Simple Thanksgivings

I recently wrote about “simple Sundays.” I’m now a believer in simple holidays, too. For many years, my Thanksgiving schedule looked like this:

    • Awake at 4 am to make cinnamon rolls from scratch
    • Cook up bacon and other dishes and have breakfast ready for the family and guests
    • Feed the family and guests
    • Begin cooking a lunch comprised of a baked ham and side dishes
    • Feed the family and guests
    • Begin cooking the turkey for Thanksgiving dinner
    • Feed the family and guests
    • Collapse into bed, feeling incredibly worn and depleted

I would be on my feet for 16 hours or so. Christmas was similar. It was an interminable quest for holiday perfection. And, we had repeat house guests who never helped out.

Things changed some years ago.

I had cooked three Christmas dinners in a week (Mrs. T.’s parents are divorced, and they had travel plans on Christmas Day–and, who doesn’t cook a special dinner for your four children on the day of the actual holiday?) and soon thereafter contracted shingles, that extremely painful reactivation of the chicken pox virus in your nerves. It felt like painful stab wounds over and over.

The doctor told me it was stress-induced. It also, by far, was the worst case she had ever seen (and, two of her colleagues came in and thought the same).

Since then, I’ve simplified my Thanksgivings. This year, we are going to Mrs. T’s cousin’s house for a joyful family reunion; everyone contributes and brings a dish. Last year, we hosted Thanksgiving dinner, and I purchased a smoked turkey and side dishes from The BBQ Don.

Many of us, I included, put so much pressure on ourselves to produce the “perfect” holiday for our families. For me, it was meant to make up for an extremely unstable childhood and to give my own children a different upbringing.

But, I realized a while ago that “more work” wasn’t the answer. What really mattered was having a father who actually enjoyed the holidays.

So, for all perfectionists out there, I hope you have a peaceful and wonderful Thanksgiving. Here’s to a more simple holiday season….

2 thoughts on “Simple Thanksgivings

  1. Lovely and heartfelt. We so enjoyed hosting the family gathering this week. And all of the helping hands who helped create it and clean up!

    1. Thank you for hosting such an amazing family reunion! A truly massive endeavor, and I hope you know that everyone was so grateful to you!

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