Scaling Back Thanksgiving Can be a Win for Families
Thanksgiving day has so many great traditions that families in the United States have enjoyed for years that, sadly, many have moved away from. With COVID restrictions in place this Thanksgiving, there may not be as many people around the table when you enjoy your dinner. But perhaps it is time to use this as another opportunity to bring back some of the traditions we have let slip away.
The new guidelines say that we need to keep our Turkey Day gatherings to ten people or less. It may be tough for some who are used to 20 or more on Thanksgiving Day. Who makes the cut? Will there be a virtual portion of the evening that you share with extended family and friends? There so is much to think about before the big day is here.
For weeks, my wife and I have been trying to focus on what is most important and some ways that we can keep things as positive and as simple as we can in our home.It is a scary time and having three sons under four-years-old makes things even more of a challenge. For us, the kid's table is always a part of the adult's table. But I wouldn't want it any other way.
Eating dinner at our house has become an event. At any moment, food might get thrown, someone is bound to spill a drink and the word "poop" will always cause some laughter. It is a little circus that has become the highlight of our day.
In years past, you may have heard endless amounts of political talk or one family member trying to one-up another or long-winded stories about a vacation someone is planning for the New Year? It gets old and boring and has little depth to it. But you really can't blame anyone. Small talk in a large group setting can be tricky and some just don't have strong social graces.
Thanksgiving dinner at our house will be like most of the dinners we have these days, just with more turkey, a fancy table cloth, and some great desserts! I love hearing what our oldest son Hank has to say about what he learned during the day, what he thought was the best part of the day, and what my wife, Elizabeth, would say was her favorite part of the day. Hearing the giggles from the other two boys, Teddy and Gus, is music to my ears at dinner time, even if it is a struggle to keep them in their seats for the entire dinner.
There are so many times that I look around our small, disorganized, noisy home, and think how amazing it is that we have what we have. I pause sometimes at dinner and look out the window and see the great neighbors we have and the way the trees look among the sky at dusk. I think about what it has taken to get our family to where it is now, and how proud our parents and grandparents would be to witness the love we have in the home.
I find that the older I get, the more I am taking advantage of the advice that most people who are older, more experienced than me have given; "enjoy every minute because it goes by way too fast." It may be a smaller group of people but, enjoy it. Focus on the things that are good around you. Laugh! Listen to the stories and share your own. And if a drink gets spilled or food gets thrown, realize it is a gift to be thankful for.