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When Thanksgiving looks different

We had tables set up in every room of the house. And every seat was occupied by a person, big or little. I can still see Grandma in the kitchen, rolling out the noodles. Right up until time to eat, the table had flour spread across the entire surface. We had that one cousin, ask any of us and we can tell you her name, who ate the noodles raw. Because they were that good.


Often times, we’d do two Thanksgiving dinners in one day. We packed into my other grandma’s house too. A busy, crazy day all about family and food.


It all started to change about the time my brother got married. Apparently, my sister-in-law had family of her own. And, the nerve, they celebrated Thanksgiving Day too!


Then, over the years, the cousins grew up and we started moving here and there. Before we knew it, we got all spread out and traveling back to grandma’s for holidays changed. We had families and extended families all our own.


These changes can be so hard. If we’re not careful, we can start wishing for holidays of old instead of the celebrations of now. 


And when you’re always looking in the past, it makes it awful hard to live thankful in the present.


In all the years I’ve had a family of my own, I’m not sure we’ve celebrated Thanksgiving Day the same way twice. I loved the big, noisy dinners of my past. It’s just not where I am today.


So, today, I want to encourage all of us who find themselves in a similar situation. We’ll celebrate Thanksgiving on our own this year. The family we live close to plans to go out of town. We aren’t traveling to my hometown. It’s just our family of three. 


Here are some ways we can make it a day of being Thankful:

Mashed potatoes taste good in any size crowd. It’s true! Throw a little butter and gravy on the side of potatoes and you’ll see. Actually, throw a little butter and gravy on any of the sides. Even in your smaller gathering, they’re sure to taste amazing. #butter&gravy


We have much to be thankful for because we are blessed. If you start counting your blessings, You really can’t stay down for long. Our cupboards are full. Our family is healthy. The Detroit Lions actually have a winning record. We have big plans for the leftovers. #countyourblessings


You’re not spending hours in the car, so spend your time decorating for the holidays. My daughter has asked me, oh, about 20 times so far. When can we put up the Christmas decorations? If we’re in town for Thanksgiving, we spend that weekend decorating the house. It takes all of the four-day weekend to pull out the totes of Christmas decorations. She has a tree. I do too. See the above point. #countyourblessingsagain


Don’t stress over a huge meal but enjoy your favorites. I have a confession. Actually, I’m pretty laid back so I don’t mind telling you this. A local grocery store makes a lot of our meal. I order it a week in advance and on Wednesday night, I fight the crowd of last-minute shoppers as I walk up to the deli counter and pick up my ready-made meal. We still prepare a few of our favorite sides. And there’s not a candle out there that can replace the smell of homemade pumpkin pie. But the grocery store deli and I form a beautiful partnership. #stressfree


When Thanksgiving Looks Different


Get over yourself. I say this kindly of course. Every year, God places some names on my heart. Grieving families celebrating their first big holiday without a loved one. Divorced individuals who have to make arrangements for the kids. Down and out families who can’t afford a meal with all the fixings this year. 


Include them in your plans. Many towns are organizing community dinners for those who find themselves alone or unable to prepare a meal of their own for whatever reason. Is this chapter of your life a good time to serve others? #giveback.


I’m all about tradition. I love great big family gatherings. But somewhere along the way I’ve learned, things won’t stay the same. In every season, no matter who you sit down to a holiday dinner with, be thankful.

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