This year the family Thanksgiving dinner was held at my home. I believe it the first time we've ever hosted The Husband's entire family and including my mother it was dinner for 13 people. The cooking was divided up among four cooks, so the only challenge for me was organizing the timing of multiple dishes needing to be heated in our one oven. The Husband had the more challenging task - smoking and roasting 2 turkeys.
I don't believe he's ever had a smooth run. This year he stayed up until midnight to put the one turkey in the smoker. The next morning he woke early to prep the second turkey and discovered the smoker had stopped working due to the intensely cold temperature overnight. After attempting a hair dryer to warm up the auger, he had to move into plan B:
The grill was brought out to finish the job. It was a cold and smokey morning but he stayed calm.
Meanwhile, I was busy with scavenging enough china, linens, silverware, and glassware for a traditional table setting. Yes, I had to pull up Emily Post to figure out proper placement of knives, forks, bread plates and glasses.
While it sounds like a lot of effort, the end effect was a sense of festive and special. A friend has started a practice of pulling out her nice dishes for her evening meal, noting that she is deserving of such attention and care. My memory from holidays is my mother lavishing attention upon every detail, an act that sent a message of celebration and love. While we generally always sit down as a family for our evening meal, the appearance of the special china and silver conveyed a sense of cherishment which is my goal in all that I do. I want each person to know they are deserving of this attention, and that each gathering is an moment to be celebrated. I am learning to do this for myself.
It was exhausting but the festive time spent with family generated energy that carried me through the day. The main lesson (and key to a happy holiday season) is to determine one's intention for season; what is the tone, the message, the feeling I want to experience? And what do I want my loved ones to experience? In the end, it is about coming together, taking time to be with each other and to be nourished. Good food lovingly prepared helps ...
|my vegetarian plate|
But in the end, it is about simplifying, striping away the inessential and honing in on what really matters: moments savored and memories created. Laughter and connection, traditions passed down and new ones created.
|showing our nephew how to carve a turkey ... with a Moose waiting for a lucky spill ...|
It is taking time to just relax and be, slowing down enough to be present for the individual moments that contribute to the story of our family.
Even though I hosted dinner and then had to work on Black Friday, I feel relaxed, recharged and excited for the days ahead. I believe this is because I am taking time to care for myself which allows me to be better able to care for the ones who matter most.
Belated Thanksgiving wishes. May we all experience a happy and stress-free holiday season by remembering to slow down and enjoy the small moments that hold so much meaning and provide the juice that feeds our days ... and our souls.