I like to go all out for Thanksgiving. I like to make the turkey, stuffing, pies, the whole thing. Since we don’t have any family in Massachusetts, we would often invite our friends to share in the Thanksgiving spirit. This year is different, though, and not necessarily in a bad way different. In this post, I’m going to share how Amin and I are celebrating Thanksgiving and making it more intimate, more loving, and way more thankful than it’s ever been.
One good thing I think that has come out of this pandemic is thoughtfulness. This year has really helped me slow down and ask myself why I do what I do. Why do I make a Turkey when my husband and I DON’T EVEN LIKE TURKEY?!?!? Why do I stress out in the kitchen trying to make everything perfect when I really want to be watching the Macy’s Day Parade on the couch snuggled up with Amin? Why do I, like many others during this holiday season, INVITE STRESS into my holiday? That’s right! I said it. I invite stress to my holidays. I set a place for stress right there at the table! The truth is, I do this because I saw my mother stress during the holidays, and not only that, but the pressure to have that perfect holiday spread is absolutely everywhere!
Except for this year.
This year, we’re being encouraged to stay in our homes. To not have those massive family and friend gatherings. Even Black Friday is on the back burner, and this has given my husband, and I time to think. Here’s what we’re doing for Thanksgiving:
1.) Just the Two of Us: This year, we’re going to keep it to just the two of us. When I was little, I noticed those commercials (usually by grocery stores) showing these massive tables full of loving, smiling family members. I remember wondering what family actually achieved that perfect moment. Neither my husband nor I have good families, so going back home is not really an option for us. While I like having my friends over and hosting them, that’s not possible this year with the pandemic. So it will be just the two of us which honestly I find to be really special. There’s time for talking and snuggling and just taking in the simpleness of just two.
If you find yourself alone this year, that’s okay too! It’s nice to have an intimate time with yourself, to consider your own mental conversations, and to still reflect on what makes you thankful despite the trials of this year.
2.) Ditch the Turkey!: I’m going to be really honest with you. Thanksgiving food is great on Thanksgiving, and maybe even the day after…but when it is just Amin and me, we get sick of turkey really, really fast. I am, in general, not a huge fan of poultry. Amin does his best to make use of the leftovers, but they gradually outstay their welcome (you know, like that one family member we all have). So we talked about this and decided that we’re not huge fans of massive Thanksgivings when it’s just the two of us. We decided it might be fun to do something a bit more elegant like this Steak Oscar I made earlier this year for Amin’s birthday. We also considered doing something a bit smaller, like having roasted chicken instead of turkey, with clapshot, sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce, stuffing, and pumpkin pie.
3.) Focus on the Fun: Not making a massive Thanksgiving means not having to fight for materials in an already stressed grocery store. It means taking time to watch the parade and the dog show (two traditions in my home). Maybe it means snuggling to nice Christmas movies or putting up Christmas decorations instead of doing Thanksgiving dishes. This is a good time to ask the question, “for whom am I doing this?”. Am I making a crazy feast and stressing out because that’s the American ideal that my television told me? Or am I eating and doing what I love and what makes me truly thankful? If this holiday is honestly about being thankful, then perhaps the focus should be on doing what makes us thankful for our lives. Don’t let the “Ideal” holiday invite stress into your life. Live beyond the illusion and ask yourself what makes YOU thankful and helps you celebrate more authentically this year. Talk to your family about what Thanksgiving would look like if they were the only ones in the world celebrating it. If you live alone, then this might be a time to plan something special for yourself that is unique to you and will make you feel happy and thankful for your life despite everything.
If you liked this post and would like to be notified of future posts, please be sure to SIGN UP HERE. I hope this post has given you a moment to pause and think about why we as a society put so much pressure on things, and how in this moment of crisis, we can be more true to what our hearts really want. Thank you so much for reading. -Heather Astaneh