The turkey has been bought, the pies are being prepared, and we’re all busy preparing to celebrate our annual day of giving thanks. As we approach the big day, let’s review some things to consider in making this Thanksgiving the best ever.
Love the Ones We’re With
Although we love our relatives, being with them for an extended period isn’t always easy. How do we love Uncle Harry and put up with the in-law that gets under our skin? This would be a good time to "catch more bees with honey than with vinegar." Instead of engaging in frustrating conversations, smile and offer light hearted replies or answer with a joke. A random hug or unexpected compliment can turn the tone of the day in a positive direction. Don’t let the ‘Debbie Downers’ take over the day; and remember to be thankful for all of our family members.
Focus on the Younger Generation
After finishing your feast, will you watch TV, corner up with a family member you speak to often throughout the year, or make the effort to talk with the younger relatives who are looking at their phones? If you think back to your strongest memories from your own youth, there’s a good chance they involve experiences with a grandparent, a crazy uncle or a loving aunt who took the time to care about and engage you. As you see the younger generation curl into their electronic security blankets, begin a conversation and find out what’s really going on in those young minds. Chances are you’ll make an impression that lasts a lifetime; and, likewise, you might be surprised to learn that they make an incredible impression on you.
Dealing with Politics
Having finished yet another contentious political ‘season,’ the last thing anyone needs is a heated political debate. Ironically, people from both sides of the political spectrum want the same thing: good schools; affordable healthcare; low crime; good jobs; and a high quality of life. Focus on commonalities, rather than differences. If the conversation turns negative, use the Turkey Leg as a gavel and proclaim Thanksgiving Politics Free Day. We can all agree that family ‘trumps’ politics every day of the week.
Begin a New Tradition
We probably already have Thanksgiving traditions; but sometimes the best traditions are new ones. Although new traditions may be looked at skeptically from elders in your group, we encourage you to proceed with abandon. Some traditions to consider, if you aren’t already doing them: say a prayer before eating, go around the table and ask each person what they are thankful for, play charades instead of watching football, have a checkers tournament complete with a trophy that will rotate each year to the winner, begin a white elephant gift exchange or some precursor to your Christmas celebration, ask the younger generation to put on a skit, etc. Use your imagination and have fun with it. You’ll be amazed at how a crazy idea can turn into an annual tradition that may last generations.
Being Thankful Every Day
What if we could take the true spirit of Thanksgiving and magnify it forward throughout the year? Make a point to be grateful more often (daily would be nice; but you can start small by putting a note in your calendar for the 3rd Thursday of every month to give thanks). Let’s make Thanksgiving more than a one time per year occurrence.
Count Your Blessings
It’s wonderful to be thankful, but it’s more important to be faithful. Our holidays, and our lives, have more meaning when we go beyond the material and focus on the spiritual. The holiday season is a great time to count our many blessings.
From Your Team at Shakespeare in Pewaukee: