Thanksgiving: I love this holiday as it focuses on coming together and counting our blessings and giving thanks for all we have, an attitude of gratitude. I find sometimes in our busy lives we don’t do that often enough, we might focus more on what we don’t have rather than appreciating what we do have.
I was guilty of this way of thinking just this past week when I felt bombarded with images and descriptions of seemingly perfect Thanksgiving feasts in exquisitely designed and decorated homes & finely set tables with food that is styled so well I caught myself drooling. Why can’t my Thanksgiving look like that?!?
I’ll tell you why, it’s because my Thanksgiving usually includes 50 or more people ranging in age from my 80 year old mother right down to my 1 year old nephew and every demographic is represented: infants, toddlers, adolescents, tweens, teens, young adults, adults, mid-lifers and old-timers. You might trip over the mountain of shoes in the front entrance and there is no nicely set table with my finest china and polished cutlery (although you might spot some Royal Chinet). Sure, there might be a harvest centerpiece but it will likely be a collection of crafts my kids brought home from school; you might find yourself face to face with a pine-cone turkey missing one of his googly eyes and a few tail feathers.
We do potluck with this crowd so the serving dishes might not match and the presentation is far from perfect, but it always tastes amazing. I adore my mother’s brussel sprouts, Gwen’s mashed potatoes and Rose’s sweet potato pie always disappear quickly, my brother Geoff makes the BEST ham although it never looks very pretty it always tastes amazing, my sister Janita makes a great dessert and sister Gertrude has her trademark appetizers and my sister Chris fills in any gaps or her chef of a husband whips up something buttery and delicious like the giant stuffed turkey.
Our gatherings may not be fancy but they’re fabulous.
One of my favorite traditions is when we go around the room asking each person to share one thing they are thankful for. This year we will be missing the chaos I described above so I had my kids go through this exercise this past weekend. It was a beautiful weekend and they had a hard time limiting what they were thankful for but this is what they came up with.
It is such a simple exercise and helps us adopt an attitude of gratitude. It reminds us to count our blessings and helps us be thankful.
After all it is not happy people who are thankful but rather thankful people who are happy!