Thanksgiving is gone, Black Friday has passed, and whatever you call the weekend after the holiday is history. It’s all over now but the leftovers (and they’re just about gone, too.) We had a pretty traditional Thanksgiving — traditional for us anyway.
Some time, several years ago now, we began boycotting Thanksgiving travel, even though our families are far away. Our logic was that since we had the youngest kids in our extended families, and we lived the farthest away, and we would see everyone at Christmas, we would just stay home for Thanksgiving. We invited anyone and everyone to come join us, but — thankfully, as it turns out — no one has taken us up on the offer.
Don’t get me wrong. We love our families, but for the four of us, Thanksgiving has evolved into something more than turkey. In fact, it’s hardly about the turkey at all. It’s about the time.
We’re a pretty busy bunch, a condition that usually tends to get worse as the fall and winter holidays draw near. I know we’re not alone in this, and I’ve always considered this stretching of resources — time, energy, money — to be one of the downsides of this time of year. But for us, Thanksgiving Day is not a part of that process. In fact, it’s the opposite.
On that day, my wife and I don’t even think about work — freelance or otherwise. We tend to lay off the computer. All the kids’ activities are cancelled. We wake up without an alarm, and leave our pajamas on most of the day. Yes, we cook — a shamelessly big meal for the four of us, I’ll admit — but we eat it whenever it’s all ready, without all the complications of dinner guests and the fretting over mistimed side dishes. Thanks to my wife’s foresight, we usually have at least a couple of movies that we’ve been wanting to see stacked near the television, just waiting. There are always board games involved. We have a fire if it’s cold, hot chocolate if it’s really cold, and popcorn no matter what the weather.
On Thanksgiving Day, it’s not us that gets stretched. It’s the day that get stretched, and we have all come to look forward to this annual phenomenon. We talk more together, do more together, enjoy more time together than any other time of the year. It’s a ritual that’s become about as traditional for us as the turkey, the stuffing, the steamed chocolate pudding — all of it.
And that’s a lot to be thankful for.