I am a bit of a holiday downer. Not a complete Scrooge, but close. I have a hard time with Thanksgiving and Christmas, partly because I think we should be grateful everyday, and I think Christmas has lost its true meaning.
I have fond memories of the holidays when I was a kid. I remember the food at Thanksgiving, and my mom spending hours cooking. Pumpkin pie, turkey, mashed potatoes. We did not have any traditions like going for a walk, watching football, or inviting other families over. Mostly I remember the food, the smells, and often we might play a family game. I remember after we had our special meal and we helped clean up the kitchen we would go our separate ways for the rest of the day. I most likely hid in my room snuggled up with a book.
As I got older and things got rougher at home, Thanksgiving went from a meal with my family, to often not coming home from school, or having a strange meal with my sister and grandma. I remember one holiday (I cannot remember if it was Christmas or Thanksgiving) we had purchased ingredients to make a meal and my sister and I realized we were short a key ingredient, which meant it was not possible to make the dish. We went out to see if we can find a substitute only to find that the only store that was open was Village Pantry (a midwest version of 7 Eleven). The only thing they had that could make a meal was some older dusty cans of spaghetti sauce. So we had spaghetti that holiday.
Not having normal holidays has made me cynical about them. I have tried from year to year to create my own traditions, and some years it has worked and other years it just has felt exhausting. So this Thanksgiving rather than try to carve out a tradition or holiday expectation, or to force any excitement at all, I am going to ponder these words from Tony Robbins:
“Trade your expectation for appreciation and the world changes instantly.”
With no expectations (gosh that is so hard for me!) I am going to just think of what I truly am appreciative of and grateful for. During this week of Thanksgiving, I will honor all that has happened in 2012 and see all the change, triumph, and joy that has been brought into my life.
With gratitude to everyone that reads this post and random olio. May you have a yummy meal (sans spaghetti sauce) and a warm and love filled day on Thursday. Happy day of gratitude!