How To Do Thanksgiving
A short post to give you time to prepare for your holiday.
Our best life happens at the intersection of design, delight, and diligence. Design without diligence is wishful thinking. Delight fuels enthusiasm and keeps us designing a better world for ourselves. It also makes diligence feel like flow. Unfortunately, these days, delight doesn’t figure much in our vocabulary. We’ve replaced it with outrage, anger, frustration, fear, insecurity, and necessity, often forgoing design for reactivity and diligence for constraint. No wonder we feel exhausted!
Perhaps, the pandemic exposed our vulnerabilities, inability to take care of and entertain ourselves. It also revealed our intolerance for being unoccupied, so we occupied ourselves with eating, drinking, more TV, and social media. Instead, we could have occupied ourselves with delight, but we focused on negativity, numbed ourselves when it became too much and went to bed after.
Using Thanksgiving as an excuse, let us focus on delight.
In expectation of seeing family and friends, think:
Love is but the discovery of ourselves in others, and the delight in the recognition. Alexander Smith
Birds sing after a storm; why shouldn’t people feel as free to delight in whatever sunlight remains to them? Rose Kennedy
After all, we’ve been through a hell of a storm! And…
If you are paying attention, then the day is going to be pretty joyful, and a lot of delight will fill it. Greg Boyle
It occurred to me that “thanks” + “giving” = “delight.” If you cannot experience delight during this holiday, you didn’t count your blessings and didn’t give enough! This holiday is not about food. It’s about the good fortune to have it and share it.
We may see the little things in life that make us smile as trivial and unimportant. But stack each small thing on top of the previous, and you get a case of the “total is greater than the sum of all parts.” Looking back on events, we don’t see long movies playing in our heads; we remember specific words, glances, and gestures. Pay attention to jokes, laughs, smells, hugs, bouncing dogs, sleepy children, and the flowers on the table. Savor every bite and pause after every sip. Taste your food and your company. Fill up your belly and your heart.
Do these three things with all of your guests! Don’t hold back the joy because you worry about what others will think. Lead by example!
1) Remember and share your earliest joyful Thanksgiving memory. Spare no detail! Take everyone, and go with everyone on a joy memory ride!
2) Spill the beans on your secret delights around Thanksgiving. Tell everyone and let everyone confess to what they really love about Thanksgiving. Get weird, vulnerable, and mushy.
3) What’s something you’ve never done but think you would enjoy doing on Thanksgiving with everyone? Play “Pin the tail on the donkey?” Eat pie only? Sharing is carrying, and you may get your wish!
Suggestions For A Great Thanksgiving – Logistically
1) Make it a rule – no one talks about politics. Whoever brings up politics, has to pay everyone present $5 each. No exceptions. There’s time and a place for everything, and politics should be kept off the Thanksgiving table.
2) Unpack at the door – Have a basket for cell phones by the front door. Just like at a Speakeasy during the Prohibition when gangsters had to check their weapons at the door so no one gets hurt when everyone gets drunk, prohibit cell phone self-entertainment during your family gathering. No, you do not need a picture of your family turkey to post on social media. That’s what everyone is doing and no one cares. We don’t know the people around the table, nor do we care what your mashed potatoes look like. Be old-fashioned, talk to people instead.
3) Remember, next year there may be fewer of you around. Covid or not, life happens and not everyone will make it to next year’s feast. Be generous with your time and attention. It may be the last time you see someone.
4) Skip the lines. Black Friday is two months long now. No need to camp in front of a store. Take a hike instead, hang out, and go shopping locally next week. Make a local business happy.
5) And whatever you do, don’t rush Christmas!
There’s going to be a lot of eating at Thanksgiving and not much thought will be given to what happens after… I mean, what goes in, has to come out… Turns out, poo could save the world!!! If you have 5 min watch this very educational and thought-provoking video by the BBC in partnership with Open University! Yep, it’s legit!
Thank you for reading. Have a happy Thanksgiving!
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