With Thanksgiving coming up tomorrow, there's no way I can avoid writing a blog about the holiday of turkeys, cranberries and too many relatives cramped in one space.
I was trying to think of lessons I've learned over the years, and I've come up with three ways to relieve some of the stress that comes along with celebrating Thanksgiving. None of these are particularly innovative or groundbreaking lessons, but nevertheless, I thought I'd share.
1. Remember, there are no such things as carbs, calories, or cholesterol on Thanksgiving (or any major holiday, for that matter). Sure, most of us will eat enough to comfortably hibernate through the winter. Sure, you might feel a button pop off your pants after finishing dessert. So what? You'll work it off next week anyway. You might worry about what and how much you're eating on Thanksgiving, but honestly, I'd rather not stress about it. (Who am I kidding, I am just powerless to resist turkey and cranberry sauce… or dessert.) Regardless of culture, food has always given people something to bond over and Thanksgiving is the holiday to experience a variety of wonderful culinary treats. Plus, if your grandma catches you avoiding certain dishes, she'll just pile them on your plate anyway.
2. Accept that your crazy relatives will never get any less crazy. When you pack many relatives, young and old, into one room, things are bound to get stressful, especially when you haven't seen some of them since last year's Thanksgiving. There's always a wacky or tactless relative that points out how much weight you've gained since you last saw each other. An older relative, like a grandparent, will probably pester you about finding a nice Jewish man or woman to marry and have children with. Dealing with many family members all at once can be stressful and frustrating, but at the same time, you should know what to expect by now - and be grateful for it. Everyone's family can drive them crazy, especially during the holidays. But if you take into consideration that some people aren't lucky enough to have a family to celebrate with, or that god forbid, someone may not be around for next year's Thanksgiving, you'll have a much different perspective. Take the stress with a grain of salt, and the whole experience becomes more pleasant and memorable.
3. Help clean up after the feast (especially if you didn't cook!) I admit it, I don't cook. But having been raised with a father and grandfather as obsessed with order, organization and cleanliness as Monica Geller on "Friends," I sure know how to clean. And since I don't do much preparing for Thanksgiving outside of setting plates and silverware, my job comes after all the food is gobbled up (clever, right?). If you are a guest at someone's home, cleaning up helps ensure that the hosts don't regret inviting you and might do so again next year. Anyone who has ever had a celebration at their home knows that cleaning up after is enough to make you reconsider ever hosting again. And as silly as it may sound, I like helping my family clean after all the guests have gone home. It makes me realize that no matter how annoying it is to vacuum the dining room carpet or clean the dishes, I'm grateful to have had another memorable Thanksgiving with people I love. And if you're one of those people worried about how much weight you've gained from your Thanksgiving meal, cleaning is a great opportunity to burn off some calories!
Happy Thanksgiving everyone!