Sunday, November 19, 2017

Planning for Thanksgiving Sanity

I've written many posts about planning for the Christmas season, so that we have a saner season.  I always thought of Thanksgiving as an easy holiday, one that doesn't really need a plan.  But lately, I've wondered if I'm wrong.

So today, let me think about Thanksgiving in similar terms.  Let me think about a plan, now, while there is still time.

--How will we talk with people who have such different beliefs than we do?  For many of us, Thanksgiving will bring us together with people who have very different beliefs--and for many of us, they're our relatives.  How will we handle that?  Can we think about some conversation topics that won't lead us to painful topics?  I want to know about the kind of world that people want to create for the next generation--this approach might not let us avoid painful topics, but it may lead to understanding.  I'm also always happy to hear about what makes people grateful.  What's the best thing that happened in the past year?

--Some of us won't have the luxury of having our loved ones with us.  How will we handle that sadness?  Can we make phone calls?  Can we write letters to those who aren't with us?  Can we write letters back in their voices?  What did we want to hear?  Can we gather with those local folks who do love us?

--Do we want to do any social justice projects?  We could serve food on Thanksgiving or pick up some socks for the homeless while we're doing our shopping.

--How will we handle the food?  What foods are most important?  Are they worth the effort?  I was watching a Thanksgiving cooking show and even before the dish was done, I counted 15 dirty dishes.  Few foods are worth that clean up task to me.

--There are pop culture events that we may want to make sure we see--or avoid.  For some of us, it's a parade, while for others, it's the relentless football coverage.  And let us not forget the Black Friday madness.   Plan now, so that you don't wake up in a week, sad about the opportunities that you missed.

--Some of us will be doing lots of travelling.  Some of us may be dreading that.  How can we make it more tolerable?

--Let us not neglect our spiritual needs.  Will we all go to church at some point?  Will we honor our ancestors?  Will we accompany others on their spiritual path, even if it doesn't speak to us?

Before we slide down the Thanksgiving tunnel, let us plan to include more of what brings us joy and less of what triggers our pain.  It's good advice for every day--but especially important around holidays.

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