November 20, 2014 by Dr. Sana Keller
I seriously hope that the Surviving Thanksgiving theme will not be a major player this year like it was last year. A few of last year’s headlines I noticed: 14 Simple Tips To Help You Survive Thanksgiving—How To Survive Thanksgiving With Your Family—How To Survive Thanksgiving On A Diet—Your Healthy Thanksgiving Survival Guide—How To Survive Thanksgiving Away From Family—How To Survive Bad Helpers On Thanksgiving—How To Survive Thanksgiving Travel—How To Survive Thanksgiving With Your Dysfunctional Family—Yikes!
If a person from another country moved to the US in the past few months and had never heard of Thanksgiving,these titles might be enough to make them want to hop on a flight ‘back home’ to avoid the perceived craziness of it all. I don’t remember this craziness when I was younger…as a child or young adult. When did the survival component become a necessary part of Thanksgiving?
As a follow up to last year’s Thanksgiving post, I ask you to ponder with me again–the possibility of changing (or maybe just tweaking) our mindset or expectations on specific aspects of the holiday in an attempt to bring back the goodness of Thanksgiving.
The widespread mindset that Thanksgiving is a Day of Overeating. But it’s just that…a mindset…not a rule or expectation that we must follow–or that we should follow!
The common expectation for whoever is hosting the Thanksgiving meal to provide ‘Over the Top’ Table Decorations, complete with unique name cards that coordinate perfectly with the 10-piece place settings of china as well as the new linen tablecloth. I realize that some of you do like setting a fancy table for your guests and enjoy it–I’m so glad you do! Yet there are many who feel they ‘have to’ or ‘should’ do it.
The commonplace Thanksgiving expectation of having to endure Unpleasant, Negative Relatives who are known to ruin the holiday every time they are present.
The growing expectation of the Panic That That Christmas Will Soon Be Here, which implies the need to just hurry and get Thanksgiving over with and move on to conquer Christmas.
And the mindset that It’s Not Thanksgiving Without A Large Gathering…
Now imagine this: A peaceful and enjoyable Thanksgiving Day with appropriate amounts of wonderful food (check out these minor twists on traditional recipes!)…turkey and gravy, stuffing, mashed potatoes, one other vegetable dish, simple made-from-scratch cranberry sauce, and pumpkin pie…simple decorations…spending time with family and friends that you enjoy being around (even if it’s just one or two)…going on a long walk with others either before or after the Thanksgiving meal…taking time to remember WHY we celebrate Thanksgiving…and being grateful for all that we have been blessed with.
Maybe those 6 side dishes, 4 kinds of pie plus a relish tray are a bit much…maybe the earth will keep spinning even if we don’t have the usual 30 people for Thanksgiving dinner…maybe the individually carved gourd centerpieces are not worth the hours of frustration to complete…and maybe it’s time to remember what Thanksgiving is all about.
Some call it ‘being mindful’ or ‘bringing awareness’ to what we are doing, which helps ensure that whatever it is, we’re ‘doing it’ for the right reasons, NOT because of other’s expectations of us or because we’ve always done it that way.
What is your Thanksgiving mindset? Could it use a bit of tweaking? 🙂
Wishing you a wonderful, peaceful, and healthy Thanksgiving time, filled with gratitude and joy…
Sana Keller PhD, RN, CNC Health Unlimited LLC
Photo & recipe credits: winthedietwarpodcast.com, atlantasrockstation.com, marthastweart.com, kaylaitsines.com.au, kitchentreaty.com, purejoyhome.blogspot.com, rasamalaysia.com, graciouspantry.com, healthtipsblog.net