Dill Pickle Roll Ups, Smoked Turkey Canapes, smoked fish, a veggie plate with dip, pickled herring, egg nog, wine, beer, tea, coffee, plenty of yummy stuff. I'll probably even bake a pumpkin pie because that sounds good to me. But no set dinner time or sit down at the table. Just munching as one feels like it.
I'm planning on spending the day lounging, sitting in front of the fire, reading, doing handwork, visiting, going for a leisurely hike . . . whatever feels good to me.
It might not be anybody else's idea of how Thanksgiving should be, but lately Thanksgiving hasn't been for me how I think it should be either. Happily, hubby and daughter have both agreed (willingly, too, I might say) to go along with my plan. I'm not saying this arrangement will be forever or even for more than this one year. But for the first time in YEARS, since I made this decision in late October, I have been looking forward to the day more than I can explain. Best of all, I can't help but congratulate myself for being brave enough to break tradition, step out from under a huge load that didn't feel good and implement something that feels better (oh, so MUCH better) to me.
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